As Omicron cases surge across Victoria, the state government has introduced a new measure to protect workers in some of our highest-risk industries.

It’s now mandatory that those who work in “key” industries – health care, aged care, disability, emergency services, correctional facilities, quarantine accommodation and food distribution – get a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine before returning to work on-site.

But the rule doesn’t come into effect straightaway. Workers eligible for a third vaccine dose on or before Wednesday January 12 have until Saturday February 12 to get their booster shot. For those not yet eligible for a third dose, it’s required within three months and two weeks of the deadline for their mandatory second dose.

That means residential aged-care workers must be triple-vaxxed by March 1, and healthcare workers by March 29. Those who work in disability, quarantine accommodation, correctional facilities, emergency services and food distribution (including manufacturing, warehousing and transport workers) need to receive their third dose by March 12. (Supermarket staff aren’t currently included in the mandate.)

While it’s already a requirement that workers in these industries be fully vaccinated, it’ll be mandatory for their workplaces to sight and record proof of a booster shot.

“This is a sensible extension of our existing vaccination requirements – ensuring our critical workers and the vulnerable community members they look after are protected,” health minister Martin Foley said in a statement.

He also today announced that – to reduce the risk of the virus spreading – indoor dance floors at hospitality and entertainment venues must close from 11.59pm on Wednesday January 12.

“Victoria is open and the community is encouraged to support businesses in a Covid-safe way. Closing indoor dance floors is a simple but important step – we know they pose an extraordinary risk of mass transmission.”

coronavirus.vic.gov.au