With COVID-19 cases rapidly rising across the state, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a slate of tough new laws that significantly restrict movement. Most notably, Melbourne’s sixth lockdown has been extended for another two weeks with new rules set to kick in from 11.59pm on Monday 16 August 2021, with a curfew from 9pm to 5am to again be imposed on the city.
Table of contents
- What is New Under the Melbourne Restrictions?
- When Do the New Victorian Lockdown Restrictions Start?
- What time is the Melbourne lockdown curfew?
- Can I Leave My House?
- Which Businesses are Open?
- Which Businesses are Closed?
- What are the Face Mask Rules?
- Are Restaurants Open?
- Will the Shops Be Open?
- Can I Exercise Outdoors Under the Melbourne Restrictions?
- Can I Have Visitors to My House?
- Can I Travel to/From Melbourne?
- What Happens if I Break the Lockdown Rules?
- General FAQs
The news comes after Victoria recorded 22 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Monday. The state’s health department confirmed the new local cases about 8.30am, before revealing five were mystery infections. According to the announcement, 17 of the 22 new local cases could be linked to existing outbreaks but only 14 positive people were in isolation during their infectious period. This follows reports of five mystery cases on Sunday and four on Friday. The spike has seen the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews plunge the city into another lockdown.
“We now have twelve or 13 different chains of transmission. The origins of some are unknown to us. That means that this is spreading in an undetected way across the community,” Premier Andrews said. “There is simply no option today but to further strengthen this lockdown and to, on the advice of the chief health officer, extend it for a further two weeks. We have too many cases and we run the risk that if we don’t take these steps now, that we will see numbers grow and we will see more and more people in hospital and we will see a similar situation to that which is occurring in other parts of our country.”
Here’s everything you need to know about the new Melbourne restrictions and lockdown measures.
What is New Under the Melbourne Restrictions?
Introduced across the entire state of Victorian, the new restrictions relate directly to contraction prevention. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that the new restrictions have been brought in the reduce community transmission of the deadly COVID-19 virus that decimated the region last year. Here’s what has changed under the new Victorian lockdown rules:
- Exercise exemption tightened – The exercise exemptionto leave home has been made tighter with it only allowed with one other household member and dependants.
- Further mask mandates – There will be also no removal of masks to consume alcohol outdoors, for example on a footpath or in a park.
- Outdoor equipment closed – Playgrounds, basketball courts, skate parks and exercise equipment despite the fact that it is outdoors will also be closed.
- Religious broadcasting tightened – Religious broadcasts will be limited to the same crew producing them every week.
- Permits to return – Permits for authorised work and education will come back from 11.59pm on Tuesday.
- Construction reduced – Large construction projects will be reduced to 25 per cent of the workforce, while smaller projects will have a maximum of five workers.
The tightening of Melbourne’s lockdown rules comes after case numbers climbed. There are now more than 530 exposure sites in multiple suburbs across metropolitan Melbourne, with 205 active cases across the state, up from 185 on Sunday.
“We want to see these numbers come down, but I think we are seeing these numbers grow,” Premier Andrews said on Monday. “The choice really is between where we are now and hundreds and then thousands of cases. I’m determined to make sure that it doesn’t happen here. I know no one’s enjoying this. But what’s worse than this is, well, being locked up till the end of October, or indeed the end of November because that’s how long it may well take to get 80 per cent of people through the vaccination program.”
When Do the New Victorian Lockdown Restrictions Start?
The new Victorian knockdown restrictions come into force at 11.59pm on Monday 16 August 2021, with a curfew from 9pm to 5am to be imposed on the city. At present, the lockdown is set to remain in process for a further two weeks, with the planned easing for September 2. Under these new rules, there will only be four reasons for Victorians to leave home:
- shopping for essential items
- essential work
- permitted education that cannot be done from home
- exercise for up to two hours a day with people from your household
What time is the Melbourne lockdown curfew?
The Melbourne restrictions introduce a curfew for all Melbourne residents between 9pm and 5am. You are only permitted to break this curfew if you are travelling to and from work, giving or receiving care, at risk of family violence, needing to apply for an intervention order, required to attend court or a police station.
Can I Leave My House?
As part of the new Melbourne lockdown restrictions, certain limitations have been placed on community interaction and social outdoor activities. Under the guidelines, you are only permitted to leave your house for four reasons. These include;
- Shopping for food and essential items – Shopping for food and necessary supplies must be within 5km distance from your home, except if the nearest supermarket is further than 5km. Additionally, one person per household can go shopping each day.
- Care and caregiving – This 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 the hospital.
- Daily exercise – Exercise must take place within 5km of home, and must be in metropolitan Melbourne. Exercise is limited to one hour, once per day.
- Work – Employers must support workers to work from home if possible.
Additionally, exemptions are granted for those at risk of family violence, those needing to apply for an intervention order, and those who are required to attend court or a police station. You can also leave your house to access medical services. Access to medical services is unrestricted: you can access them anywhere in Victoria.
Which Businesses are Open?
Like the initial spate of lockdown protocols we endured earlier this year, Melbourne has returned to streamlined business operation. Under the new restrictions, only essential businesses are permitted to open, meaning many of the state’s vibrant business scene has been forced to temporarily shut up shop. Last year, Premier Andrews outlined business restrictions as pertaining to three categories. They are as follows:
- Businesses largely as normal – This includes shops like supermarkets, butchers, takeaway food outlets, pharmacies and greengrocers.
- Reduced total output – Businesses may be instructed to reduce output, resulting in fewer shifts and less contact between workers.
- Businesses that will close – What are Non-Essential Services? A Full List of Australia’s Essential Businesses that can’t move to a work-from-home model will be forced to stop operating.
Here is a list of businesses in Melbourne that will remain open;
- Grocery stores
- Bottle shops
- Petrol stations
- Post offices
Which Businesses are Closed?
As with previous announcements, all non-essential services have closed. Here is a list of businesses that are expected to cease for the next two weeks;
- Some manufacturing
“Retail stores not listed above will be permitted to operate contactless ‘click and collect’ and delivery services with strict safety protocols in place,” the government says.
Similarly, some of the industries that are set to stay open must do so on reduced limitations. This includes mandated reductions to the number of workers on site.
- Construction sector – This will also move to pilot-light levels. For major construction sites, that means the absolute minimum required for safety – but no more than 25 per cent of the normal workforce onsite. Small-scale construction will be limited to a maximum of 5 people onsite.
As per the Victorian Government, “these workplaces that are continuing to operate will also have additional requirements including extra PPE, staggering shifts, staggering breaks, health declarations and more support for sick workers to ensure they stay home.”
You can also learn more about What are Non-Essential Services? A Full List of Australia’s Essential Businesses.
What are the Face Mask Rules?
As you may well have read by now, face masks are now mandatory within the state of Victoria. It is a requirement that residents in local government areas across the state wear face coverings in public.
Under the Victorian restrictions and lockdown measures, all people must wear a mask or covering whenever leaving the house. There are a few exceptions, however, it must be pointed out that these exceptions are extremely rare. These include;
- People with a medical reason are exempt
- Those who have a professional reason, but those people will still be expected to carry a face covering at all times “to wear when you can”.
People who do not wear a face mask when required and do not have a lawful exemption can be fined $200. You can check out our guide to buying a face mask in Australia.
Are Restaurants Open?
The Melbourne restrictions have not completely closed restaurants just yet, however, the industry has reverted back to previous measures. Residents will not be able to dine in a restaurant, however, the businesses are allowed to trade for takeaway and delivery orders.
Will the Shops Be Open?
As mentioned above, only the essential businesses and essential services will be open to the public in Melbourne. This means that shopping centres, markets and other retailers will be allowed to trade, however, they must abide by the strict social distancing and density laws put in place by the state government.
As a general rule, you will only be allowed to go to the shops to buy food and essential items. As with other restaurants, pubs, bars and nightclubs will be closed and bottle shops will be takeaway only.
Can I Exercise Outdoors Under the Melbourne Restrictions?
Under the new Melbourne restrictions, you are still permitted to exercise outdoors, but you will not be allowed to leave metropolitan Melbourne to do so. This means long bush walks or leaving Melbourne to go fishing or surfing are no longer permitted. Further to this, exercise can only happen within 5km of home, and must be in metropolitan Melbourne. The activity is also limited to one hour, once per day. Swimming pools, playgrounds and gyms will be shut, and community sport will also cease.
Can I Have Visitors to My House?
As of the time of publication, Victorians are unable to have visitors over to their house or to attend another person’s house unless it is for the purpose of giving or receiving care. You are allowed to visit your partner, provided you are in an “intimate personal relationship”, thus avoiding the infamous UK ‘bonking ban’.
Can I Travel to/From Melbourne?
If Melbourne is your primary place of residence, you are unable to leave the region, even if it is to attend a holiday home or second domicile. If you are not from Melbourne, you cannot travel there unless it’s for work or study, medical care and caregiving, shopping for food or supplies. Exercise is not a valid reason to travel.
What Happens if I Break the Lockdown Rules?
At the moment the implications for breaking the rules remain financial draining. Premier Andrews has said police will monitor traffic seeking to leave metropolitan Melbourne and officers would also enforce the restrictions within the city. The Victorian police force has been granted permission to issue on-the-spot fines of up to Victoria Police can issue on-the-spot fines of up to $1,817 for adults and up to $10,904 for businesses for:
- refusing or failing to comply with the emergency directions
- refusing or failing to comply with a public health risk power direction
- refusing or failing to comply with the Public Health Directions to provide information.
Fines of up to $21,808 for individuals and $109,044 for corporations are possible through the court system.
The Victorian police force has been granted permission to issue on-the-spot fines of up to $1,817 for adults and up to $10,904 for businesses.
The new Melbourne lockdown restrictions begin in the metropolitan region from 11:59pm Monday 16 August 2021and will last for a total of two weeks. Under the plan, the Melbourne lockdown is expected to end on Sunday 2 September, however, the result is highly dependent on the rate of community contraction.
The Melbourne stage 4 restrictions introduce a curfew for all Melbourne residents between 9pm and 5am. You are only permitted to break this curfew if you are travelling to and from work, giving or receiving care, at risk of family violence, needing to apply for an intervention order, required to attend court or a police station, or giving blood.