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Photograph: Charlotte May from Pexels

What you can and can’t do in Victoria right now

Confused about Victoria’s current restrictions? Here are some answers

Written by
Rebecca Russo
,
Nicola Dowse
,
Cassidy Knowlton
&
Rushani Epa
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After experiencing more days in lockdown than any other city on the planet, Melburnians are finally saying goodbye to many of the stay-at-home rules, hopefully for good. There are plenty of new freedoms for fully vaccinated people in the state, but other safety protocols will remain in place for a while. Here's everything you need to know about what life in Melbourne looks like from midnight on October 21.

For a full breakdown of Victoria's current restrictions, visit the Victorian government website

What are the current rules?

The lockdown for Metropolitan Melbourne and Mildura Rural City Shire will end at 11.59pm on Thursday, October 21.

All other areas of regional Victoria are not in lockdown but some restrictions still apply.

What are the latest changes to restrictions?

From 11.59pm on Thursday, October 21, Melbourne and Mildura will come out of lockdown.

From this time, you can leave home for any reason, there is no curfew, and there is no limit to how far you can travel...but you still cannot travel between regional Victoria and Melbourne unless you have a permitted reason. From this time hospitality venues can also reopen for seated service and you may have visitors to the home – read on for details. 

When can I leave my house?

Melbourne and Mildura: From 11.59pm on October 21, you can leave home for any reason. 

Regional Victoria: You can leave your home for any reason.

Is there a curfew in place?

Melbourne: Curfew ends at 11.59pm on October 21...so you can't leave home without a permitted reason until midnight.

If you work for a business that is reopening at that time, you may leave home during curfew to prepare for the opening at midnight.

Regional Victoria: No curfew is in place. 

How far can I travel from home?

From 11.59pm on October 21, Melbourne joins regional Victoria in having no limit on how far you can travel from home. However, you still cannot travel between regional Victoria and Melbourne without a permitted reason.

Can I get vaccinated yet?

Yes! All Victorians aged 12 and over can now get vaccinated. 

Here's the list of current vaccination hubs in Victoria, and here's more on how to get vaccinated in Melbourne. Those who are 12 to 17 can get a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and anyone over the age of 18 can have either Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca. All three vaccines are safe and effective.

Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton has repeatedly said: "The best vaccine you can get is the one you can get today." 

Are there walk-in vaccination centres in Melbourne?

Yes, all major Victorian state hubs are offering walk-up vaccinations. Occasionally, pop-up vaccination centres may be established as needed, and these may accept walk-ins. Drive-through vaccination centres also require a booking – call 1800 675 398 to book or book online.

You can also book an appointment via the government website or call 1800 675 398 for Pfizer or AstraZeneca or book an appointment at Find a Pharmacy for Moderna or AstraZeneca.

How can I get tested?

You can find your nearest testing site via the Victorian government's coronavirus website. The map allows you to distinguish between walk-in, drive-through and testing sites that require a booking. 

You must get tested as soon as you experience any symptoms, no matter how mild. These include:

-chills or sweats
-sore throat
-fever
-cough
-runny nose
-shortness of breath
-loss or change in sense of taste or smell

Other symptoms can include headache, muscle aches, a stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. For more information, head to the coronavirus website.

You can travel further than your travel bubble to get tested but you cannot leave areas in lockdown to get tested.

When do I have to wear a mask?

All Victorians over 12 must wear a mask indoors and outdoors, except if they are in their own homes, the home or their intimate partner or have an exemption. This also includes wearing a mask outdoors when buying a takeaway coffee or meal.

Masks can be removed to eat or drink, including alcoholic beverages. 

It is also recommended that children of primary school age wear a mask in indoor settings if possible.

Once we hit 80 per cent fully vaccinated, masks are expected to only be required indoors.

What are the current exposure sites in Melbourne and Victoria?

You can see the current list of Victorian exposure sites by visiting this page on the Victorian government's coronavirus website. 

Can I have people over? When can I have visitors to my house?

From 11.59pm on October 21, both regional Victorians and Melburnians may have ten visitors to their home per day, which includes dependents. It is strongly recommeneded that both you and your visitors are fully vaccinated. 

How many people can gather outdoors?

Melbourne: From 11.59pm on October 21, you can gather in groups of up to 15 people in outdoor, public places.

Regional Victoria: From 11.59pm on October 21, you can gather in groups of 20 in outdoor, public places like parks or beaches.

Can I have a picnic in Melbourne?

Yes! Here are some of our favourite picnic spots in Melbourne. Outdoor gathering limits as outlined above apply. 

Can I drink alcohol at a picnic in Melbourne? 

Yes you can! You are permitted to remove your mask and drink alcohol outside (so long as it doesn't breach the local liquor licencing laws, of course).

Are outdoor facilities accessible?

Outdoor facilities, including playgrounds, exercise equipment and skate parks, are open.

Can I send my children to childcare?

Childcare is open to all children currently able to attend, plus to any families where both parents or guardians are fully vaccinated.

Can I go to work or go to school?

Melbourne: You must continue to work from home if possible, even once lockdown lifts. If you are an authorised worker permitted to work on site, you must be at least single vaxxed.

Schools began a staggered reopening October 5. 

Non-essential workplaces will be able to have fully vaccinated staff return to working on site from November 5, but it is advised staff continue working from home if possible.

Regional Victoria: You can return to work if you're unable to work from home. Offices can have either 25 per cent of staff, or ten workers, on site (whichever is greater). 

What's this about QR check-ins at work?

You must check in using a QR code at work and at workplaces. Find out more here. You must also check-in via QR code or manual sign-in at every venue you visit across Victoria, except for private residences.

Are restaurants and bars open?

From 11.59pm on October 21, hospitality venues across Victoria can reopen for up to 50 vaccinated people for outdoor service and 20 vaccinated people for indoor service. Both staff and patons must be fully vaccinated.

Are other shops open? What about retail?

Melbourne: Non-essential retail is closed, but can operate click and collect or delivery services. These stores are expected to reopen once we hit our 80 per cent double vaccinated target, around November 2. 

Regional Victoria: General retail can open, with caps. 

Can I get a haircut? When are hairdressers and barbers reopening?

Melbourne: Yes, from 11.59pm on October 21 hairdressers and barbers can reopen for up to five fully vaccinated people. Keep in mind, many salons may be booked out or have long wait times so please be patient and respectful.

Regional Victoria: Yes, hairdressers and personal and beauty services can operate with up to ten customers, and a density limit.

Can my dog get a haircut? I.e. are dog groomers open?

Yes, groomers can operate.

Can I get a tattoo or manicure?

Yes, all beauty and personal care services, including tattoo parlours, nail and beauty salons can reopen from 11.59pm October 21, under the same rules as hairdressers. Masks should be kept on unless the service requires you take it off (for example, you're getting a facial or beard trim).

Are galleries, museums, theatres and other cultural and entertainment venues open?

Melbourne: No. They will begin reopening from early November to fully vaccinated guests.

Regional VictoriaYes, with patron caps and density limits. Check with the venue in question.

Can I go to the cinema?

Melbourne: Outdoor cinemas in can open from 11.59pm on October 21. Take a look at Melbourne's best outdoor cinemas here. Indoor cinemas are expected to reopen once we hit 80 per cent double vaxxed.

Regional Victoria: Yes, with patron caps and density limits. Check with the venue in question.

Are gyms open?

Melbourne : Outdoor gyms and outdoor personal training can operate right now. Indoor gyms can reopen once we hit 80 per cent double vaccinated. Outdoor pools can reopen for for 50 fully vaccinated people.

Regional Victoria: Gyms and other indoor physical recreation venues can open, with ten people indoors (20 outdoors). Pools can also open, with 20 people indoors and 50 outdoors.

Can weddings and funerals happen?

Melbourne: From 11.59pm on October 21, weddings and funerals can have 20 people indoors, or 50 people outdoors. All guests must be fully vaccinated.

Regional Victoria: From the same date, regional Victorians can have 30 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Again, all guests must be fully vaccinated.

Can I travel around the state and stay overnight?

Melbourne: There is no travel limit from 11.59pm on October 21, but you cannot travel between Melbourne and regional Victoria without a permitted reason. This is expected to change once Victoria reaches its 80 per cent double vaccination target in early November. This does mean you can book a hotel in Melbourne for a staycation, or stay overnight at a friends house (if you're staying at a friend's house you count as part of their visitor cap for every day you're there).

Regional Victoria: If you want to go on a holiday in Victoria, you now can, with tourist accommodation accessible to regional Victorians (including Mildura from October 22).

Can I travel interstate?

Melbourne: Not for a holiday, though you can still move interstate or travel for business if you are an authorised worker. There may be restrictions on you entering other states though, so check with the state you're travelling to first.

Interstate travel will likely resume around November 5 and may vary from state to state.  

Regional Victoria: You can travel interstate, but it is advised you do not travel to any area that is designated a red or extreme zone. You should still check with the state you're travelling to, as they may have restrictions on regional Victorians entering. 

Can I travel into Victoria?

You can enter Victoria from other states, but all travellers entering the state (regardless of if they're a Victorian resident or not) must hold a travel permit.

Depending on where you're coming from and your vaccination status, you may need to get tested and quarantine for up to 14 days on arrival. 

Residents of Vic-NSW border communities can travel between the states without a permit, so long as they haven't been a red or extreme zone in the previous 14 days. 

When can I travel overseas?

International travel will resume from November, starting with NSW. A date for international travel in and out of Victoria has not been announced yet.

When will Melbourne's lockdown end?

Drum roll please: Melbourne's lockdown will end at 11.59pm on October 21

Where can I get more information?

Head to the Victorian government website for further information and if you have any questions call the hotline on 1800 675 398.

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