Victorians have been hit with changes to mask rules and indoor gatherings on New Year’s Eve after the state detected six local coronavirus cases.
Masks will be mandatory indoors in Victoria from 5pm on Thursday when people are outside their private residence, Acting Premier Jacinta Allan announced.
“If you are planning to leave your home at the moment, we ask people to carry their masks with them, we are now asking them to wear a mask if they are indoors in any location which is not their private home,” she said.
The limit on people gathering in private homes will also be reduced, from 30 down to 15 and will also apply from 5pm on New Year’s Eve, Ms Allan said.
The limit does not include residents of a household, or children under 12 months old.
“If you are planning a party tonight, you will need to reduce your numbers from the 30 down to 15,” she said.
“We do apologise to people who have put plans in place, who was looking forward to having events in their home, or in other people’s homes, but this is a necessary step.
“Unfortunately, we know with this virus, is rampant difficult virus, it does not end at midnight tonight.”
No changes to outdoor gatherings, hospitality venues and shops have been announced.
Melbourne residents have previously been advised not to travel into the city for new Year’s Eve unless they have a booking.
Six new cases have been uncovered in Victoria on Wednesday and Thursday, linked to the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant in Black Rock.
Contact tracing uncovered that three positive cases were linked to the restaurant on December 21, with three additional cases seeding from those individuals after that.
The restaurant was also visited by a returned traveller from NSW.
“This is a very serious situation that Victorians are facing, having sacrificed so much over the course of this year. Victorians know how wildly infectious this virus can be,” Health Minister Martin Foley said.