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Melbourne's lockdown is ending on Friday, October 22, and many Melburnians are anxious to get back into bars, restaurants, cinemas and hair salons. But there's one group of people who won't be attending these venues anytime soon: people who are unvaccinated.
NSW has declared that unvaccinated people will be permitted to enter venues on December 1, but Victorian premier Dan Andrews has made it very clear no such accommodations will be made in Victoria.
"We won't be doing that here," said Andrews. "I'm not going to say to someone, 'just wait us out, will ya? Just wait four or five weeks, and then you'll be able to go to the pub.' No. If you make the judgement to not get vaccinated, and you reckon you can wait out us, or the publican, or whoever you think you're waiting out, you won't wait out the virus, because the virus will be here for a long time and your only protection against it is being vaccinated. This [vaccinated economy] will be well into 2022. Well and truly into 2022. Then we're going to get into booster issues, so it won't be, 'have you had your first or second shot', it will be, 'have you had your third?'. And then the other issue will be, who knows what variants will be coming?
"We've got every reason to be confident, we've got every reason to be upbeat, and Victorians have done an amazing job, but that job includes us making some difficult decisions, and that's to keep people who are not vaccinated out of some of those venues."
Andrews said he did not know the exact date that unvaccinated people would be permitted into restaurants, theatres, events, bars and beauty salons, but he said it would be many, many months from now at the earliest. "I can't put a date on it, but I can say it will not be when we reach 90 per cent. It will not be anytime soon. That [vaccinated economy] is going to function for a period of time, well into 2022. For instance, I'll give you an example: the Grand Prix's in April. I don't think there are going to be crowds at the Grand Prix made up of people who have not been double dosed."
He pointed out it was easier than ever to get a vaccine in Victoria, with state hubs now accepting walk-up appointments and ample supply for everyone.
"If you are unvaccinated by choice... you will make the job of our nurses harder," said Andrews. "For heaven's sake. It's free, it's safe, it works. And 5 million of your fellow Victorians have had at least one dose."
"No one has the right to contribute to other people getting sick."