Second Step

11.59pm on 27 September 2020

Second Step commences at 11.59pm on 27 September

What does this mean I can do?

In metropolitan Melbourne: 

  • Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies of up to five people, plus one faith leader are allowed. The 25km limit applies. 
  • These should occur near the place of worship, with only one group permitted at a time. No sharing of food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels, ceremonial and consecrated items or other equipment by participants is allowed. You are encouraged to use online services instead, where feasible, to engage with others in worship. 
  • Funerals held in metropolitan Melbourne are restricted to 10 mourners (not including infants under 12 months of age) plus people required to conduct the funeral. The 25km travel limit does not apply and you can travel to a funeral outside of metropolitan Melbourne. Restrictions apply based on the location of the funeral. You should not attend a funeral if you are feeling unwell. 
  • Weddings held in metropolitan Melbourne can occur outside with up to five people. This includes the couple and two witnesses. The celebrant is not counted in the five-person limit. A person’s backyard at their residence is not considered ‘outside’, instead the wedding needs to be in a public place. 
  • However, weddings held in a person’s residence can occur if one or both of the two people getting married are at the end of life.  In this situation the wedding can occur with a maximum of two witnesses and one other guest. These people could include members of the household where the wedding is occurring, or other guests if there are less than three additional people in the household who are eligible to witness weddings.     

You must wear a face mask whenever you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. You should maintain your physical distance of 1.5 metres from others. 

Your questions answered

Summary of restrictions

If you live in metropolitan Melbourne: 

  • You cannot travel to a wedding outside of metropolitan Melbourne. 
  • You cannot book or attend a wedding outside metropolitan Melbourne, even if it has previously been booked. 
  • Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies are allowed for up to five people plus one faith leader. The location of the gathering must be near to the place of worship, with only one group permitted at a time. No sharing of food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels, ceremonial and consecrated items or other equipment by participants is allowed. You can only travel to a religious gathering that is held within 25km of your home. 
  • Places of religion and worship must close for both religious ceremonies and private worship, but those who are necessary to broadcast a service can attend for these purposes. This is limited to up to five people. 
  • Funerals held in metropolitan Melbourne will be limited to 10 mourners plus those required to conduct the funeral (infants under the age of 12 months not included in limit). You can travel to a funeral outside of metropolitan Melbourne, however the restrictions travel with you, so you must not engage in activities that are not permitted in metropolitan Melbourne while in regional Victoria. 
  • You should maintain your distance of 1.5 metres from others and you must wear a face mask, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 
  • If you are travelling from regional Victoria to metropolitan Melbourne, you need to follow the Second Step restrictions while in metropolitan Melbourne. 

Are places of worship open?

All places of worship of all denominations in metropolitan Melbourne are closed for indoor private worship or religious ceremonies. Religious gatherings and ceremonies can occur outside, near to a place of worship, and with up to five people plus one faith leader. You can only travel to a religious gathering that is held within 25km of your home. 

Ceremonies and services can still be recorded or broadcast live from the place of worship for viewing online. Only the people who are needed to conduct the ceremony and record and broadcast services may be on-site, up to a maximum of five people. A face mask must be worn at all times unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Stay 1.5 metres away from anyone you don’t live with. 

Places of worship may be opened for the purposes of conducting permitted funerals, but there are strict limits on the number of people who can attend. 

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services such as food banks, help for the homeless or essential support groups (such as those related to alcohol and drugs, family violence and parenting). Support groups can meet with no more than 10 people – the number of permitted people is calculated by the density quotient of one person per four square metres of floor space. A face mask must be worn at all times unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Stay 1.5 metres away from anyone you don’t live with.

Can religious groups meet?

Religious gatherings and ceremonies can occur outside, near to a place of worship, and with up to five people plus one faith leader. You can only travel to a religious gathering that is held within 25km of your home. 

Religious gatherings can occur online, including video conferencing, if feasible. 

A maximum of five people can attend a place of worship to conduct a religious ceremony for the purposes of broadcasting or livestreaming a ceremony. 

Only essential support services, such as drug and alcohol or family violence support groups, can gather in places of worship, with no more than 10 people – the number of permitted people is calculated by the density quotient of one person per four square metres of floor space. A face mask must be worn at all times unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Stay 1.5 metres away from anyone you don’t live with.

Places of worship are required to adhere to the Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus (COVID-19) cleaning, density, signage and record keeping requirements. Other obligations may also apply, including obligations imposed under the Workplace Directions.

I live in metropolitan Melbourne. Can I attend a funeral?

Yes, but funerals held in metropolitan Melbourne are limited to 10 mourners plus those required to conduct the funeral. Babies under 12 months of age are not counted in the 10-person limit. 

A funeral held in a private residence in metropolitan Melbourne is limited to the members of the household, plus the people required to conduct the ceremony. Funerals held in a person’s residence cannot have a person nominated under the ‘single social bubble’ attend. 

You can travel to a funeral outside of metropolitan Melbourne, where up to 20 mourners can attend a funeral. Babies under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral are not included in this limit. If you are travelling from regional Victoria to metropolitan Melbourne, you need to follow the Second Step restrictions while in metropolitan Melbourne. 

You must wear a face mask, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Even with a face mask, you should keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others. 

You should not attend a funeral if you are feeling unwell.

Can a faith leader visit someone at home for their last rites?

Faith leaders may visit someone in their home on request to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) and provide care and support to a person who is at the end of their life. 

It is critical measures like face masks and physical distancing are observed, and that the travel to the person’s home and the visit is limited to what is reasonably required and necessary (e.g. only required attendees should visit and just for the service). 

Such services can also be provided using video or broadcasting, if it is appropriate within that religious tradition. 

Can last rites be provided in hospitals or aged care facilities?

Faith leaders may visit someone in a hospital or care facility to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) to those who are at the end of their life, or if it would support a patient or resident with their emotional or mental wellbeing, in line with other visiting restrictions and if this support cannot be provided remotely. 

It is important to note that strict limits on visitors apply in these circumstances. It is critical that measures like face masks, hand hygiene, and physical distancing are observed and these visits are limited to what is reasonably required and necessary (e.g. a visit has been requested by a patient). Such services can also be provided using video or broadcasting, depending on religious tradition. 

Can I hold a wake?

Wakes are a separate event to funerals. Wakes cannot be held until the Last Step of the roadmap for reopening.

Outdoor public gatherings can occur with household members or up to ten people (including yourself) from a maximum of two households. You must wear a face mask, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Even with a face mask, you should keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others. 

Can I get married?

You can get married. Only five people can attend your wedding – you and your partner, two witnesses and one other guest – plus the celebrant, and it must be outdoors. A person’s backyard at their residence is not considered 'outdoors’– instead the wedding needs to be a public place. 

Weddings held in a person’s home can occur: 

  • if one or both of the two people getting married are at the end of life and 
  • with a maximum of two witnesses and one other guest. These people could include members of the household where the wedding is occurring, or other guests if there are less than three additional people in the household who are eligible to witness weddings.   

Weddings do not need to occur close to a place of worship. You can travel further than 25km to get married, but you cannot travel into regional Victoria. 

Can I travel to regional Victoria to get married?

No. People who live in metropolitan Melbourne cannot book or hold a wedding in regional Victoria, even if it has previously been booked. 

Can I attend a wedding?

Only if you are one of the two people being married, the celebrant, one of the two witnesses or the one other person allowed to attend (that is, a maximum of five people can attend the ceremony, plus the celebrant). You can travel further than 25km to attend a wedding, but you cannot travel into regional Victoria.  

Is a wedding photographer included in the limit on guests at a wedding?  

A photographer is in addition to the wedding gathering limits of five. 

Photographers that are a sole operator are permitted to take outdoor photography – including at a wedding. They must have an ABN and must be undertaking paid photography services to attend a wedding during the restricted period.  

When taking photos, a photographer must always stay 1.5m away from others and continue to wear a mask.  

Do a couple getting married need to wear face masks? 

The couple getting married don’t need to wear a face mask during the process of getting married. Photos taken of the couple during the ceremony can be mask free.  

Before or after the ceremony you need to wear a face mask.  

When taking photos, you should stay 1.5m away from others 

Can I attend a prayer group?

Outdoor religious gatherings are allowed for up to five people plus one faith leader and near the place of worship.

You can hold a prayer group online or use video conferencing, if feasible.

Can I visit a cemetery outside of attending a funeral?

Yes, you can visit a cemetery in metropolitan Melbourne with your household or up to ten people (including yourself) from two households. You must wear a face mask, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Even with a face mask, you should keep 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others. 

You cannot travel more than 25km from your home to visit a cemetery unless the visit to the deceased is to remember a key milestone. 

How is this enforced?

Directions continue to be enforced through spot checks by Victoria Police and use of emergency powers by DHHS Authorised Officers to ensure compliance with the Public Health Directions.

Industry bodies, Victoria Police, WorkSafe, and Authorised Officers will work together to inform Victorians about the directions, as well as undertake enforcement and compliance activities as needed.

Members of the public can raise concerns about venues through the Police Assistance Line (PAL) on 131 444.  Workers can raise concerns via WorkSafe on 03 9641 1555. Employers can talk to their industry regulator or peak body for specific industry related support.

A Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Joint Intelligence Unit has been established to support comprehensive preparedness and responses to outbreaks and identify and manage outbreak risks.

DHHS and WorkSafe is co-ordinating intelligence and information on businesses that are non-compliant.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Victoria Police can issue on the spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses for: 

  • refusing or failing to comply with the emergency directions
  • refusing or failing to comply with a public health risk power direction   
  • refusing or failing to comply with the Public Health Directions to provide information.

Victoria Police can issue on the spot fines of up to $4,957 for people who live in metropolitan Melbourne who are found to be in regional Victoria without a lawful reason. This fine will also be issued if you gather outdoors in groups larger than ten people, you have visitors to your home without a lawful reason, or you visit someone in their home without a lawful reason. 

Fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for businesses are possible through the court system. Individuals who do not wear a face mask and do not have a lawful reason can be fined $200.