MELBOURNE: Victoria has recorded 2095 new COVID-19 cases as the country’s toughest mask rules came into force.
There are 397 people in hospital with the virus including 75 in intensive care, and eight more people have died after testing positive to the coronavirus.
The new mask rules, starting Christmas Eve, were part of acting Victorian Premier James Merlino’s “common sense, sensible changes” in response to the Omicron strain of COVID-19.
Under the new face mask rules children eight and over are forced to wear masks indoors for the first time in the pandemic.
Masks were already the rule in areas like retail and on public transport but will now apply to all indoor settings across Victoria like restaurants, bars and also in the workplace.
Victorians will also have to wear masks at major events at 30,000 but not while seated outdoors.
People are being encouraged to work from home over the holiday period.
Merlino urged all eligible Victorians to get their booster COVID-19 vaccine.
Despite the new restrictions Merlino promised the state was not heading into a lockdown.
“This is the commitment that we gave to the people of Victoria,” he said.
“The promise was if you go and get vaccinated, you can enjoy Christmas and New Year with your families and loved ones and that’s exactly what will happen.”