Coronavirus Victoria: Covid stage 4 lockdown rules and Vic restrictions explained

By Guardian staff

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has announced a five-day snap lockdown in what he described as a “short, sharp circuit breaker” to contain the outbreak connected to the Holiday Inn quarantine hotel.

The stage-four restrictions, which took effect at 11.59pm Friday 12 February, mirror the rules that were in place in August so many will be all-too familiar to Melburnians.

But just in case, here’s what you need to know about the snap lockdown in Victoria.

When can I leave my house?

From 11.59pm Friday 12 February until 11.59pm Wednesday, Victorians will only be able to leave home for four main reasons: shopping for food and essential items; care and caregiving; daily exercise or recreation; and work.

If you can work from home, then you must work from home. More detail is available from Vic Health.

How far can I travel from home?

You must remain within 5km of your home, unless you need to travel further for permitted work. If there’s something you need to buy somewhere further away, that’s also allowed. Andrews says “common sense” will tell you if it’s an essential reason to go beyond the 5km limit.

What are the rules for exercise?

You are allowed to go outside for exercise for two hours each day, as long as you stay within 5km of your home, with members of the same household, an intimate partner or one other person.

Outdoor playgrounds will remain open.

What are the rules for wearing face masks?

People must wear a mask whenever leaving the house. There are a few exceptions: people with a medical reason are exempt, children younger than 12 and those who have a professional reason not to. Those people will still be expected to carry a face covering at all times.

Breaking the rules is punishable with a $200 fine.

Can I have visitors to my house?

From 11.59pm Friday 12 February, visitors are not allowed. However, intimate partners are allowed to visit.

Outdoor gatherings are also not permitted.

What is happening with schools?

Schools will be closed from Monday 15 February to Wednesday 17 February, but will remain available for vulnerable children or for the children of those permitted to go to work.

Child care and early childhood centres will remain open.

Universities and TAFEs will be closed.

What about the tennis?

The Australian Open matches will go ahead, with professional athletes considered essential workers, but no spectators will be allowed from Saturday to Wednesday.

Can I dine in at a restaurant or cafe?

No, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to serve takeaway only during the lockdown from 11.59pm 12 February to Wednesday 17 February.

Are the shops open?

Some shops such as supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies and petrol stations are allowed to trade, subject to limits on the number of people.

Are weddings, funerals or religious services allowed?

No weddings are allowed during the five-day lockdown. Funerals will be limited to 10 people. No other religious gatherings are allowed with places of worship to close except for the purpose of broadcasting services.

Can I still go out Friday tonight?

Technically, yes because the rules don’t take effect until 11.59pm 12 February, but Andrews has urged people to use “good judgment”. He says the government chose not to implement the lockdown at an earlier time because there would have been too many events in progress, causing all sorts of logistical headaches.

What if I break the rules?

As was the case during last year’s lockdown, Victoria police can issue on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 to businesses for general breaches of the stay-at-home orders.

The on-the-spot fine for not wearing a face covering is $200.

  • 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.