COVID-19: Victoria’s new coronavirus rules, explained

Living Well | RACV | Posted on 17 September 2020

Everything you need to know about the new COVID-19 rules and how to keep safe.

Coronavirus restrictions have eased in regional Victoria to allow those living outside metropolitan Melbourne to leave home for any reason, dine out, travel within the state, and have up to five visitors from a single nominated household in their home. 

The eased restrictions, which do not apply in locked-down metropolitan Melbourne, are the latest changes under the government's staged "roadmap" out of lockdown, whereby each new stage is triggered by reaching a set milestone in new infection numbers.

Read on for details of the latest changes, all the current rules and what is and isn't permitted under each stage of the government's roadmap for both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. 

Victoria's Roadmap to COVID Normal

Step One
From 11.59pm Sunday 13 September

Stage-four lockdown continues with some changes. The curfew is reduced by one hour, to run from 9pm to 5am; two people or a household can meet outdoors for up to two hours; two hours of daily exercise permitted; people living alone or single parents with children under 18 can have one nominated visitor to their home; playgrounds reopen.
 

Step Two
From 28 September IF the average daily cases in metropolitan Melbourne over the preceding 14 days reach 30 to 50

Up to five people from a maximum of two households can gather socially outdoors; childcare and early education reopen; staged return to school in term four for prep, grades one and two, VCE/VCAL and special schools; outdoor pools reopen and personal training for up to two plus trainer; outdoor religious gatherings for five permitted.
 

Step Three
From 26 October IF the state’s average daily case rate over the preceding 14 days has been fewer than five and there have been fewer than five cases with unknown source during that period

Curfew lifted; no restriction on distance and reasons to leave home; household ‘bubble’ permitted with one other nominated household allowing up to five visitors at home; public gatherings of up to 10 people outside allowed; no limit on time spent outdoors; potential staged return to school for grades three to 10; hospitality businesses open for mainly seated service outside with density limits in force; retail and hairdressing to open; real-estate inspections by appointment and outdoor auctions allowed; staged return of community sport; up to 20 people allowed at funerals; up to 10 people allowed at weddings.
 

Step Four 
From 23 November IF state has no new cases for the preceding 14 days

Up to 20 visitors permitted at home; public gatherings allowed for up to 50 outdoors; hospitality businesses allowed to open for up to 50 patrons seated indoors with groups limited to 20; weddings and funerals for up to 50; religious worship resumes with density limits in force; all retail open; galleries, museums and entertainment venues open with restrictions.
 

Step 5 (COVID Normal)
Subject to public health advice if the state has no new cases for 28 days and no active cases and there are no significant outbreaks in other states and territories

Metropolitan Melbourne FAQs

What suburbs are in the Melbourne metropolitan area?

Metropolitan Melbourne includes the local government areas of Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra, Yarra Ranges.

What are the stage 4 restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne?

  • You must not leave your home between 8pm and 5am. The only exceptions are for those working or travelling to work, and those giving or receiving care.
  • At all other times you can only leave your home for work or study, to get essential supplies, for medical or care-giving, or for daily exercise, but must stay within five kilometres of your home.
  • Rules apply to shopping and exercise: Only one person from a household can shop for essentials, no more than once a day, and they must remain within five kilometres of home. Daily exercise is allowed for two hours a day, with only one other person, and within five kilometres of home. Two people or a household can meet outdoors for up to two hours.
  • Chief health officer Brett Sutton has clarified that Melburnians are allowed to drive to an exercise spot such as a park or beach as long as it is within five kilometres of their home.

What retail outlets are open in Melbourne during stage 4?

The following retail outlets remain open: Supermarkets, fresh food markets, grocery shops, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, convenience stores, butchers, bakers, fruit and vegetable shops, post offices, newsagents, maternity suppliers, building and garden businesses supplying for trade, vehicle parts suppliers for emergency repairs, locksmiths, laundries and dry cleaners.

What retail outlets are closed in Melbourne?

All ‘non-essential’ retail including hardware and department stores. Customers can continue to order online, and collect pre-ordered goods from some retailers. Retailers can work on-site to fulfil online orders. Hairdressers and car washes are also closed. (See also: How to protect your property during the COVID-19 crisis.)

They join the stage-three closures of eateries, bars and nightclubs, beauty salons, cinemas, galleries, museums, zoos, theatres, concert halls, sports centres, gyms, pools, places of worship and libraries.

Are schools and childcare open in Melbourne?

All Victorian school students at all year levels are now remote learning from home until at least the start of term four, with exceptions for children of essential workers and vulnerable students. Childcare is closed in metropolitan Melbourne, with exceptions for vulnerable children and those of essential workers.

Can I go to my holiday house?

Those living in metropolitan Melbourne must stay in their principal place of residence and may not ride out the lockdown in a holiday house.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

Face coverings are now mandatory when outside the home for all Victorians aged 12 or above. Anyone not complying can be fined $200.

Acceptable coverings include surgical masks and cloth masks, as well as scarves, bandanas or other materials, offering some barrier to droplets that may carry the virus. Check out our ultimate guide to face masks for everything you need to know about how to wear and remove masks properly, as well as how to make your own.

Step Three
From 11.59pm on 16 September

No restrictions on leaving home; public gatherings of up to 10 outside; up to five visitors from one household allowed at home; hospitality open for mainly seated service outdoors; travel allowed within regional Victoria; weddings allowed with up to 10 people, funerals with 20; junior sport and non-contact adult sport can resume. (Read the frequently asked questions below for more details of the step-three rules for regional Victoria.)
 

Step Four 
From 23 November IF there are no new cases for 14 days across Victoria

No restrictions on leaving home; public gatherings for up to 50 outside; up to 20 visitors at home; all retail open; hospitality open for seated service; galleries, museums and other entertainment venues open with some restrictions.
 

Step 5 (COVID Normal)
Subject to public health advice if the state has no new cases for 28 days and no active cases and there are no significant outbreaks in other states and territories

Regional Victoria FAQs

What are the stage 3 lockdown rules for regional Victoria?

Step-three roadmap restrictions apply to all of regional Victoria. You can now leave home for any reason and travel within the regions, but can only visit metropolitan Melbourne to study or work if you can’t do so from home, to shop for essentials, and to give or receive care or medical help.

What retail outlets are open across Regional Victoria in Stage 3?

All retail outlets are allowed to open, including beauty and tattoo salons, although masks must be worn at all times. Pubs, restaurants and cafes can open for mostly outdoor dining. Some outdoor entertainment and attractions including zoos and open-air attractions are allowed to open, as are outdoor skate parks, playgrounds and gym equipment. Accommodation including caravan parks and campgrounds with shared facilities can reopen. Libraries and toy libraries can operate in an outdoor area for up to 10 people, and can provide contactless click and collect and home delivery services.

Can I exercise outside my home?

You can exercise with up to 10 people in a group. Junior sport is allowed to resume, and non-contact sport for adults outdoors. Personal training is allowed outside for up to 10 people. Outdoor skate parks and trampoline centres are allowed to reopen. You are permitted to play golf and go fishing, boating, surfing and diving within regional Victoria. Indoor gyms, training facilities, pools and fitness studios remain closed.

Can weddings and funerals go ahead?

Under step-three restrictions weddings are allowed with up to 10 people including the couple, celebrant and two witnesses. Funerals are allowed with up to 20 people, plus infants under 12 months and those required to perform the ceremony. Religious gatherings are allowed outdoors with up to 10 people and one ‘faith leader’.

Can I eat out?

Restaurants, cafes and pubs are allowed to serve up to 50 patrons seated outside and up to 10 indoors.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

 

Face coverings remain mandatory when outside the home for all Victorians aged 12 or above. Anyone not complying can be fined $200. (Plus, how to make wearing a mask less annoying.)

Acceptable coverings include surgical masks and cloth masks, as well as scarves, bandanas or other materials, offering some barrier to droplets that may carry the virus. Check out our ultimate guide to face masks for everything you need to know about how to wear and remove masks properly, as well as how to make your own.

Advice for all Victorians

No matter where you live in Victoria, everyone has an important role to play in suppressing the spread of COVID-19. You can help keep yourself and others safe by:

  • Maintaining 1.5 metres’ distance between yourself and people outside your immediate household.
  • Wearing a mask if outside your home. This is mandatory for all Victorians aged 12 or over when outside the home.
  • Washing or sanitising your hands thoroughly and often especially after using the bathroom, before eating and after coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoiding coughing or sneezing into your hands. Use the crook of your elbow or tissue, and dispose of the tissue as soon as possible before washing your hands.
  • Getting a COVID-19 test immediately if you experience even mild symptoms, such as a sore throat, runny nose, cough or fever, then staying at home until receiving a negative result.
  • The federal government is urging Australians to download the COVIDSafe app, to help authorities speed up contacting people who may have been exposed to the virus. Find out more about the app from this health department explainer