UPDATE, Thursday, 12.30pm: The state government has scrambled to end confusion and anger over the vaccine mandate for hospitality, hairdressers and beauty industry workers in regards to double vaccinations rules.
With just 12 hours until regional Victoria is able to ease its restrictions, deputy Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie finally gave some clarity as to the rules surrounding the affected industries.
Venues who don't have all staff fully vaccinated can continue to operate for now as long as all staff have at least one dose, but they cannot take the next step in the government's roadmap and cannot allow more people in their doors.
This would mean they remain limited to 10 patrons indoors and 30 outdoors.
The new rules begin on Friday, October 22.
Only venues with all staff in attendance fully-vaccinated can take the next step, which would mean opening to 30 people indoors and 100 outdoors.
Upon questioning from The Standard the Department of Health and Human Services released this statement:
"Hospitality staff including cooks, waiters, and all other staff working in restaurants, pubs and cafes will need to be fully vaccinated for venues in regional Victoria to increase capacity.
"If all attendees are fully vaccinated, venues can open to 30 people indoors and 100 people outdoors with density limits.
"This will come into effect when restrictions ease from 11.59pm Thursday 21 October and will also apply to other industries where staff and patrons are mixing.
"Hospitality businesses in regional Victoria can continue to open if the vaccine status of staff and customers is unknown but will be limited to 30 people outdoors and 10 people indoors.
"Vaccines save lives and will allow us to open up in line with the roadmap."
The confirmation of new rules contradicts what the government had said earlier in the week, as well as what had been previously published in the roadmap.
Both Premier Dan Andrews and COVID Commander Jeroen Weimar had earlier this week said all hospitality staff would need to be double vaccinated for a venue to open at all as of Friday, October 22.
There was never a mention of rules for a regional venue moving to eased restrictions.
However, this also conflicted earlier messaging that said hospitality staff had until November 26 to be fully vaccinated.
UPDATE, Wednesday, 12.30pm: The government says it will not budge on rules forcing all hospitality workers to be double-vaccinated by Friday this week.
Despite being initially under the impression staff had until November 26 to be double-vaccinated, the hospitality industry has been told there is no wriggle room on the issue.
This comes despite health care workers and teachers only needing a first jab by this time.
It is also despite online health directions stating authorised workers, including hospitality, must have one dose of a vaccine by October 22, with a second dose required by November 26.
When questioned at today's press conference, COVID Commander Jeroen Weimar took a firm stance.
"There is no wriggle room because the reason we are opening up from midnight tomorrow night is because the vast majority of us are fully vaccinated," Mr Weimar said.
"We would expect the people that are now being asked to please come back into work are the first ones to have got themselves organised to get themselves fully vaccinated so that they can serve their customers.
"It does not seem an unreasonable proposition to me."
Mr Weimar said businesses had known for some time that vaccination was going to be a requirement among staff.
"If seven out of 10 of us are vaccinated, finding people to work should not be the barrier in the way," Mr Weimar said.
"We have been talking about vaccination for the last six months and we have been talking about the critical relationship between the vaccination thresholds and opening up since the beginning of August and September.
"So we have all had a long time to get used to this.
"The sheer number of people getting vaccinated every day - close to 100,000 now getting vaccinated every day - indicates that we have all got the message that we need to get vaccinated."
Conflicting information in a letter from the Department of Justice and Community Safety received by the Australian Hotels Association on Tuesday morning merely added to the confusion.
"I can confirm that at this stage the fully vaccinated requirement only applies to patrons, despite the fact that the roadmap refers to fully vaccinated staff and patrons by October 22," it said.
"As you know, staff have until November 26 to become fully vaccinated and can work from Friday as long as they have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose."
The Department of Health has been contacted for clarification.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Standard, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Warrnambool's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.