If you are heading to a New Year’s Eve party tonight, remember to carry your masks! Following directions from Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), venues like The Peel and Sircuit Bar have said that masks can come off only when drinking! This comes as Victoria reported an outbreak that is believed to be linked to a visitor who had returned from NSW and dined at a restaurant in Melbourne’s South-East. 

Two new cases were reported on Thursday, taking the total number of cases linked to the outbreak in the past two days to eight. Victoria also announced that it would be shutting down its borders to NSW from 11:59pm on January 1, 2020. 

Many of Melbourne’s LGBTQI hospitality venues are hosting New Year’s Eve parties. With the DHHS introducing the new restrictions for indoor bars and restaurants, the venues posted the information on their social media pages.

“Based on the advice received from the DHHS and mandated by the State Government, the following will apply: Masks on when moving about the venues, however when drinking masks can be off. We also ask that you wear your mask whilst waiting to gain entry to the venue. Let’s be as safe as we can tonight and our staff and security are here to help,” Sircuit bar and Mollies Bar and Diner, located in Fitzroy posted on their respective Facebook pages.

The Peel, said they too had been asked to recommend that patrons carry masks as part of COVID safe measures. “Sorry if that upsets some.  It’s a simple ask I would have thought considering it’s a requirement to carry them in Victoria at the moment…,” the venue posted on social media. 

Pride of Footscray Community Bar said that “masks are required in the venue when walking to the bar, bathrooms etc,” adding that Pride masks were available at the venue for purchase. 

The tightening of restrictions have come as the Victorian government announced new measures following the outbreak in the state. From 5.00 pm on December 31, 2020, private home gatherings have been capped at 15 visitors.

The government has said that masks are mandatory at all public indoor venues. Masks can only be removed when eating or drinking. Further, people would need a reservation at a hospitality venue to come into the CBD for New Year’s Eve. 

“We certainly do apologise to people who have put plans in place, who were looking forward to having events… but this is a necessary step, it’s on the advice that we’ve received overnight,” said acting Premier Jacinta Allan


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