COVID-19: Victoria’s new coronavirus rules, explained
What you need to know about the latest COVID-19 rules and how to keep you and your loved ones safe.
After a gradual easing of restrictions from strict lockdown rules imposed in March, the Victorian government has backtracked to counter a surge in infections.
All of us have a part to play in helping to stem the spread of the virus and save lives. Here’s how you can help keep yourself, your loved ones and the community safe.
This page will be updated as new announcements are made.
COVID-19 Update: 4 July
Two postcodes added to ‘hot zone’ lockdown, nine towers in hard lockdown
Two new postcodes have been added to the 10 postcodes locked down until 29 July, and nine public-housing towers face a ‘hard lockdown’ as the Victorian government struggles to contain a recent surge in COVID-19 infections.
The Flemington and North Melbourne postcodes have joined those that returned to stage-three restrictions on 2 July, allowing residents to leave their homes only to go to work or school, to buy groceries and other essentials, or for exercise or caregiving.
Residents of the nine public-housing towers in hard lockdown will be confined to their units for at least five days and will be tested for the virus. The towers, all in Flemington and North Melbourne, collectively house 3000 people.
The stage-three restrictions apply to the following postcodes until 29 July (read below for more details of the restrictions):
3012: Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray
3021: Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans
3032: Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore
3038: Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens
3042: Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie
3046: Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park
3047: Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana
3051: North Melbourne
3055: Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West
3064: Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickleham, Roxburgh Park, Calcallow
New lockdown rules for the 12 COVID-19 ‘hot zone’ postcodes
The following stage-three stay-at-home restrictions apply to the hotspot postcodes of 3012, 3021, 3031, 3032, 3038, 3042, 3046, 3047, 3051, 3055, 3060 and 3064 until 29 July (see Update box above for affected suburbs):
- Residents can leave their homes only to go to work or school, to buy groceries and other essentials, or for exercise or caregiving.
- Victorians who live outside the hot zones cannot visit unless for one of the four reasons above.
- Businesses and facilities that reopened must close again. These include entertainment venues, places of worship, community facilities and beauty salons (hairdressers may remain open). Restaurants and cafes will return to takeaway and delivery only.
- Shopping centres and outdoor markets must apply the four-square-metre rule to limit the number of shoppers.
- You cannot visit or host family or friends, unless providing care or for compassionate reasons, providing a service or for work.
- Partners living separately are allowed to visit each other at home.
- If you were on holiday when the restrictions began you may continue as planned, but restrictions will apply on your return.
- Schools are expected to reopen to students from 13 July.
For more detailed information about the new hot-zone restrictions go to the state government’s information page.
The following rules apply to all Victorians outside the COVID-19 hot zones
How many people can gather at a time in Victoria?
Private households can host up to five guests. Public gatherings, both indoors and outdoors, can host 10 people, but attendees must keep at least 1.5 metres between themselves and anyone from outside their household.
What businesses and facilities have reopened?
The following businesses and facilities have been allowed to reopen, for up to 20 customers or patrons at a time. Social distancing of 1.5 metres is required, and the venue must ensure density of no more than one person per four square metres.
- Cafes, restaurants and pubs can serve meals to up to 20 people, with tables spaced 1.5 metres apart. Alcohol can be served without a meal, but patrons must be seated and served at their table.
- Galleries, museums, zoos, historic sites, arcades, drive-in and indoor cinemas and amusement parks can operate with 20 patrons per space.
- Libraries, youth centres and other community facilities can operate with 20 people in a space.
- Indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gyms and indoor sports centres can operate with up to 20 patrons.
- Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing and nail salons, spas, tattoo and masssage parlours can open with up to 20 customers.
What other activities are permitted, and how many can take part?
Victorians can meet up with family and friends outdoors in groups of up to 10 people. They can relax at the park, have a picnic or play non-contact sports. They can use playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gyms in groups of up to 10. Social distancing of 1.5 metres is required for people outside your household.
Sports training is permitted outdoors but must be non-contact, with no more than 20 people taking part, plus the coach or manager.
Fishing, boating, diving, playing golf and bootcamps are permitted in groups of up to 20. You can take a tai chi or yoga class outside in groups of 20 or fewer.
Victorians are allowed to go for a drive and can take a learner driver out to practise and attend driving lessons. Auctions and home inspections are permitted for up to 20 people.
Weddings are now allowed 20 guests and 50 mourners can attend a funeral. All places of worship can open for small religious ceremonies for up to 20 people, plus those required to conduct the service. Counselling and community services are allowed for no more than 20 people.
Where am I allowed to travel and for how long?
Victorians can stay overnight (or multiple nights) in a private home or paid accommodation including hotels, motels, private holiday rentals, caravan parks and camping grounds. Back-country camping is also permitted. There is no limit on how far you can travel, and no time limit on how long you stay away.
What are the rules on social distancing?
To reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the infection, you must maintain at least 1.5 metres between you and other people when out and about or with anyone from outside your household. Do not hug or shake hands with anyone outside your household. If in an enclosed space, such as an office, ensure you have a four-square-metre perimeter around you. Do not shake hands, hug or touch other people beyond your immediate household. Practise good hand hygiene and ensure you cough or sneeze into your elbow.
What are the rules for families and households?
Social distancing rules do not apply in the home with the people you live with. People who do live together can go out as a group and stay together as long as the social distance of 1.5 metres is maintained with others.
Can I catch up with family or friends in a private home?
Victorians may visit family and friends but households can host only five guests.
What about older people and those with health conditions?
There is strong advice for self-isolation as far as practical for those over 70 years of age, for those over 60 who have health conditions, and for Indigenous Australians over the age of 50. These groups should limit contact with others as much as possible if outside their homes. Here's how to care for older relatives during the COVID-19 crisis.
Can I still visit my GP?
Victorians are allowed to leave their home to seek medical care. The federal government has expanded Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians and provided extra incentives to GPs and other health practitioners. Many medical appointments and other specialist consultations, such as physiotherapy, psychology and paediatrics, are being delivered over the phone. In some cases face-to-face consultations will be necessary. Patients should talk to their doctor or health practitioner about the most appropriate course of care.
Can a babysitter look after my children?
Parents can drop off their children at a babysitter’s house, including the home of friends and family. They can also have another person come to their house to look after their children. Premier Daniel Andrews has said grandparents should not babysit their grandchildren, in order to minimise risk to older age groups.
Can I catch public transport?
Public transport is still operating but where possible, try to travel at off-peak periods to minimise the number of people travelling at any one time. Make sure you practise excellent hygiene by washing hands or using a hand sanitiser before and after travel, avoiding touching surfaces where possible, using a tissue to sneeze and cough and disposing of it immediately after alighting, and washing hands or sanitising immediately afterwards. Try to maximise distance between you and other passengers. More: How COVID-19 will change your commute.
What happens if I don’t abide by the shutdown rules?
Victorians who flout closure and social-distancing rules face on-the-spot fines of $1652 and $9913 for businesses.
Can I travel within Australia?
Border restrictions on non-essential travellers apply in South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. New South Wales has restricted travel to and from Melbourne’s 12 hot-zone postcodes.
Can I travel internationally?
Overseas travel is banned, with few exceptions. Government agency Smartraveller advises that If you have future travel planned or are considering going overseas, cancel or postpone these plans as a ban is in place. Australians arriving in Melbourne from overseas will be quarantined for two weeks in hotel rooms and other accommodation. Interstate travellers can return to their home states after quarantine.