As case numbers drop, Melbourne is moving out of its strict lockdown, and will officially enter the third step of restrictions easing at 11.59pm on Tuesday 27 October.
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, announced his government’s roadmap for easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions on Sunday 6 September, and while the main themes of this roadmap are still being followed, the timing of restrictions being eased have been adapted and tweaked as the weeks have gone on.
More rule relaxations are to come on 8 November, when the metro-regional border will be scrapped and Melbourne’s 25km movement limit lifted, however this step of easing is contingent on low case numbers.
Here’s what you need to know about the restrictions in Melbourne.
When can I leave my house?
From 11.59pm on Tuesday 27 October, when Melbourne enters step three and moves from a “stay home” order to “stay safe”, there will be no more restrictions on the reasons for which you can leave your home.
Previously you were only allowed to leave your house for four main reasons: shopping for food and essential items; care and caregiving; daily exercise or recreation; and work.
Melburnians are currently allowed to leave the home for any period of time for exercises or socialising with friend and family outdoors.
How far can I travel from home?
Shopping for food and necessary supplies must be done within 25km of your home, however the government plans to lift this restriction from 11:59PM on 8 November.
Currently, exercise and socialising must take place within 25km of home, and must be in metropolitan Melbourne.
What are the rules for exercise?
From midnight on 19 October, there are no limits on how long you can spend exercising each day or the number of times you are allowed to leave you home for exercise.
Outdoor recreation must be within 25km of home or permitted work and must be within metropolitan Melbourne until 8 November.
Outdoor personal training is allowed, with up to two people per trainer, and exercise in a group of up to 10 people from a maximum of two households in a public place is also permitted. From 28 October, the gatherings will no longer be limited to just two households, but will still be capped at 10 people.
Outdoor sport’s recreational facilities, such as tennis courts, golf courses or bowling greens, are allowed to reopen with a number of restrictions.
No equipment for hire or sharing is allowed and indoor facilities such as change rooms must be closed. Groups must be limited to 10 people from two households or up to 10 from the same household, and groups must have at least 100m of space between them. From 28 October, the gatherings will no longer be limited to just two households, but will still be capped at 10 people.
Outdoor pools are open from 28 September, but from 19 October capacity has been increased to 30 swimmers per pool. Indoor pools can also open for one-on-one hydrotherapy treatments, with a maximum of five clients and five healthcare professionals per pool. From 8 November, indoor pools will be able to open for up to 20 people.
Indoor gyms have remain closed, but are set to reopen on from 8 November, with some strict safety precautions in place.
Up to 10 people from a maximum of two households can meet outdoors for social interaction, exercise or recreation (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap) within 25km of their home. From 28 October, the gatherings will no longer be limited to just two households, but will still be capped at 10 people. From 8 November, the 25km limit is set to be lifted.
Outdoor community sport for under 18s and outdoor non-contact sport for adults will be allowed from 28 October.
You are not be allowed to leave metropolitan Melbourne to exercise, meaning long bushwalks or leaving Melbourne to go fishing is not permitted. From 8 November, the restriction on leaving metropolitan Melbourne is set to be lifted.
You are allowed to drive to a location in order to exercise, but your destination must be within 25km of your home.. From 8 November, the 25km limit is set to be lifted.
What are the rules for wearing face 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 are also exempt and “if it’s just not practical, like when running”, 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.
Breaking the rules is punishable with a $200 fine.
Is my municipality or suburb included?
All local government areas within metropolitan Melbourne are affected. That includes: Banyule, Hume, Moreland, Bayside, Kingston, Mornington Peninsula, Boroondara, Knox, Nillumbik, Brimbank, Manningham, Port Phillip, Cardinia, Maribyrnong, Stonnington, Casey, Maroondah, Whitehorse, Darebin, Melbourne, Whittlesea, Frankston, Melton, Wyndham, Glen Eira, Monash, Yarra, Greater Dandenong, Moonee Valley, Yarra Ranges, Hobsons Bay.
Regional Victoria is now at a more relaxed stage of the state’s roadmap out of lockdown. You can find out more about restrictions outside of metropolitan Melbourne here.
Can I have visitors to my house? Can I see my partner?
More details on easing of restrictions on visiting homes, expected to take effect from 11.59pm on Tuesday 27 October, will be outlined earlier that afternoon.
Currently, 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.
If your partner lives outside Melbourne and/or 25km away from your home you can still visit them.
People living alone are allowed to have one person visit in a “social bubble”. You can only have one nominated person, but you can travel more than 25km to visit their house, and that can include a house where they live with others. You and your nominated person are allowed to visit either person’s house. However if the nominated person lives with other people, they cannot be home when the single person visits.
From 19 October, a number of outdoor industries are allowed to restart. This includes those providing non-essential home maintenance and repairs such as painting outdoors, pool cleaning, installing solar panels, as well as external car washing, mobile pet grooming, outdoor professional photography and letterboxing. These outdoor businesses are limited to five workers at each location.
Other trade work at private residences are still banned, but exceptions exist for emergency issues such as a burst pipe, and for providing care for welfare and wellbeing such as Meals on Wheels. “[But] it’s not the time to be painting your house or having unnecessary, non-urgent work happen,” premier Daniel Andrews said.
Do I have to stay in Melbourne?
You are not currently allowed to get out of Melbourne and stay in your holiday house. The government says this is to stop the virus being spread to other parts of the state.
From 8 November, the restriction on leaving metropolitan Melbourne is set to be lifted.
Can I still dine in at a restaurant or cafe?
No. Restaurants and cafes will only be able to trade as takeaway and delivery businesses.
From 11.59pm on Tuesday 27 October, restaurants, hotels, cafes and bars will reopen, with a maximum indoor capacity of 20 people, seated, with 10 people per space. Outdoor, there will be a maximum of 50 people with one person per two square metres.
From 8 November, these limits are set to increase to 40 people inside, and 70 at outdoor venues.
Are the shops open?
Supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, and local bakers and butchers are allowed to trade but subject to density rules limited by people per square metre.
General retail is closed. Stores are allowed to operate contactless pick-up, delivery and “click and collect”. Hardware stores are open to tradespeople only.
However from 11.59pm on Tuesday 27 October, all retail stores will reopen.
What about other businesses and services?
Hairdressers are now open.
Beauty, personal services and tattooing, will reopen from 11.59pm on Tuesday 27 October, provided you can wear a mask.
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 funerals.
Real estate inspections are by appointment only and auctions must be outdoors with a maximum of 10 people, plus the minimum number of people required to conduct the auction.
What are the changes to warehouses and abattoirs?
Since Thursday 6 August, warehouses in Melbourne have been limited to two-thirds of their normal workforce onsite at any time.
From 28 September abattoirs can increase staff numbers to 80% of their normal workforce.
What is happening to construction?
Major private construction projects have been limited to only 25% of their normal workforce onsite since Thursday 6 August.
Small construction, such as home renovations or new homes, are limited to only five people onsite. Government construction projects have already halved the number of people onsite, and the government is looking to reduce them on a project-by-project basis.
How do I get a permitted worker permit?
If your organisation is on the list of industries allowed to remain open in any form, you are able to fill out a form with your employer that you can present if approached by police while working.
You can present the document, or a photo of the document, on your phone if needed.
Can I still move house?
Yes. The government advises people to take extra precautions, including wearing a mask.
What is happening with schools?
All primary schools returned to face-to-face learning on 12 October.
Year 11 and 12 students returned for assessments from 3 October, and for onsite learning from 12 October.
Year 7 students returned to face-to-face learning on 12 October, and years 8-10 will follow on 26 October.
Childcare was open to all children from 28 September.
What happens to weddings, funerals or religious services?
Weddings are allowed with up to five people (including the couple and two witnesses) plus the celebrant. From 28 October, weddings will be able to include 10 people.
Funerals may have up to 10 people (not including infants under 12 months or people required to conduct the funeral). From 28 October, funerals will increase to 20 mourners.
Outdoor gatherings and religious ceremonies of up to five people, plus one faith leader, are allowed near a place of worship. Places of worship themselves remain closed. From 28 October, indoor faith gatherings will be allowed for 10 worshippers and a leader, while outdoor services will be allowed 20 people plus a faith leader.
Limits on religious gatherings are set to increase from 8 November to 20 worshippers indoors and 50 for outdoor services, in addition to a faith leader.
What if I break the rules?
Victoria police are monitoring traffic seeking to leave metropolitan Melbourne and residents face $5,000 fines if they leave the city without a valid reason (providing or receiving care, medical needs, visiting an intimate partner or for work with a valid work permit).
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 and the fine for breaching isolation orders multiple times after testing positive for coronavirus is $4,957. This can be increased through the courts to a maximum of $20,000.
On 27 September Andrews announced a new fine of “almost $5,000” for unlawful outdoor or indoor gatherings.
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.