Victoria’s current COVID 19 Rules as at 31st March 2020
Stage 3 restrictions came into effect at 11.59pm last night and will be reviewed after four weeks. People who breach these directions face on-the-spot fines of $1652 for individuals and $9913 for businesses. Larger fines can also be issued through the courts.
What are the rules for outdoor spaces?
You and/or members of your household are able to go out for:
- Shopping for what you need – food and necessary supplies.
- Medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements.
- Exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements.
- Work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.
You can you cycle, run or walk through parks provided you maintain your 1.5-metre social distance. When riding, increase your distance as your speed increases.
Avoid travelling to the beach as some areas have already closed their beaches.
What are the rules for families?
Social distancing rules do not apply in the home with those 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.
What about older people and people with health conditions?
There is strong advice for self-isolation as far as practical for those over 70 years, for those older than 60 with existing health conditions, and for Indigenous Australians aged over 50. These groups should limit contact with others as much as possible when they travel outside.
How many people can gather indoors?
There is a limit of two people and 1.5 metres’ social distance needs to be maintained. This means you can only meet with one other person who does not live with you at your home.
What’s new for landlords and tenants?
National Cabinet has agreed to a moratorium on evictions for the next six months (from 30 March) for residential and commercial tenants who are experiencing financial distress due to the impact of coronavirus. This will apply across all states and territories.
What does the shutdown mean for people?
In an effort to slow the spread of the disease and enforce social distancing, the federal government has ordered the closure of all pubs, clubs, casinos, cinemas, entertainment venues, nightclubs and places of worship until further notice. Beauty salons, massage parlors, nail bars, and shopping-centre food courts have also been ordered to shut. Restaurants and cafes cannot seat customers but can continue serving takeaway or home-delivered food, as can food-court retailers.
The federal government has also introduced a ban on all international travel and has restricted weddings to no more than five people (including the bride, groom, and celebrant or priest) and funerals to no more than 10 people. House inspections and public auctions have also been banned.
Under stage three restrictions announced on Sunday and taking effect at 11.59 pm on Monday, March 30, playgrounds, skate parks, and outdoor gyms will also close. Public gatherings are also now restricted to no more than two people, except for members of your immediate household or for work or education.
”Where people can stay at home, they must stay at home, in Victoria, there are only four reasons to leave your home: food and supplies, medical care, exercise, and work or education.”
The Australian Government has also released a coronavirus app and WhatsApp information service, which provides real-time updates and advice. The Coronavirus Australia app is available from the App Store and on Google Play.
Supermarkets, butchers, greengrocers, liquor stores, petrol stations, newsagents, banks, convenience stores, and pharmacies. Medical clinics and allied health professionals such as physiotherapists will remain open, however appointments and consultations will be over the phone via telehealth.
Hairdressers can still operate, but must enforce social distancing rules. Shopping centres and work sites can continue to operate but must follow strict health rules and minimise person-to-person contact.
Freight, logistics and home delivery are also considered essential and will remain open. Childcare centres and kindergartens are still open.
Can I still visit my GP?
To provide continued access to essential primary health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian government is expanding Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians and providing extra incentives to general practitioners and other health practitioners.
Many medical appointments and other specialist consultations, such as physiotherapy, psychology and paediatrics, will now be delivered over the phone via telehealth services.
The government also recognises that telehealth is not appropriate for the management of all health care problems and in many cases face-to-face consultations will still be needed, but advises anything that can be done via telehealth will be done by telehealth.
“Patients should talk to their regular doctors about their most appropriate course of care, whether it should be via telehealth or face-to-face.”
What’s happening with school holidays?
In Victoria, the state government has brought forward school holidays to begin four days early, on Tuesday 24 March. At this stage, school is set to return on 14 April, but this is subject to change. Childcare centres and kindergartens remain open for now, but that might change according to health advice.
What are the rules on social distancing?
To reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the infection, maintain at least 1.5 metres between you and other people when out and about. 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.
As of 11.59pm on Monday 30 March, public gatherings are restricted to no more than two people, except for members of your immediate household or for work or education.
People should not congregate for non-essential gatherings such as parties, barbecues or casual sports or games, even in private homes and parks.
What happens if I don’t abide by the new shutdown rules?
Victoria Police has created a special taskforce of 500 police to enforce the new rules on closures and social distancing. Individuals who flout the rules face on-the-spot fines of $1652 and $9913 for businesses.
Do I have to stay indoors?
Provided you are well and have not been ordered into self-isolation or quarantine after arriving from overseas, you can still go out, but practise the 1.5-metre social distancing rule.
You are allowed to go to work if necessary, go to the supermarket and food shops and take the dog for a walk to the park. But the government has advised everyone to avoid unnecessary trips and no more than two people can congregate beyond members of your immediate household.
This is the best way to slow the spread of the disease, which will reduce the chances of our health system being overwhelmed as has been the case in Italy and the United States.
Where am I allowed to go?
You are allowed to go to work, run essential errands, do your grocery shopping, walk around the block and take the dog to the park. You can even get a takeaway meal or coffee, but take your credit or debit card as many venues are now refusing to handle cash.
What am I not allowed to do?
You should not invite family and friends over for a barbecue or drop in to a neighbour’s for coffee. If you want to make sure an elderly neighbour or relative is okay, it’s best call them rather than drop in. You should not organise play dates for your kids or send them to the local shopping mall to keep them amused in the holidays.
Can I catch up with family/friends in a private home?
The government has advised avoiding socialising with people beyond your immediate household.
Can my children have friends over in the school holidays?
The government has advised against this.
Should I allow my children to spend time with their grandparents?
Coronavirus has a much higher complication and fatality rate among the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, and children may not show noticeable symptoms. Therefore, consider minimising close contact with elderly or unwell relatives and if you do visit, exercise extra care with hand hygiene, avoid any physical contact and maintain as much physical distance as possible.
Can I visit an elderly relative in a nursing home?
The Australian Health Department says unless you “absolutely” need to go, don’t. “It’s best to keep in touch via phone and video calls, send postcards, photos or artwork or film short videos to share,” it advises.
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.
Can I travel within Australia?
Australians are encouraged to travel only if it is essential. South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have restrictions on non-essential travellers, ranging from 14 days’ self-isolation to government-enforced quarantine.
Can I travel internationally?
Quarantine measures are in place for Australians arriving in Melbourne from overseas. Travellers arriving in Melbourne from overseas will be quarantined for two weeks in hotel rooms and other accommodation after submitting an Isolation Declaration Card. Interstate travellers can return to their home states after fulfilling the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirements. 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.
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