Information on emergencies and coronavirus (COVID-19).

Key points 

  • You can leave your home during an emergency or if your home is unsafe.  
  • If a  fire, flood, storm, power outage or other emergency impacts your health or safety, or the health or safety of someone you live with, you can travel to a friend or family member’s house.  
  • If you require power for life support or a ventilator you can travel to a friend or family member’s house who has power.  
  • If you have been impacted by power outages and need relief support, contact your power distribution company or your local council.  
Your questions answered

Can I leave my home during an emergency?

Yes. You can leave your home in an emergency if your health and safety, or the health or safety of someone you live with is at risk. You can travel to a friend or family member’s house.

You can also leave your home to seek medical care.

When leaving your house remember to wear a face covering and keep 1.5 metres between you and other people.

Explain your situation if you are stopped by Victoria Police.

In a life-threatening emergency, call Triple Zero (000).

My power is out due to an emergency. Can I leave home to stay with friends or family?

If a power outage impacts your health or safety, or the health or safety of someone you live with, you can travel to a friend or family member's house. If you require power for life support or a ventilator you can travel to a friend or family member’s house who has power.

Check your electricity distributor's website to get an estimated time until power is restored.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) works with energy providers to check on customers who are dependent on power.

If you need to stay with friends or family, you must wear a face covering while in shared areas or when you leave the house. Wash your hands often and keep 1.5m between you and other people wherever possible.

My house is unsafe and I am self-isolating because I have coronavirus (COVID-19) or I am close contact. What should I do?

You can leave home if your safety is at risk. Contact DHHS for advice using the number you have been provided with beforehand, if safe to do so. If you have already left your home, contact DHHS as soon as possible.

When leaving your house remember to wear a face covering and keep 1.5 metres between you and other people.

My home has been impacted by an emergency, can I get a tradesperson for repairs?

Yes, a tradesperson can visit for urgent and essential repairs from a fire, flood, storm or other emergency.

The service provider must wear a face covering, unless an exception applies. Try to keep their time in your home to a minimum.

Where possible: 

  • remove yourself from the room where the service provider is working 
  • maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres between you and the service provider 
  • minimise physical contact by paying with a direct bank transfer or contactless payment.  

My family member's home has been impacted by an emergency. Can I go and help with repairs?

You can provide emergency repairs for family members or friends if they are unable to do it themselves. You do not need a permit to travel in this instance. 

Be mindful of the risk of transmitting coronavirus (COVID-19), and keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others, and wear a face covering. 

Am I allowed to leave home to buy tools or materials to fix damage to my house from an emergency? Can it be further than 5km?

Yes, you may leave home to buy tools or materials to fix storm damage.  

Your purchases will need to be "click and collect" and bought online or by phone order. You can travel to your closest hardware shop or provider, even if it is beyond 5km. 

My home has been impacted by an emergency. Am I allowed to stay in other accommodation until it is fixed? Am I allowed to stay with family?

Hotels, caravan parks and other accommodation services remain open to accommodate people who cannot stay in their own homes - this includes homes damaged by fire, floods, storms or other emergencies. 

You may stay with family members if staying in your own home is a risk to your safety but, due to the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) it is not recommended. 

What is considered an 'emergency repair' for a tradesperson to visit?

Emergency repairs are urgent repairs that must be done to: 

  • keep members of the household safe 
  • prevent members of the household from injury 
  • prevent property damage or damage to goods or to fix an essential service (for example fixing a roof or restoring an electricity connection). 

If a tradesperson visits your home, where possible: 

  • remove yourself from the room where the service provider is working 
  • ensure physical distancing by keeping 1.5 metres between you and the service provider 
  • minimise physical contact by paying with a direct bank transfer or contactless payment. 

I'm an emergency service worker or volunteer. Can I travel beyond the 5km to respond to an emergency?

Yes. Emergency services, including bushfire prevention and management and emergency relief services are essential services, so you can leave your home to do this work and can travel further than 5km from your home to do so.

You do not require a permit, but should carry your organisation’s  identification with you.

You must wear a face covering when you leave home and follow your organisation’s guidance around different face coverings or masks required for different emergency response types.

Even with a face covering on, you should keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others at all times. Ensure you wash your hands regularly with soap for at least 20 seconds, and cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.

Can I travel to the tip to deposit debris as part of cleaning-up after an emergency?

Check your local council website or call your local council to find out what arrangements are in place to support local residents in the clean-up effort; and to find out if local tips are open for the purposes of emergency clean-up following the storms.

To find your local council visit the Know Your Council website.

My dog escaped last night. Can I travel to look for it?

If you have lost a pet, first call your council or local shelter to check if they have found your pet and follow their instructions to arrange for its return.  

If your pet is not at your council or shelter, you may leave home to look for your pet, but you should minimise the time spent away from home. You must wear a face covering outside your vehicle and keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others at all times.

Can I travel to check if my business has been damaged?

You may travel to your business to check if it is damaged and if any emergency repair work is required.

You must wear a face covering when you leave home, unless a legal exception applies. Keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others, at all times.

I am not a permitted worker, but can no longer work at home due to storm damage or power outages. Can I travel to work?

No. Only permitted workers may attend work onsite. You may travel to work to collect essential equipment or supplies if they are necessary for working from home and have been damaged by a fire, flood, storm or other emergency.