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Melbourne’s social distancing rules explained and how to go out right now

Everyday life has changed – but there are ways to go out safely and look after your fellow Melburnians

Melbourne social distancing emojis
Photograph: Flickr/r reeve

Over the next couple of months, as restrictions start to be relaxed, everyday life in Melbourne will start to go back to normal. But it’s not going to be same – it’s likely food and drink venues will be emptier, live music will be quieter and handshakes will be out of the question. 

We’ll be keeping you up to date with current rules and restrictions, but we also want everyone to stay safe to avoid a second wave of infection. 

So, while we encourage you to take full advantage of the new freedoms, for the sake of everyone across the state, please follow these important rules on physical distancing and enhanced hygiene.

RECOMMENDED: Here's what you can and can't do in Victoria right now.

Stay 1.5 metres apart

With the exception of members of your household or your exclusive partner, you must stay 1.5 meters away from other people. This applies even if they are your friends, even if you’re in a house or an apartment, even if you’re exercising together, and even if everyone you’re with is symptom free. Research has shown that physical contact is the primary method of transmission, so hugs, handshakes and high-fives are on hiatus until further notice.

Hand sanny is your friend

Please use hand sanitiser whenever you touch a surface in public and wash your hands with soap and water once you return home. The virus can survive on certain surfaces for up to five days – including on your skin. The most effective way to disinfect your hands is to thoroughly wash them for at least 30 seconds with soap and hot water. If you are out and about, hand san is also a very effective stopgap, and many of Melbourne’s top boutique distilleries (including Patient Wolf and Urban Alley) are producing their own using the same stills where they brew their hooch.


Don’t touch your face

Be careful not to touch your face when you’re outside your home. You might well be shocked by the amount of time our mitts spend touching our mugs. Throughout the day, we might absentmindedly scratch our chins and bite our fingernails. We might rub an eye or, if no one’s looking, give our noses a cheeky pick. This all adds up to a lot of facetime for whatever nasties might be on your hands, so avoiding that unconscious touching is extremely important.

Cough and sneeze in ya elbow

Most of us are well mannered enough to cover our mouths when we need to clear our throat, but whereas it was once a sign of good manners to shield your mouth with your hands, the crook of your elbow is now the best place to unleash a cough or sneeze. This way, you won’t only be protecting those around if you’re infected, you’ll also be protecting yourself from whatever might already be on your hands (and here’s hoping Josh Frydenberg has learnt his lesson).


Get tested – even if you have mild symptoms

If you have even the slightest of symptoms, get tested as soon as possible. Our society has conditioned us to not make a fuss and just get on with it when we’re a bit under the weather. Those days are gone. If you have even a slight cough, a bit of a runny nose or a touch of joint pain, or even if you’re just feeling a little more tired than usual, you need to get tested immediately. In the majority of people, symptoms can be extremely mild, and even asymptomatic cases are still capable of passing the infection on. There are testing centres across the city, and results will arrive within a couple of days by text. Either way, positive or negative, you’ll know exactly what to do regarding isolating and seeking further treatment. Here’s where to get tested right now, and here’s what it feels like to get tested.

Think about getting the CovidSafe app

This government-made app is a way for health authorities to track possible person to person spread of the disease. The contract tracing technology doesn’t map your position, but rather logs your relative position to other devices using a Bluetooth ‘handshake’. All the data is stored on your phone and can only be released with your express permission should you test positive. Otherwise, the data is automatically deleted after 21 days without ever leaving your possession. Concerns over data security and privacy have been raised by some tech experts, so be sure to read up on the app’s conditions before downloading. Here are eight things you might not know about the CovidSafe app

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