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

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

Written by
Nicola Dowse
,
Cassidy Knowlton
,
Rushani Epa
&
Eliza Campbell
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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 a few safety protocols remain in place for the time being. Here's everything you need to know about what life in Melbourne looks like from 11.59pm on January 6.

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

What are the current rules?

Lockdown has ended across Victoria. At the time of writing, the state currently has more than 92 per cent of its eligible population aged 12 and over fully vaccinated as the state moves into summer. There remain some restrictions, however, especially in light of the Omicron variant.

When can I leave my house?

At any time, for any reason. Provided you are not currently isolating due to Covid-19 symptoms or awaiting a PCR test result.

Is there a curfew in place?

No!

How far can I travel from home?

As far as you like, with no restrictions on entering or leaving metro Melbourne. Restrictions may apply, however, on entering other states and territories.

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." 

Can my child get vaccinated?

Children aged five to 11 are eligible for vaccination from January 10, 2022. Children aged 12 and over can get vaccinated right now.

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.

When can I get my booster shot?

Booster shots are available to all people aged 18 and over in Australia four months after they received their second dose of any Covid-19 vaccine. Pfizer, Moderna and Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) are all being used for boosters, and you don't need to have the same brand that you had for your first two doses. Find out more about getting your booster here.

You can book in for your booster shot online or by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

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.

Can I get tested using a rapid antigen (at-home) test?

Rapid antigen tests are available at Coles, Woolworths and a number of other supermarkets and pharmacies. These tests return a result in 20-30 minutes, but are less accurate than a PCR test (the ones you get done at testing centres) and therefore are currently not an accepted test if you're travelling (some jurisdictions require travellers to be tested before arriving). The tests are also not free and retail between $20 and $50 for packs of two to five tests. 

If you use a rapid antigen test and receive a positive result, you must go to a testing site for a PCR test.

If you use a rapid antigen test and receive a negative result but have symptoms, you should also go to a testing site for a PCR test. This is again because the rapid tests are not as accurate, and may produce a negative result even if you have Covid-19.

 

When do I have to wear a mask?

Masks are required in all indoor settings except private residences from January 7. These settings include in all retail, hospitality, on public transport and in taxis and rideshare vehicles, on planes and at airports, at schools, in healthcare settings, and in aged care. Masks will also be required at all major events over 30,000 people (including outdoor events), except when seated.

You should also consider wearing a face mask if you cannot physically distance. 

What are the current exposure sites in Melbourne and Victoria?

Exposure sites are no longer being published online.

I tested positive. What do I do?

If you test positive to Covid-19 the Department of Health will contact you and advise you about how long you must remain in isolation. During this time you must stay at home, isolate yourself from others in your household and not have any visitors to the home. If you are unable to isolate from others in your household, accommodation can be provided by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

The only reasons you can leave home during isolation is for an emergency (including for to escape family violence) or to seek medical care. Financial support is available if you need it during this time. For more information, visit the Department of Health website.

Do I need to report a positive RAT test result?

Yes. As of January 7, anyone who returns a positive Rapid Antigen Test will be required to report their result to the state government. This will be possible via an online form or by phone – more details to come.

I'm a close contact to a positive case. What do I do?

If you live with the positive case and you are fully vaccinated, you must isolate for seven days. If you are not fully vaccinated, you must isolate for 14 days.

If you don't live with the positive case, you must get tested and isolate until you receive a negative test result. 

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

There is no limit on how many people can visit your house per day, though it is strongly recommended all visitors are fully vaccinated. 

How many people can gather outdoors?

There is no limit on how many people can gather in an outdoor place (e.g. at a park or beach), though it is strongly recommended all people are fully vaccinated. 

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.

Can I go to work or go to school?

Yes, so long as your workplace has a CovidSafe plan in place. Masks are still required in some workplaces, such as healthcare and hospitality. 

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?

Hospitality venues including bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafés can operate with a density limit of one person per two square metres density, so long as all guests and staff are fully vaccinated.

Are other shops open? What about retail?

Both Essential and non-essential retail remains open to all, regardless of vaccination status. 

Masks are required by both staff and customers in essential and non essential retail stores. 

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

Hairdressers and barbers are open but you must be fully vaccinated. Keep in mind demand is high, so be patient and kind to your stylist. 

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 open. Again, only if you're fully vaccinated. 

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

Big yes! Indoor cultural and entertainment venues such as the NGV and Melbourne Museum have reopened to fully vaccinated guests. These venues can operate at a capacity of one person per two square metres.

Can I go to the cinema?

Yes, if you're fully vaccinated. These venues can operate at a capacity of one person per two square metres.

Are gyms open? Are pools open?

Yes! All staff and guests must be fully vaccinated but there is no longer a capacity limit.

Can weddings and funerals happen? 

Weddings, funerals and religious services can occur without capacity limits or vaccination requirements if the ceremony is being held at a place of worship. 

If the ceremony is being held at a hospitality venue, all guests must be fully vaccinated as per attending any hospitality venue.

 

Can I travel around the state and stay overnight?

Yes! There are no travel restrictions anywhere in Victoria and you can stay in hotels, motels, Airbnbs, at campgrounds or at someone's home. It is strongly recommended that those staying in tourist accommodation are fully vaccinated. 

Can I travel interstate?

Yes! However, some states have restrictions on people entering their jurisdictions, and you may need to fill out a travel permit before departing. Read this explainer to find out more or check with the place you're travelling to for more information.

Can I travel into Victoria?

You can enter Victoria from other states, without a permit, so long as you haven't travelled overseas in the last 14 days.

When can I travel overseas?

International travel resumed in early November 2021. The ban on leaving without an exemption has lifted, but returning to Victoria may require you to enter home or hotel quarantine.

If you are not fully vaccinated you will be required to enter hotel quarantine. Visit the coronavirus website for more details.

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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