The Victorian Government is directing all Victorians to stay at home to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you can stay home, you must stay home.
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Background

The Victorian Government is directing all Victorians to stay at home to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Every Victorian must play their part. By staying at home and limiting contact with other people, we can protect the elderly, the vulnerable, the at-risk, and Victoria’s healthcare workers.

With all of these situations and scenarios, we’re urging Victorians to ask themselves: ‘is what I’m doing necessary?’

The advice is simple: stay home.

Visit the Directions issued by the Chief Health Officer page to view the Stay at home directions (No 4).

Who does this apply to, and when?

Everyone in Victoria. These additional directions are intended to expand and clarify the restrictions applying to all Victorians.

Is this compulsory, or voluntary?

It is compulsory. The 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.

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

You may only leave your home during this period to:

  • shop for food and other necessary goods and services
  • 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
  • attend work or education where you can’t do those things from home
  • exercise.

You may also leave your home in an emergency or if required by law.

What do the Stay at Home directions mean for Ramadan and Eid?

This Ramadan and Eid, you are asked to stay home to protect our health system and save lives. Although Ramadan is a festive time where families come together and meals are shared, this year is different. By staying home and celebrating only within your household, you are playing your part in keeping your family and our state safe. Find alternative ways to connect with and support your community including group video calls, email, phone, social media and hand written letters.

For advice in languages other than English go to the our Translated Resources page.

Can I leave my house to go to work?

If your work cannot be performed from home, you can still go to work. When at work, you should ensure appropriate physical distancing and hygiene measures by keeping at least 1.5 metres between you and others.

Can I have visitors in my home?

Social visits from friends and family increase the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19). Every interaction with another person carries the risk of transmission and must be avoided.

A visitor can enter your home when they are providing you with care and support when you are unwell, disabled, elderly or pregnant. They can also enter your home if you are providing care for them.

Can anyone else enter my home?

People who don’t live with you should only enter your home if they are:

  • a tradesperson visiting to fix a critical fault in your home, such as plumbing, wi-fi or electrical
  • a person coming in to do child-minding or a child you are providing care to
  • a person coming in to provide services or care (for example, cooking or cleaning) or medical attention to a person in your home who is elderly, unwell, disabled or pregnant
  • medical or emergency services staff coming to your home to render assistance.

Are there restrictions on what time I can go shopping?

No. You can shop at whatever time suits you, however many retailers are changing their opening hours, so check online or by phone before you leave home to ensure they are open. Try to go shopping outside of busy hours to avoid crowds. All retailers must ensure customers can maintain physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres between people at all times, and must limit the number of people on their premises using the four square metre rule.

What is the ‘four square metre’ rule?

As a way to limit the number of people who may gather in a premises at one time, retailers must allow entry to no more than one person for every four square metres of available floor space in their shop.  For example, if a shop has a total floorspace of 40 square metres, then no more than 10 people (including staff) can be in that premises at the same time.

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, or you can’t leave them at home, then you can go to the supermarket or shopping centre together, observing physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between you and others.

Can I still go to big shopping centres?

Only for the purpose of shopping for necessary goods and services at supermarkets, pharmacies and other service providers. Many retail stores and all public attractions are now closed at major shopping centres. If you do go to the shopping centre, you should spend as little time there as possible.

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 home to care for animals located on property other than my place of residence?

Where you are unable to make alternative arrangements for care, you may leave home to care for an animal that you have the personal responsibility for, including to provide proper food, drink and shelter. You may also visit the animal(s) to obtain food or drink from them.

If you are paid to care for animals located on property other than your place of residence, or the property is a commercial property from which you derive income, it is work, and you can still go to work.

Can I leave home to undertake essential maintenance of a property other than my place of residence?

You may leave your home to undertake essential property maintenance at an off-site property if you can identify a legal obligation that requires you to do so.

If you are paid to undertake maintenance on a property other than your place of residence, or the property is a commercial property from which you derive income, it is work, and you can still go to work.

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.

What are the ‘care 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
  • to provide child-minding services at someone’s home because that person needs to leave the house for one of the permitted reasons, or work or study at home
  • if you are the parent or guardian of a child and you wish to visit the child because they are in the care of another person or organisation, or you have obligations in relation to the care and support of the child
  • to provide childcare or early childhood education or school to a child who lives in the care of the State or family or family violence service
  • if you have carer responsibilities, for example, picking up or dropping off children in a foster care or respite care arrangement
  • to drop off or pick up a child at personal or private 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 –because of their old age, infirmity, disability, sickness or chronic health condition
  • they are pregnant or have health or mental health concerns
  • to visit someone in an aged care facility, disability accommodation or other residential care facility, provided your visit conforms to the Care facilities direction
  • to visit someone in hospital, provided that visit conforms to the Hospital Visitor direction
  • 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, noting that the maximum permitted number of people is five
  • if there is family violence, or violence by another person in the home, and you are at risk. If you are stopped by police, tell them you are feeling unsafe at home and they will help you.  Safe accommodation and support for family violence is available. Call safe steps on 1800 015 188 or email safesteps@safesteps.org.au for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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

No. There are no limits on leaving your home if you need to at particular times of the day or night.

For example, if you work night shift, or need to provide care to a relative or other person, you can do so as needed.

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, try to minimise the time spent in those premises, always observe physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others, and return home directly. Consider arranging home delivery as an alternative.

Can I order home-delivered food?

Yes. Remember some basics to minimise the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) when having food delivered.

Don’t allow the delivery person to enter your home, and always maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others, 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 other collection point?

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 check online or phone to confirm what hours it is open, and travel directly there and home again. Always observe physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Can I get a baby-sitter to come to my home?

Yes. You can arrange in-home child minding if you need to leave home for a permitted purpose, as outlined above.

As always. visitors to your home should observe appropriate physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres from other people.

I live in an apartment, can my neighbour down the corridor come and visit?

No. You should not have visitors to your home, no matter how close they live.

Can I visit my sick friend or relative in hospital?

Yes, but you must follow the rules for hospital visits. Depending on the circumstances, visits for the purpose of providing care and support can be for no longer than 2 hours, and there can be no more than two people per visit. The full details can be found in the Hospital visitors directions.

Can I visit my elderly parent in their nursing home?

Yes, but you must follow the rules for visiting an aged care facility. Depending on the circumstances, visits for the purpose of providing care and support can be for no longer than 2 hours, and there can be no more than two people per visit. The full details can be found in the Aged care facilities directions.

I had arranged to move to a new house – 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. However, if you are preparing meals or providing other help for an elderly person, be mindful of the risks of transmitting coronavirus (COVID-19). Older people are especially vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19). 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 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. You must maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others at all times.

Can I drive my car?

Yes, but you should stay at home unless it is for one of the permitted purposes for leaving home. Your children, if learning to drive, are also only permitted to drive with you for one of the permitted purposes of leaving home.

Can I have passengers in my car?

Carrying passengers in your car should be avoided, unless they live in your household. Cars represent an enclosed space where there may be a heightened risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) and many other illnesses, such as influenza. Travelling as a passenger in a car, or carrying multiple passengers is strongly discouraged.

Can I get out of the house and just go for a drive?

No. Non-essential car trips are irresponsible. In the event of an accident or breakdown, you will be exposing emergency services and responders to an unnecessary risk of coronavirus (COVID-19). Please, stay home.

Can I use taxis and ride-shares?

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

Can I organise private transport for my employees to get to work?

Yes. Charter buses or other forms of private transport can be used to get to work.

Will public transport still operate?

Yes. Public transport services are still available for people who need to work or attend education, or one of the other permitted purposes. Ensure physical distancing at stations, stops and on buses, trams and trains by keeping at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others at all times. If you travel on a busy route, consider travelling outside of peak times to minimise risk. No travel should be undertaken for any other purposes. Public transport service desks will not accept cash for payment to purchase or top up your Myki. You must either pay online, on the phone or use contactless payment methods.

Can I meet a friend for coffee?

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 a better way to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

As with all activities – we’re asking Victorians to consider: is what I’m doing necessary?

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 (COVID-19), the only wedding you may hold is a small private one with the minimum number of people required to make it legal, which is five. When the risk of transmitting coronavirus (COVID-19) is over, you can have a special celebration.

Can I leave home to attend a funeral?

Yes, but no more than ten mourners are allowed at any one funeral service (not including the celebrant or funeral staff). If you are unsure whether there is likely to be more than the permitted number of mourners 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 visit a cemetery outside of attending a funeral?

You are encouraged to delay visiting a cemetery. To stop the spread of coronavirus everyone is being asked to stay at home. 

Alternative ways to remember your loved ones while staying at home include lighting a candle or holding a virtual remembrance with family and friends.  

If you do visit loved ones at the cemetery, please ensure that no more than your immediate household or two people (including you) are gathered. Physical distance has to be maintained by staying at least 1.5 metres apart. 

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

Yes, if it is necessary classes are conducted on-site, but physical distancing must be applied wherever you are by keeping at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others at all times. 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 outdoor exercise on my own?

Yes, you can leave your home to exercise alone, provided it’s possible to maintain physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres from others at all times. This includes, walking, running, bike riding or other types of exercise, such as yoga in a park.

While it may be necessary to leave your immediate neighbourhood to undertake exercise, we’re asking Victorians – please use common sense and don’t travel any further than you have to.

Can I exercise with others?

You can exercise outdoors with any 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 by keeping at least 1.5 metres between you and other people when you are exercising.

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 by keeping at least 1.5 metres between you and the other person.

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 – keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people at all times.

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 by keeping at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people 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 swim if I go to the beach?

All lifesaving clubs are now closed, and Life Saving Victoria (LSV) beach patrols have ceased.

Can I drop my children at childcare – or to someone’s house to have them minded?

Yes. If you need to leave home for one of the permitted reasons, you can use childcare services, or take them to the house of a friend or family member so they can be cared for.

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 from home, it should be. You should also maintain appropriate physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people at all times and maintain sanitisation measures such as regularly washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.

Can I leave my house to take a driving lesson with an instructor?

If you are taking driving lessons as part of necessary training associated with your job, such as learning to drive a heavy truck or bus, you can continue to attend those lessons. Other learner drivers may only drive with a parent or other licensed driver in their household for one of the permitted reasons to leave home.

Can I travel interstate?

The Department of Health has advised against non-essential domestic travel. There have been no restrictions placed around exit or entry to Victoria at this stage but the situation is changing rapidly so please make sure you continue check the latest advice.   

If you are travelling through Victoria to another Australian state please make sure to check with their advice separately, as requirements to isolate may differ. 

You do not need to self-quarantine if you are returning to Victoria from interstate unless you are one of the following groups:

  • international travellers  
  • those who have come into contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) 
  • people with a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you are one of these groups you must follow quarantine requirements
 

If I am booked on a flight can I leave home to go to the airport?

Yes, but people 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. 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 confirm quarantine restrictions at your destination. Note recreational overseas travel for Australians is currently not permitted.

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

Can’t we go and stay at our usual caravan park this Easter?

No. Caravan parks and camping grounds are closed for recreational visitors.

Can we go out in our boat to water-ski or fish?

No. This is not one of the permitted reasons to be out.

Does the Stay at Home direction 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 by keeping at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people at all times.

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 an alternative option. Once you move from temporary accommodation, this becomes your new normal place of residence for the purposes of the Stay at Home direction.

Can I leave my home if I fear for my safety or the safety of my children due to a family violence situation?

Yes.

If you or your children are escaping harm or are at risk of harm from family violence, you can leave your home to seek support and assistance. If you are stopped by police, tell them you are feeling unsafe at home and they will help you.

Family violence frontline services, including crisis accommodation, continue to operate to support women, children and families during the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.

There are options for accessing safe housing if you need to leave a violent situation or you are not safe in your home.

Call safe steps on 1800 015 188 or email safesteps@safesteps.org.au for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For more info visit family violence support during coronavirus

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 accommodation to go to.

Can I leave my home to attend court to apply for a family violence intervention order?

Yes.

People are permitted to leave their home to attend court to seek protection from family violence.

All Magistrates’ Courts are open and are continuing to hear family violence matters, including Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) applications.

You can apply for an FVIO online.

You can also phone the Court to discuss your options. You can find your local court here.

FVIO applications can still be made in person at the Court if that is the safest option. For more info visit the Magistrates’ Court frequently asked questions.

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.  

Residents who have been residing elsewhere temporarily, should not return to the supported accommodation facility if they have the clinical symptoms of COVID 19, which include any new fever, chills or breathing problems, specifically cough, sore throat or shortness of breath.  These clinical symptoms are the clinical criteria for testing and residents should be tested for COVID-19 if they have these symptoms.

Residents who have been notified by the Department that they are a close contact of a confirmed case should not return anytime during their 14 days quarantine period.

If you are in short term or respite accommodation, you can return to your usual place of residence or other safe accommodation option when you are able to do so. Once you move from short term or respite accommodation, this becomes your normal place of residence for the purposes of the Stay at Home direction.  Short term or respite accommodation can continue to be provided where required to meet your care and support needs during the period of the Stay at home direction. 

The same requirements above in regard to not having the clinical symptoms for COVID-19 apply for people accessing short-term or respite accommodation.

There may be changes to the operation of the short term or respite accommodation service to meet physical distancing requirements. You must observe the Stay at Home direction wherever you are living.   

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. 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.

Are there any other special reasons that allow me to leave my home?

You can leave your home in an emergency, or if you are required by law to attend either a police station, court or law enforcement or justice system premises.

What if was planning to move overseas or interstate – can I still go?

Yes. You can move home within Australia (subject to obtaining the relevant permits to enter another state).

Australians cannot currently travel overseas for recreational purposes. Stay up-to-date on the latest advice on overseas travel restrictions by visiting the SmartTraveller website.

What are the physical distancing requirements?

You should always maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and 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 $20,000, or up to $100,000 in the case of companies and other bodies.

Where can I get more information? 

For updates, see our Coronavirus page.

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.