Victoria Covid restrictions: Melbourne lockdown, curfew and regional Vic coronavirus rules explained

·7 min read
<span>Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has previously announced eased restrictions across most of Victoria.

There are now six reasons to leave the home in metropolitan Melbourne, the city of Ballarat, greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire, and time permitted outside has doubled from two hours to four.

The distance to travel from the home will also double from 5km to 10km.

In regional Victoria (excluding Ballarat, greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire), gyms and outdoor and indoor pools can now reopen excluding spas, saunas and steam rooms, with density limits in place.

Hydrotherapy can go ahead, and tour buses can also operate with limits in place.

A full and current update can be found in the table of restrictions at the bottom of this media release.

Full details of the Victorian roadmap to freedom, announced by Andrews on 19 September, can be found here.

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When can I leave my house?

From 11.59pm 19 September, there are six reasons to leave your house in metropolitan Melbourne, Ballarat, greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire.

These are:

  • Shopping for essentials;

  • Authorised work, if you cannot work from home, or education;

  • Exercise for up to four hours;

  • Caregiving, compassionate and medical reasons;

  • To get vaccinated.

  • Limited outdoor social interaction will be allowed.

This means one person may meet another person not from their household for a picnic, a walk, or another outdoor activity. Additionally, up to five adults (plus dependents) from two households will be able to gather outdoors if all adults present have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Child-minding for school-age children will be permitted if only one parent is an authorised worker.

Up to five people are able to attend an entertainment venue or physical recreation facility to broadcast a performance, class, or concert.

Real estate inspections will resume by appointment only. To ensure they’re CovidSafe, only people from the same household can attend the inspection appointment and the real estate agent must stay outdoors during the inspection. From 11.59pm on Thursday 9 September, the five approved reasons to leave your home will be removed in regional Victoria, apart from Shepparton. There will be no limit on travel distance for people in those areas, aside from travelling into Melbourne.

Essential workers who can’t work from home need to get a permit to go to work.

Can I go out at night?

People in greater Melbourne must stay home between 9pm and 5am. The curfew is not in place for regional Victorian local government areas under lockdown orders.

How far can I travel from home?

The distance you can leave home for shopping for necessary goods and services, exercise and outdoor social interaction will increase from five kilometres to 10 kilometres.

For people in regional Victoria there are no limits on how far you can travel after 11.59pm 9 September.

What are the rules for exercise?

Time permitted for exercise – and now outdoor social interaction – has increased from two hours a day to four hours in metropolitan Melbourne (and the city of Ballarat, greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire).

As part of further changes to exercise, two people are now able to train outdoors with a personal trainer. Skate parks and outdoor communal exercise equipment will reopen.

Playgrounds have reopened.

What are the rules for wearing face masks?

Masks must be still worn everywhere except for in your home. This includes both indoor places and outdoor areas – unless you have a medical exemption. It also applies to all workplaces and secondary schools.

It is recommended all primary-school-age children wear masks indoors and outside, except when at home or if an exception applies.

Masks cannot be removed to drink alcohol outdoors.

What are the rules for construction?

Construction workers statewide will need to show evidence to their employer that they have had a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by 11:59 pm, 23 September.

Construction sites can have up to 50% of their capacity returned, if 90% of the workforce has received at least one vaccine dose.

Is regional Victoria included?

Regional Victoria is not under restrictions, aside from Ballarat, greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire from 11.59 on Sunday 19 September.

Can I have visitors to my house?

No, visitors to homes in Victoria are not allowed, other than an intimate partner, or a nominated person for someone who lives alone.

Can I travel interstate?

Each state and territory is updating guidance on travel rules individually:

What about the Victoria-NSW border bubble?

From 11.59pm Sunday 19 September, people living in border communities with NSW will be able to travel without a permit, excluding locked-down Albury. If residents in the cross-border community haven’t left the cross-border area or been in an extreme risk zone in the past 14 days, they can travel without a permit for any reason.

What about if I live in Victoria, but I’m in NSW and want to return home?

More Victorian residents stranded in NSW will be able to apply for a permit to return home from 11.59pm Sunday 19 September after Andrews downgraded 66 local government areas in NSW, plus Jervis Bay, from extreme to red zones under Victoria’s travel permit system.

Returning Victorians will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days with Covid-19 testing required within 72 hours of arrival.

What about public gatherings?

In regional Victoria, excluding locked down local government areas, funerals can have 20 people attend and weddings will be allowed to hold up to 10 people, plus those needed to conduct the service. However stricter limits remain in place for weddings and funerals with people from Melbourne in attendance.

What is happening with schools?

From 11.59pm, 9 September, child-minding for school-age children will be permitted if only one parent is an authorised worker.

Schools will reopen for prep to year 2 and year 12 students from 11.59pm on 9 September in regional Victoria, excluding locked down local government areas.

Remote learning will remain for all other levels. Vulnerable children and the children of essential workers will still be able to access onsite supervision. Higher education have also switched to remote learning.

Childcare centres and kindergartens are still open, but only for vulnerable children, or the children of authorised workers if they cannot work from home or if no supervision is available at home. Allowed in-home care, such as babysitters, has been expanded to include school-age children, but only if both parents are authorised workers.

Single parents in Melbourne will be able to access childcare, regardless of whether they are an authorised worker, from 11.59pm on 9 September.

Can I dine in at a restaurant or cafe?

In regional Victoria (excluding Ballarat, greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire), restaurants and cafes will be able to reopen for seated service with patron caps from 10 September.

Patron caps will also apply to retail, hairdressing, entertainment venues and community facilities.

Businesses will be required to check IDs of everyone they serve, to ensure they are from the regional Victoria area. Density requirements apply.

Are the shops open?

In Melbourne, essential retail, such as supermarkets and chemists, will remain open. Other stores are closed.

What about weddings, funerals and religious services?

Funerals will be able to go ahead indoors and outdoors with up to 10 people, plus those required to conduct the funeral.

Weddings are not allowed, unless end of life or other exceptional circumstances apply.

People involved in producing religious broadcasts must be the same group of people each time.

What about aged care and hospitals?

No visitors are allowed at aged care facilities except for limited reasons. There will be no visitors to hospitals allowed except for end of life, if you’re a partner during the birth of your child, or a parent accompanying a child.

Can I go and get vaccinated?

Getting vaccinated is one of the reasons people who are eligible to receive the jab can leave home. The Victorian government has expanded the eligibility to include those aged between 40 and 49 for state-operated vaccination sites. People in this category can now call the hotline on 1800 675 398 to book an appointment.

  • Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is regularly updated to ensure it reflects the current situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will continue to be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.

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