VICTORIA will bring in new hospitality restrictions to bring it in line with New South Wales' arrangements and tighten rules around rapid antigen tests.
It comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases across the state, including the Wimmera where 36 new cases were recorded on Thursday.
Health minister Martin Foley said a density quota of one person per two square metres would be mandated at indoor entertainment and hospitality venues.
"We think this is a sensible change, particularly in the face of the continued huge growth in transmission, particularly amongst young people," he said.
Forty per cent of new Victorian cases have been found among people in their 20s, overwhelmingly because of transmissions from hospitality and related venues, Mr Foley said.
"The interaction in those hospitality and entertainment venues is close, crowded, active, and mobile," he said.
"It's what young people do, and we don't begrudge them that, these relatively mild restrictions are about making sure that that activity can continue, that it can continue in a less congregated and less active space when it comes to hospitality."
The changes will not cover indoor seated cinemas and theatres because people are already seated.
Mr Foley also said he was signing pandemic orders recognising anyone who gets a positive result from a rapid antigen test as a "probable case".
The change will give people with positive tests the same obligations and rights while working through their infectivity.
"Essentially this new category, based on the rapid antigen test will be the same in the system as if you were diagnosed through a PCR system," Mr Foley said.
The orders will take effect from midnight.
Mr Foley said Victoria was shifting its response to COVID-19 after ordering 44 million rapid antigen tests, 700,000 of which were expected to arrive in the short term.
"Yesterday, at National Cabinet, the Commonwealth, the states and the territories discussed how to make sure that this rapid antigen testing technology is at the heart of this Omicron variant response."
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