Regional Victoria stage 3 coronavirus restrictions and lockdown rules explained | Melbourne

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Stage three restrictions came into effect across all of regional Victoria from Thursday 6 August.

Metropolitan Melbourne entered stage four restrictions from Sunday 2 August – and you can find out all about stage 4 restrictions here.

A statewide mandatory mask policy has also been in effect since Monday 3 August.

The Victorian government has released a roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions in regional Victoria from midnight 13 September.

Until then, here are some of the main things you need to know about the stage three restrictions:

When did the lockdown start?

The stage three restrictions covering regional Victoria came into effect from 11.59pm on Wednesday 5 August.

When can I leave my house?

The four reasons to leave the house are: shopping for food and essential items, care and caregiving, daily exercise, work and study. But if you can work or study from home, you must. Employers must support you to work from home.

Caregiving includes managing shared custody arrangements, using a babysitter, leaving home to care for animals housed elsewhere, visiting someone in an aged care home, and visiting someone in hospital. Specific directions apply.

You can leave your house if you are at risk of family violence or to apply for an intervention order, and to attend court or a police station.

You can also leave your house to access medical services. This time around, that explicitly includes leaving your house to give blood. Access to medical services is unrestricted: you can access them anywhere in Victoria.

From midnight 13 September, when regional Victoria moves into step two of stage three, there will be no restrictions on reasons to leave home or distance travelled.

What are the rules for wearing masks?

People must wear a mask or covering whenever leaving the house. There are a few exceptions. People with a medical reason are exempt, as are children younger than 12. Those who have a professional reason “or if it’s just not practical, like when running” are also exempt, but those people will still be expected to carry a face covering at all times “to wear when you can”.

In schools, teachers will not need to wear a face covering while teaching, but students attending classes will. Both teachers and students will need to wear a mask on the way to and from school.

Andrews said “common sense” would guide how the new rules are enforced. People would not be required to wear one when it was impractical, such as when exercising or visiting a bank.

Breaking the rules is punishable with a $200 fine.

Can I have visitors to my house? Can I see my partner?

You cannot have visitors or go to another person’s house unless it is for the purpose of giving or receiving care. You can leave your house to visit a person if you are in an “intimate personal relationship” with them.

From midnight 13 September, people who live alone can have one guest.

Can I still dine in at a restaurant or cafe?

No. Restaurants and cafes are able to trade as takeaway and delivery businesses.

Will the shops be open?

Shopping centres, markets and other retailers areallowed to trade but subject to density rules limited by people per square metre. Strictly speaking, you are only allowed to go to the shops to buy food and essential items. If you need help with shopping, or need to help a friend or family member, you can go shopping together but remain 1.5m apart.

What about other businesses and services?

Pubs, bars and nightclubs are closed and bottle shops are takeaway only. Beauty services are closed, but hairdressers are open.

Entertainment and cultural venues such as music venues, museums, indoor and outdoor cinemas, and the casino are shut. Brothels and strip clubs are also shut. Libraries and community venues can only stay open for essential services, or to host weddings and funerals.

Real estate inspections are by appointment only and auctions are conducted remotely.

What are the rules for exercise?

Exercise is still a permitted reason to leave your house.

Swimming pools, playgrounds and gyms will be shut, and community sport have stopped. Sports like golf, tennis and boating continue.

You can exercise with members of your household or one other person. You can also hire a personal trainer.

Also, see the section: where can I travel?

What is happening with schools?

Year 11 and 12 students, along with all other students, have returned to remote learning across Victoria, except for children of permitted workers and vulnerable children.

Specialist schools, childcare and kinder remain open for all children.

What happens to weddings, funerals or religious services?

Religious services need to be broadcast online. Weddings are able to include five people (couple, two witnesses and the celebrant) while the limit is 10 people at funerals (not including those conducting the service).

Holiday accomodation and camping venues are closed. Travel within Victoria is allowed only for work and education, and only if necessary.

Where can I travel?

Travel within regional Victoria is allowed for work or study, medical care and caregiving, shopping for food or supplies. There is conflicting advice from DHHS on exercise. In its advice on travel, DHHS says you may go for a drive within regional Victoria and exercise is one of the four reasons permitted for leaving your car. But in its advice on sport and recreation, DHHS say you may leave the house for exercise but should use the public spaces closest to your home.

Holiday accommodation and camping is closed except for resident, emergency accommodation and work purposes.

You cannot visit a second place of residence, with limited exceptions, such as in an emergency, for maintenance or shared custody, or to stay with an intimate partner who does not live with you.

  • Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that 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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