Mask rules across Victoria are set to return to Christmas levels once again, after a string of zero local transmission days following the precarious Black Rock cluster.

Premier Dan Andrews confirmed a short time ago that, as of 11:59pm this coming Sunday, masks would only be mandatory in a handful of settings, and not in all indoor spaces as had been mandated since New Year’s Eve.

Victoria has now recorded eight consecutive days of zero local coronavirus transmission, which the Premier lauded as a huge win for the state’s much maligned contact tracing program.

From Sunday night, masks in Victoria will only be mandatory in supermarkets and other large indoor stores and shopping centres, in airports and on all domestic flights, on all public transport including taxis and rideshare vehicles, and whenever responsible social distancing cannot be maintained. They will no longer be required inside pubs and cafes, in small retail stores, or in offices.

This rollback effectively brings mask restrictions back to the level they were over Christmas.

In addition, Victoria’s Back To Work plan – which had previously been earmarked for January 11th, will move ahead from Monday January 18th.

Under that plan, private sector workplaces and offices will be permitted up to 50% capacity on-site, with offices of under 40 allowed up to 20 people with COVID Safe guidelines. The public sector will permit 25% of workplace capacity to return to on-site work as well.

That plan is expected to provide a much-needed boost for the city’s CBD area, which has been struggling throughout the pandemic as workers vacated the area after either being furloughed or forced to work from home.

Fronting media a short time ago, Andrews stated “To get to this eight days in a row of zero is no small thing and it’s a credit to all of our public health team and a credit to all Victorians who play their part in doing so.”

At time of writing, there has been no clarification as to whether indoor gathering limits will be re-raised from the current level of 15 back to 30, which was the permitted number prior to the hastily implemented New Year’s Eve restrictions.