From midnight on Friday, residents will be allowed to remove their face masks to consume alcohol outdoors, Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton announced.
“That’s really a reflection of a push to more outdoor recreational activities, including picnics, and a welcome change for many I’m sure,” he told the COVID-19 press conference on Friday.
Regional Victorian children in Year three and above will be required to wear masks indoors and will be “strongly recommended but not mandated” for prep to Year 2 students.
He cited an increase of cases in the regions as a push for the decision to introduce mandate that is yet to be drafted.
Victorians will be allowed to remove their face masks while consuming alcohol outside from midnight on Friday as part of a push from the state government to encourage outdoor activities. Picture: Getty Images
“There’s good evidence to support this decision,” Professor Sutton said and pointed to the use of masks in schools across much of the United States which has helped reduce transmission.
“It really has been shown that where there are multiple layers of risk mitigation in schools that you can keep a cap on transmission and have kids return safely to that environment.
“So we really want to have these measures in place early on to keep kids in school and to make sure that they’re safe in the school environment.”
A senior medical advisor the Victorian Department of Health also encouraged the use of masks by school children, telling the press conference “it is easy to do and it is also common sense”.
“There are no health risks for a child wearing a mask … we need to get our kids back to school and then keep them at school,” Professor Jane Munro said.
She also outlined the “three Vs” necessary for children returning safely to the classroom – vaccinate, ventilate and vital COVIDSafe steps – which incorporates mask wearing.
Victoria sets national COVID-19 record with 1,838 new local cases
Professor Sutton also outlined a change to the Victoria-New South Wales border bubble arrangement from midnight on Friday, with some local government areas (LGAs) to be reintroduced.
On Victoria’s side, Benalla, Greater Bendigo, Buloke, Lodden and Yarriambiack will rejoin the bubble to allow residents to move freely.
In NSW the regional LGAs of Hay, Edward River, Lockhart, Murrumbidgee and Wagga Wagga will also return to the border bubble.
People who live within the bubble are permitted to enter and leave without a permit as long as they have stayed within the bubble area for the past 14 days.
The changes come as Victoria sets another pandemic record with 1,838 new cases reported overnight – marking the state’s largest daily case load since the virus first hit Australian shores. 

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