Stay at Home Frequently Asked Questions

The Victorian Government is directing all Victorians to stay at home, restricting sporting, cultural, recreational and commercial activities to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you can stay home, you must stay home.

The Victorian Government is directing all Victorians to stay at home to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). To date, the majority of confirmed cases of coronavirus are linked to overseas travel, however there are an increasing number of locally acquired cases emerging in the community. By staying at home and limiting your contact with other people, we can all reduce the spread of the virus. 

What does this mean and what are the rules?

All the questions answered at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-stay-home-and-restricted-activities-directions-faq

Who does this apply to, and when?

Everyone in Victoria. The ‘Stay at Home’ period begins from midnight on 30 March until midnight on 13 April 2020.

Is this compulsory, or voluntary?

It is compulsory. The Deputy Chief Health Officer of Victoria has issued a lawful direction as part of the current State of Emergency. It means that, except in limited circumstances, you should remain in your home.

My partner and I live separately from one another. Can we still see each other?

While the Stay at Home direction requires people to limit their social interaction, particularly social visits to people’s houses, partners living separately are able to visit each other at home. 

I have more than one home. Can I choose which one I stay in?

Victorians are being told not to travel unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to, you may travel between your own two residences. The Stay at Home provisions apply when you are at either home. When you are there, stay home.

Can I leave the house during the Stay at Home period?

No. Although there are some exceptions. You may leave your home during this period:

  • to shop for food and other necessary goods and services 
  • To access medical services or provide caregiving. For example, this includes shared parenting obligations or providing care and support to an unwell, disabled, elderly or pregnant friend or relative.
  • to attend work or education (where you can’t do those things remotely) 
  • for exercise
  • You may also leave you home in an emergency or if required by law.

Can service providers come into my home?

You shouldn’t let anyone outside your immediate household group come into your home, unless you really need help – and it can only be done in person.

For example, your wi-fi might be faulty and you need it to work from home. Or, you might have a leaking pipe causing damage. A tradesperson is permitted to enter your home to fix the problem, but you must ensure physical distancing (keeping 1.5 metres away) while they are there.

If you need help with house-cleaning because you’re not physically able to do it yourself, ensure the cleaner’s time in your home is kept to a minimum and observe appropriate physical distancing. If possible, remove yourself from the room where the cleaner is working or take yourself or family outside.

And, if you do need to have critical work done in your home, avoid paying with cash. Minimise physical contact by paying the service provider with a direct bank transfer or contactless payment. 

Can I have visitors in my home?

No. Social visits from friends and family increase the risk of spreading coronavirus. Every interaction with another person carries the risk of transmission and should be avoided. You should not have visitors and in turn, you should not visit the homes of others during the Stay at Home direction.

Of course, you can welcome a visitor into your home when they are providing you with care and support when you are unwell, disabled, elderly or pregnant.

Can I go to the supermarket?

Yes. However, you should keep visits to a minimum. Make a list of the things you need, shop quickly and minimise the time you spend there. Ideally, only one person from your household should go to the supermarket at each visit to minimise the numbers of people in the supermarket at any one time. Remember that many supermarkets are reducing their opening hours, so check online before leaving home to make sure the supermarket is open.

Can I take a friend or relative to the shops with me?

If you need help with shopping, or if a friend or family member needs help, you can go to the supermarket or shopping centre together, observing physical distancing.

Can I still go to big shopping malls?

Yes. Only for the purpose of shopping for necessary goods and services. Many retail stores and all public attractions are now closed at major shopping malls. If you do go, you should spend as little time there as possible.

What are the ‘medical or compassionate reasons’ for being able to leave my home?

You may leave your home for any of the following personal reasons:

  • to visit a doctor or other medical professional, or to obtain medical supplies
  • to donate blood
  • if you have shared parenting obligations and need to transport children between homes, under an informal   or court-ordered arrangement
  • if you have carer responsibilities, for example, a foster care or respite care obligation
  • to drop off or pick up a child at childcare, early childhood education or school if you need to go to work or study
  • to provide care and support to a relative or other person – such as shopping, cooking or house-cleaning – to someone because of their old age, infirmity, disability, sickness, chronic health condition or because they may be pregnant or have mental health concerns
  • to visit someone in an aged care facility or disability accommodation 
  • to visit someone in hospital 
  • to attend the funeral service of a relative or close friend, noting that the maximum permitted number of mourners is 10
  • to get married, or be a witness to a marriage
  • if there is family violence, or violence by another person in the home, and you are at risk.

Are there limits on the time of day I can leave the house?

No. If you need to go out to obtain goods or services, check the opening hours of the shops you intend to visit. Many retail outlets are now operating over fewer hours per day.

If you need to provide care to a relative or other person, you can do so at any time of day.

You can leave home to exercise at any time of day.

We have children in a shared custody arrangement. How does this affect them?

All shared custody arrangements, whether informal or court-ordered can continue as normal. 

You are permitted to leave the house to take children from one parent’s home to the other parent’s home.

Can I go out to pick up takeaway food?

Yes. You should travel directly to the food outlet, minimise the time you spend in those premises, always observe physical distancing and return home directly. Consider arranging home delivery as an alternative.

Can I still order home-delivered food?

Yes. Remember some basics to minimise the spread of coronavirus when having food delivered. 

Don’t allow the delivery person to enter your home, and always maintain physical distancing, especially when paying and taking delivery of your meal. Try to use contactless payment or prepay online if possible.  

If you live in an apartment with a security entrance, don’t allow delivery people to enter the building or use lifts or internal stairways. Pick up your delivery from the front of the building instead. This minimises the risk to any older or vulnerable people who share the common areas of the property.

Can I go out to pick up my online shopping from the post office or the ‘click and collect’?

Yes. However, consider what online shopping you really need to do during the Stay at Home period, and minimise your need to leave the house. If you wish to pick up a purchased item from a point of collection, first call ahead to check what hours it is open, travel directly there and home again.

Always observe physical distancing. 

Can I visit my sick relative in hospital?

Yes, but you must follow the rules for hospital visits.

Can I visit my mum in her nursing home?

Yes, but you must follow the rules for visiting an aged care facility

I had arranged to move house this week, can I still go ahead?

Yes, you are able to leave home for the purposes of relocation.

I am caring for an elderly parent/friend who lives alone. Can I visit them?

Yes, this is permitted. However, if you are preparing meals and providing other help for the elderly person, be mindful of the risks of transmitting the disease to them. Older people are especially vulnerable to coronavirus. If you are delivering meals, think about leaving a package on their doorstep without making physical contact. If you are doing cleaning chores or other housework, think about having them sit somewhere comfortable and away from you while you work, so you are not in close contact. Make sure they are feeling well and ask them if they have enough of their regular medications whenever you visit.

Can I drive my car?

Yes, but you should stay at home unless it is an emergency, or for one of the permitted purposes.

Can I use taxis and ride-shares?

Yes, but only for one of the permitted purposes. The less time we all spend out of our homes, the faster we will all be able resume normal life again.

Will public transport still operate?

Public transport is an essential service and is still available for passengers who need to travel.
However, the advice is clear, if you can stay home, you must stay home.

Can I meet a friend for coffee? 

Only as part of your daily exercise. Cafés and restaurants are not permitted to offer table service, so sitting down for coffee with a friend at your local café is not an option. Going for a walk with one friend or family member who doesn’t live at the same address as you and getting a couple of takeaway coffees is an alternative, but an online coffee catch-up is the better way to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Can I leave home to attend a wedding?

Only if you are one of the people getting married, one of the two witnesses, or the celebrant. To minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus, the only wedding you may hold is a small private one with the minimum required number of people required to make it legal. When the risk of transmitting coronavirus is over, you can have a special celebration.

Can I leave home to attend a funeral?

Yes, but no more than 10 mourners are allowed at any one funeral service. If you are unsure whether the maximum number of mourners will be at the funeral, you should contact the funeral director before attending.  They may be able to offer you the ability to make an online tribute or view a live stream of the funeral service from home.

Can I still go to my classes at TAFE, college or university?

Yes, if classes are still being conducted.  If classes are available online, you should carefully consider whether you need to physically attend the campus. Avoid spending time in shared facilities such as libraries and campus study areas. Collaborative assignments and team study projects should be done using online tools. Study at home.

Can I leave the house to do some outdoor exercise on my own?

Yes, you can leave your home to exercise alone, provided it’s possible to maintain appropriate physical distancing from others. This includes, walking, running, bike riding or other types of exercise, such as yoga in a park.

Can I exercise with others?

You can exercise outdoors with any or all of the people who normally live at the same address as you. This includes walking the dog, yoga in the park or going for a run or bike ride. Always maintain physical distancing when you are exercising with them. 

Alternatively, you can also do outdoor exercise with one other friend or family member who doesn’t normally live at the same address as you, provided you maintain physical distancing while together.

That person can also be a personal trainer if you wish.

Can I take my children to the park?

Yes, you can go to the park to exercise, but visits to the park should be kept short. Children should not be allowed to come into contact with playground equipment, outdoor chairs and tables, and they should not drink from public drinking fountains. 
Your children should not have close physical contact with other children at the park.

Can we still go to the beach?

The restrictions on going to the beach are the same ones as for going to the park. Keep visits short and maintain physical distancing at all times. 

Your local council may decide to close beaches in your area, so it will be worth checking the council website before you leave home.

Can I leave my house to go to work?

Yes. If your work cannot be performed remotely, you can still go to work as usual, unless your employer has introduced other arrangements, such as working from home. When at the workplace, you should ensure the appropriate physical distancing and sanitisation measures. 

Can I leave my house to do volunteering work?

Yes. Unpaid work can continue to be done while the organisation you are volunteering for is still operating, however, if the volunteer work can be done remotely at home it should be. You should also maintain appropriate physical distancing and sanitisation measures.

Will I be stopped by police if I am out on the street in a group?

Victoria Police has the role of ensuring Victorians stay in their homes unless absolutely necessary during this difficult period. They will approach groups of more than two people to ensure compliance with the Stay at Home direction.

What if I am booked on a flight, can I leave home to go to the airport?

Yes, but keep in mind that Australians are being asked not to travel unless absolutely necessary. Several Australian states now also prohibit entry, so you may not be able to fly to some states such as Queensland. You should check with the airline if you booked the flights some time ago. Likewise, if you are flying overseas, check with the airline or www.smartraveller.gov.au to check on quarantine restrictions at your destination.

Does the Stay at Home direction apply to caravan parks?

If you are a permanent resident of a caravan park, the Stay at Home direction applies to you. 

If you are a tourist on a holiday visit to a caravan park, you must stay there and observe the requirements of the Stay at Home direction if your home is interstate. Otherwise if your normal place of residence is in Victoria, you should return home without delay.

Does this apply to backpacker hostels?

If you are currently in a backpacker hostel, you should regard it as your home for the purposes of the Stay at Home direction. You should avoid spending time in communal areas of the hostel. You may leave the hostel to board a flight out of Australia. 

Always observe physical distancing requirements within the hostel. 

If I am in community accommodation, does this mean I can’t leave where I am?

You must observe the Stay at Home direction wherever you are living.  If you are currently in a family violence refuge, youth refuge or other form of temporary crisis or respite accommodation, you can move to alternative accommodation if you have a safe option. Once you move from temporary accommodation, this becomes your new normal place of residence for the purposes of the Stay at Home direction.

What about people in a family violence refuge or other emergency accommodation?

If you are in a family violence refuge or temporary accommodation, such as a hotel or motel, arranged for you by a family violence support service, and don’t have an alternative safe accommodation option, you can remain there. You should regard this accommodation as your normal place of residence for the purposes of the Stay at Home direction, unless you have alternative safe accommodation to go to. 

What does this mean for people in disability accommodation? 

If you live in a long-term supported disability accommodation facility, this is your normal place of residence for the purposes of the Stay at Home direction.  

If you are away from your long-term disability supported accommodation, staying with family for example, you must decide whether to stay with family or return to the long term supported accommodation until the stay at home direction is lifted.

If you choose to stay with your family, you cannot return to the long term supported accommodation facility until a medical practitioner confirms that you do not have coronavirus.

If you are in temporary respite accommodation, you should return to your usual place of residence or other safe accommodation option when you are able to do so. Once you move from temporary accommodation, this becomes your normal place of residence for the purposes of the Stay at Home direction.  

What does this mean for children and young people living in out of home care?

If a child or young person is currently living in out of home care, including residential care units, this is considered their normal place of residence for the purposes of the Stay at Home direction.  Placements can continue to change to best meet their safety and care needs during this time. The important thing to know is, regardless of whether a child or young person is in kinship care, foster care or residential care they must comply with Stay at Home requirements.

What are those physical distancing requirements?

You should always maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres away from other people.

In a public place, there should be a minimum of 4 square metres of available floorspace per person in all shops, offices, showrooms or other commercial premises. For example, in a shop where the floorspace is a total of 40 square metres this means no more than 10 people can be in the shop at the one time.

What are the penalties for not complying with the Stay at Home requirement?

A person who fails to comply with this direction will be liable for fines of up to approximately $20,000, or up to approximately $100,000 in the case of companies and other bodies.

Restricted activities direction

30 March 2020

The Victorian Government is restricting sporting, cultural, recreational and commercial activities to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). By reducing the number of opportunities for people to be in close contact with one another, we can reduce the number of new cases of the virus. Victorians love to get out and about at this time of year, but to save the lives of many Victorians, right now, if you can stay home, you must stay home.

Are these new and additional restrictions?

Yes. On 25 March 2020, the Deputy Chief Health Officer issued a direction identifying activities posing an unacceptable risk for the spread of coronavirus. On 30 March 2020, this list was expanded and clarified to provide further guidance to Victorian families and businesses.

What activities are restricted?

Many restricted businesses have already closed, a number of other activities have now been prohibited. All have been chosen because they are typically the places where people gather in numbers, or come into close contact, or both.

By prohibiting these activities now, we have the best chance of slowing the spread of coronavirus, helping keep more Victorians safe, and saving the lives of loved ones.

The main restricted categories are:

  • Pubs, bars nightclubs and hotels
  • Recreational facilities
  • Entertainment facilities
  • Places of worship
  • Some retail business
  • Food and drink businesses
  • Accommodation facilities
  • Swimming pools
  • Animal facilities
  • Real estate auctions and inspections.

What are the restrictions on pubs, bars, nightclubs and hotels?

You can’t operate licensed premises where large numbers of people might gather and be in close contact with each other.  The only services you can deliver during this time of restrictions are:

  • Bottleshop operations
  • Providing takeaway food and drink for people to consume off the premises
  • Accommodation.

Which recreational facilities are restricted?

This is the current list of prohibited recreational facilities. 

  • Indoor physical recreation facilities, including gyms, swimming pools, yoga studios and saunas
  • Outdoor recreational facilities, including tennis and basketball centres, but also including mini-golf centres, paint-ball, go-karts, rifle ranges, equestrian centres and outdoor pools
  • Indoor personal training facilities
  • Community centres and halls
  • Libraries, including toy libraries
  • Galleries and museums
  • Youth centres
  • Play centres
  • Playgrounds – 30 March 2020
  • Skate parks – 30 March 2020
  • Outdoor communal gym equipment – 30 March 2020

What sort of indoor training facilities are included?

The restricted businesses are those which typically operate in a commercial space set up with physical training equipment for the purposes of holding personal training sessions. These businesses provide a significant risk of transmission in the event that a person who attends one of these centres is a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Is it possible to play tennis or basketball on outdoor courts?

On a very limited basis. There must not be any more than one basketball or tennis court in use at any one time, and there is no communal use of tennis balls, racquets or basketballs. 

What kind of playgrounds are prohibited?

Any outdoor playground equipment situated in public open space and accessible to the public at all times. These facilities represent a risk of coronavirus transmission because of the numbers of people using them, the inability to control access and the absence of regular cleaning and disinfection.

Playgrounds that are situated in early learning centres and schools and where access is controlled are not included in this prohibition.
What is outdoor communal gym equipment?

Many parks and recreation reserves feature outdoor exercise equipment for use by the general public. These facilities represent a risk of coronavirus transmission because of the numbers of people using them, the inability to control access and the absence of regular cleaning and disinfection.

What is the list of restricted entertainment facilities?

All of the following facilities should now be closed:

  • Theatres
  • Cinemas
  • Concert halls and auditoriums
  • Arenas, stadiums and convention centres
  • Games arcades
  • Amusement parks
  • Casinos and other gambling business
  • Brothels, strip clubs, escort agencies, sex-on-premises and other adult entertainment venues.

Can I still live-stream performances from my venue without an audience?

You can put on recorded performances at your venue, if you’d like to continue to provide music or other performances for your loyal audiences. However, you will need to ensure that all participants in the performance ensure the appropriate physical distancing.

Are places of worship closed?

All places of worship, of all denominations, must now be closed. They may only be opened for the purposes of conducting weddings and funerals, and there are strict limits on the number of people who can attend.

For weddings, only the couple getting married, the celebrant and two witnesses may attend – a total of no more than 5 people.

For funerals, no more than 10 mourners may attend in person.

Which retail businesses are prohibited from trading?

Several important categories of retail business are now prohibited from trading. These are:

  • Beauty and personal care businesses
  • Auction houses
  • Indoor and outdoor market stalls

Which beauty and personal care businesses are currently prohibited?

All care services where there is close contact for a prolonged period between the client and the therapist, including:

  • Beauty therapy, spray-tanning, waxing and nail salons
  • Tattoo and piercing parlours
  • Spas and massage parlours providing relaxation massages as distinct from therapeutic or remedial massage.

Allied health services, such as physiotherapy and podiatry can continue to operate as normal.

If my business is allowed to stay open, are there any special conditions I should know?

Yes, there are three special requirements for every retail business that has customer premises:

  • You must measure your available floorspace and identify the maximum number of customers allowed on your premises at one time. For example, if your shop is 8 metres wide by 20 metres deep, its floorspace would allow no more than 40 customers and staff inside at one time (8 x 20 = 160m2, divided by 4 m2 per person = 40 people)
  • You must place a sign at the entrance to your premises indicating the maximum capacity of your shop and ensure that no more than this number are in your premises at any one time
  • You must initiate a cleaning regime that ensures:
    • Frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, touch screen, handrails and benchtops are cleaned at least twice per day
    • All surfaces are cleaned when visibly soiled
    • All surfaces are cleaned immediately there is spillage

The cleaning regime must include use of a disinfectant with anti-viral properties that complies with the published requirements of the Department of Health and Human Services here.

Why are auction houses restricted?

Auctions that are held indoors and attract large numbers of people represents a risk of transmission. Live, in-person auctions held in an auction house are prohibited for now, although where an auction can be conducted remotely via telephone or online, they may continue,

Which market stalls are affected?

If a market stall is predominantly involved with selling food or drink, it may continue to operate.  However, at any indoor or outdoor market where other goods are sold, only the food stalls may continue to trade, and the market operator must ensure there is sufficient open space to enable appropriate physical distancing between customers and stall holders.

Do food and drink businesses have to close?

Any business providing only sit-down meals and drinks must close. You may remain open if your business operates as takeaway or delivery only, or if you change over from table service to takeaway and delivery only.

This restriction is to reduce the opportunity for large numbers of people to spend time in an enclosed space while eating their meal. Restaurants, cafes, cafeterias and fast-food stores also have many surfaces, tabletops, door handles and other fixtures that are touched or handled by many customers.  Reducing the amount of time people spend in a food service business can minimise the risk of transmission of coronavirus.

For the same reason, if the food business is situated in a food court, the operators of the food court must not allow customers to be seated to eat their food. Food court stall holders must supply food for takeaway dining only.

Can any food businesses continue to operate?

If a food and drink facility is situated on the premises of a hospital, a residential aged care facility, a school, prison, correctional facility, youth justice centre or defence force facility, it may continue to operate normally. Businesses or charities providing food and drink to the homeless may continue to operate as normal.

What type of accommodation facilities are prohibited?

Camping grounds and caravan parks, because of the communal nature of many of the facilities offered, are not permitted to remain open, except for a limited range of occupants:

  • People who live there permanently
  • People without a permanent place of residence
  • People whose permanent place of residence is temporarily unavailable
  • People who have travelled to Victoria for work
  • People who were already staying there temporarily at the time the restrictions came into force
  • People who need emergency accommodation as a result of family violence or other threat
  • People who require accommodation for work, where their work is helping to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Why are swimming pools prohibited?

Public swimming pools represent a risk for the transmission of coronavirus because of the number of people who use them, the communal nature of facilities and the many surfaces and fixtures on which the virus could be deposited.

If a pool is at a person’s private residence and is not available for communal use, it can be used without restriction.

What kind of animal facilities are closed?

Any kind of animal facility that would normally attract a crowd. This includes:

  • Zoos
  • Wildlife centres
  • Petting zoos
  • Aquariums
  • Animal farms that are not involved in producing food.

Animal facilities can continue to operate if they treat or care for sick animals or rescue abandoned or injured animals.

I can’t sell my house at auction. But can I sell privately?

Yes, you can put your home on the market for private sale, but you can’t go to auction at the moment because of the risk associated with a large gathering of people in a confined location. 

If you have open-for-inspection session for prospective buyers, they must be strictly by appointment. 

How are these measures being enforced?

Victoria Police has established a squad of 500 officers to enforce these containment measures. These officers will be out in the community doing spot checks to enforce the ban on gatherings.

What are the penalties for not complying with these orders?

A person who fails to comply with this direction will be liable for fines of up to approximately $20,000, or up to approximately $100,000 in the case of companies and other bodies corporate.

When do these measures come into force?

This updated list of bans and closures comes into force at midnight on 30 March 2020.

How long will these measures last?

This list of measures will remain in force until midnight on 13 April 2020, and if necessary, will be extended.

Where can I get more information? 

For updates, go to: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus. 

You can also call the coronavirus hotline: 1800 675 398

If you require a translator to help you, call the translating and interpreting service on 131 450 and ask for the coronavirus hotline.

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