Information on the restrictions for businesses currently in place in metropolitan Melbourne.

Key points

  • Under current restrictions, workplaces in metropolitan Melbourne are closed unless the workplace is part of a permitted industry.
  • From 11:59pm on Wednesday 16 September Third Step restrictions apply throughout regional Victoria.
  • From 11:59pm on Sunday 27 September Second Step restrictions apply in metropolitan Melbourne.
  • Businesses in metropolitan Melbourne must stay closed unless they are part of a permitted industry. 
  • All Victorians are required to work from home where possible.
  • Businesses still operating in Victoria must have developed and implemented a COVIDSafe Plan to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading within the workplace (unless they have no employees onsite). Some businesses are required to have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.
Your questions answered

What do the restrictions mean for businesses in metropolitan Melbourne?

  • Under current restrictions, workplaces in metropolitan Melbourne are closed unless the workplace is part of a permitted industry. For more information visit the permitted industries page.
  • All Victorians are required to work from home where possible. By staying at home, and having your staff stay at home, you are making an important contribution to slowing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). 
  • Businesses that are still permitted to operate in Victoria must have developed and implemented a COVIDSafe Planto reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading within the workplace (unless they have no employees on-site). 
  • Supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks, newsagencies, post offices – plus everyone involved in our frontline response – will continue to operate. Retail stores can continue to operate contactless ‘click and collect’ and delivery services.

Businesses permitted to operate

Businesses which are permitted to operate in metropolitan Melbourne must:

  • comply with the Permitted Worker Permit Scheme.
  • take reasonable steps to ensure workers are wearing face masks and the appropriate level of PPE.
  • meet record keeping requirements by recording contact details for all workers and visitors to the premises who attend for longer than 15 minutes (unless exempt from this requirement).
  • comply with the density quotient (four square metre rule) in shared spaces (such as lunchrooms) and other publicly accessible areas.
  • adhere to signage and cleaning requirements.
  • reduce work across multiple sites. 
  • make sure workers who are unwell do not attend work. 
  • have a COVIDSafe Plan in place which meets the requirements listed above.
  • Employees also carry an obligation to notify the workplace as soon as practically possible when they have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) and attended the workplace while infectious.

What businesses can stay open and which need to close?

A summary of the restrictions as they apply to each industry can be viewed at the permitted industries page

Do the permitted workplaces restrictions apply across Victoria or only in metropolitan Melbourne?

Permitted workplaces apply to businesses in metropolitan Melbourne. Permitted workplaces restrictions also apply to some high-risk industries such as abattoirs and meat and seafood processing businesses that also operate in regional Victoria. Third Step restrictions apply to regional Victoria.

My business is allowed to continue to operate – how do I get permits for my staff?

Employees working in permitted industries who cannot work from home will be required to carry a ‘Permitted Worker Permit’ when travelling to and from work. 

More information on how to apply for a worker permit can be found here

I own a business in regional Victoria – do I need a COVIDSafe Plan?

Yes, businesses in regional Victoria with employees working on-site are also required to develop COVIDSafe Plans.

My business is required to close. Do I need to develop a COVIDSafe Plan?

Businesses in metropolitan Melbourne that are closed under current restrictions are not currently required to have a COVIDSafe Plan in place, but owners can use the templates to help create a plan to return to work safely when restrictions are changed.

We deliver essential services in a permitted industry that involve our employees visiting multiple sites throughout the week. Under current restrictions, is there a limit to the number of client sites we can visit?

In order to limit the risk, an employer must not require or permit a worker to perform work at more than one premises of the employer, where practical. Where this is not reasonably practical (e.g. social care workers), the employer must be able to demonstrate that they have systems and processes in place to minimise the number of workers working across multiple sites. If working for more than one employer, the employee must also provide written details of the other work premises they are attending to their employers to assist with contract tracing. In the construction industry, specialist contractors can visit up to five sites per week.

Can a business that is not listed as a permitted workplace (such as accountancy, legal or insurance services) operate onsite if it is delivering services necessary to the operations of a permitted workplace?

No, you cannot work onsite. You can collect essential equipment or supplies if they are necessary for working from home. A worker may also access the premises for carrying out emergency maintenance of necessary infrastructure, such as IT servers. 

Only the worker required for the activity can attend and they must have a valid permit for the time required to complete the task. They cannot stay and work from the workplace. Physical mail should no longer be sent or received. If it is unavoidable, it should be diverted to workers’ homes or to a post office box. 

For example, a business may have a document logistics room that opens mail and scans documents directly related to their products or services. Workers cannot work in the mailroom but can collect the equipment to allow them to continue working from home. 

Is ongoing maintenance permitted to continue at commercial properties?

Yes. Essential maintenance for the safety and upkeep of commercial properties is permitted. 

Does the requirement to work from home apply to CBD workplaces that provide administrative support for manufacturing operations that are operating industries? 

Yes. All jobs that can be done from home must be done from home. 

I’m a manufacturer located in metropolitan Melbourne that makes a product that I supply to another company who is on the permitted industry list – can I still operate? 

Yes. Businesses can open onsite to ensure the necessary production, supply, manufacturing, repair, maintenance, cleaning, security, wholesale, distribution, transportation or sale of equipment, goods or services required by businesses on the permitted industry list. Businesses cannot operate onsite for any other purpose. 

Are parking inspectors allowed to operate under current restrictions? 

Councils are permitted to enforce parking restrictions, including Green Parking Zones,  to ensure public safety and access.

Parking inspectors must ensure that they work outdoors, maintain physical distance (1.5 metres), wear a face mask, practice good hygiene and avoid interactions in close spaces.

Can valuers as part of legal proceedings such as bankruptcies and divorce cases, continue to enter homes to value assets? 

Valuations and assessments should be completed virtually. 

Real estate services related to property settlement or commencement/end-of-lease are permitted – subject to requirements such as wearing a face mask, disinfecting surfaces and limiting the service to 15 minutes at a pre-arranged time with no more than one agent. Private residential property and display home inspections may operate in a ‘contactless’ way according to protocols and must pre-arranged at a set time and will have limitations on duration and attendees.

Can OHS staff attend the office to process payments/do onsite checks? 

Union/peak body/employer organisation officials attending a worksite as permitted by law or for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) advice is permitted. However, they may not attend the office unnecessarily for administration tasks such as the processing of payments. It is recommended that they interact with workers outside, where possible, and always maintain at least 1.5 metres of physical distance. 

Staff involved in OHS functions may attend the office where necessary as part of a COVID-19 health response.

It isn’t clear if my business needs to close – is there someone I can talk to?

If you’re not sure if your business can continue to operate during current restrictions, the dedicated Industry Coordination Centre within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions will consider your case.

The roadmap that outlines the steps Victoria is taking to reopen for industries and sectors in regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne provides information on when industries and sectors are expected to be able to open.

For more information visit Business Victoria or call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

Is there financial support available to businesses?

A range of assistance is available from the Australian and Victorian governments and other entities to support businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Business Victoria’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support and financial assistance finder will ask you a series of questions to help you find the assistance available to you based on your circumstances.

Use the finder to find out what you might be eligible for:

Industry specific advice

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