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Melbourne unmasks offices – but why are masks still required?

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a further relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions across Melbourne, but will mask mandates still restrict businesses across the state?

So what does this mean for the state’s 5 million residents? For more, Breaking News Reporter Brittany Coles.

Nearly all remaining restrictions will be eased from 11:59PM tonight as the state reaches 90 per cent double-dose vaccine milestone. 

What does this mean?

  • There will be no density limits.
  • No capacity limits.
  • No restrictions on how many people can visit you at home.
  • No masks in most places.

Events with fewer than 30,000 people can go ahead – no approval needed.

Larger events – like the Boxing Day Test and Australian Open – can go ahead at 100% with an approved COVIDSafe Plan.

If you have COVID-19 you will only be required to isolate for 10 days if you’re vaccinated, 14 for unvaccinated. Cases are required to notify their workplace, school and childcare about their positive result.

Why do masks have to stay?

Masks are still required in some indoor settings. These settings include retail, health care, aged care, justice facilities, at primary schools and on PT/cabs/Uber’s.

Masks will no longer need to be worn in office settings or when walking into cafes, bars and restaurants.

These mask rules will change again by December 15 and from this date, they will not need to be worn in retail settings.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic the Commission has received hundreds of complaints about the way service providers have treated people who cannot wear a mask because of a protected attribute under discrimination law, such as a disability.

People have been refused service for not wearing a mask despite having a lawful exception under the public health directions and the protections provided by discrimination law.

Business

Sleepover at IKEA: dozens stranded amid snowstorm in Denmark

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Two dozen staff and six customers were forced to stay the night at IKEA as up to 30 centimetres of snow trapped them inside

A furniture showroom in the department store in Aalborg, Denmark, became the bedroom of several people who were unable to safely make it home in time amidst a strong snowstorm.

Store Manager Peter Elmose told the Ekstra Bladet tabloid that people could “pick the exact bed they always have wanted to try.”

People working in a toy shop next door also took to the department store to join in on the fun.

Michelle Barrett, one of the toy shop staff, told Denmark’s public broadcaster, DR, “it’s much better than sleeping in one’s car. It has been nice and warm and we are just happy that they would let us in.” 

“We just laughed at the situation, because we will probably not experience it again,” she added.

Another approximate 300 people had to stay the night at the Aalborg airport to keep out of the storm. 

According to Euronews, the IKEA sleepover consisted of feasting on chips and Swedish cinnamon rolls in the staff canteen before watching television.

“It was a really nice evening, enjoying each other’s company,” Elmose told AFP. 

“Everyone had a full night’s sleep, our mattresses are good.”

And when the shop reopened for business the next morning, all the bedding and sheets had of course been changed.

Unmade beds following the overnight stay at IKEA amid snowstorm. Source: IKEA Aalborg’s Instagram

This comes after 61 people were trapped in a Yorkshire pub for three nights last week.

The several people trapped in the Tan Hill Inn during the storm slept on makeshift beds on the floor, watched movies, had a quiz night and enjoyed a buffet meal.

Some guests even claimed they didn’t want to leave the the pub after enjoying the 17th century hotel’s hospitality.

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World

Hong Kong to launch China style system

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As Hong Kong and China prepare to resume quarantine-free travel, Hong Kong’s government will introduce a Beijing-style health code from December 10

The Hong Kong Health Code will take note of a user’s real name, address and identification number.

The voluntary app is designed to be compatible with systems in both Macau and Guangdong provinces in southern China.

In mainland China, a mandatory health code dictates where residents and visitors can travel to and from, sharing real-time data with authorities.

The introduction of this health code system in Hong Kong will allow Chinese officials to open back up the nation’s borders with the city-state.

Hong Kong’s chief information officer also says records “won’t be transferred to mainland authorities unless the person is infected or has been a close contact”.

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World

Meghan Markle wins latest privacy battle case

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A UK court dismissed the appeal brought on by Associated Newspapers Limited, after the company published a letter that she sent to her father, Thomas Markle in 2018.

ANL and the Mail have staunchly denied that they have done anything wrong, standing by the decision to publish the letter.

But the court rejected these claims, and says the Duchess has “a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the letter.”

The judge continued, adding “the contents were personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest”.

ANL says it is disappointed with the decision and is considering an appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court.

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