Information about the easing of restrictions on restaurants, cafes and other hospitality businesses that have limited dine-in arrangements.

Key points

  • Restaurants, cafes and other hospitality businesses may resume dine-in services with up to 20 seated patrons per enclosed space.
  • Cafes, pubs, bars, clubs and nightclubs can provide alcohol without a meal when seated.
  • Limits on patrons are in place to comply with the density requirements allowed within a single space – one customer per four square metres.
On this page

Summary of restrictions

Currently, restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets may operate under the following conditions:

  • The limit will remain at a limit of 20 patrons per enclosed space. 
  • Groups of up to 10 people can dine or drink together. They can be seated at the same table. 
  • Tables must continue to be spaced so that there is 1.5 metres between seated patrons at neighbouring tables
  • Alcohol can be served without a meal when seated. 
  • Bars, pubs, clubs, strip clubs and nightclubs are allowed to open for seated service only, with tables spaced 1.5 metres apart. 
  • Retail TABs and TAB facilities inside licensed premises may open.

More information and advice on how to safely open venues is available in the hospitality industry guidelines on the Business Victoria website.

What venues does this apply to?

This includes cafes, restaurants, bistros, pubs, bars, registered and licensed clubs, RSL and community club or hotel, and fast food outlets, cafeterias and canteens. Ordering at the counter for a seated meal is allowed, however taking orders at tables can reduce the number of patrons moving around.

Venues are allowed to open to serve alcohol without a meal as long as patrons are seated.

Restrictions on other spaces in these types of venues – including certain gaming areas and food courts – remain.

I have multiple spaces – can I have 20 patrons in each? 

Venues with multiple divided spaces can have up to 20 patrons in each space as long as they comply with density requirements and there are controls in place for shared spaces, e.g. foyers and bathrooms. Tables should be spaced 1.5 metres apart.

Groups of up to 10 people can dine or drink together. They can be seated at the same table. 

For more information, see the hospitality industry guidelines on the Business Victoria website.

What measures are being put in place to keep staff and customers safe?

Limits will be placed on entry to ensure there is only one person per four square metres and depending on the maximum number of patrons per space (whether indoor or outdoor).

To support contact tracing, food and drink facilities must request that each person who attends the premises for more than 15 minutes provide contact details. This includes staff. See Record keeping requirements on the information for business page.

Increased hygiene measures for staff and patrons are also required. Guidelines are available on Business Victoria’s website.

For more information about keeping staff and customers safe, see information for businesses page.

What actions do I need to take when dining out? 

Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Before you dine out: 

  • If you are feel unwell you should stay at home. If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, you should get tested. 

While you are out:

  • You will be requested to provide your contact details to the restaurant or venue to assist should contract tracing be required.
  • Wash your hands when you arrive at the restaurant or café before you sit down to eat.
  • Don’t share cutlery, plates or glasses. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. 
  • Pay via contactless methods like EFTPOS, if you can.
  • In shared spaces and when moving about the venue be aware of keeping at least 1.5 metres from other people.

When you get home:

  • Wash your hands 

Can I go to a venue for a drink only?

You can go to a venue for a drink only. Alcohol may be served without a meal if you are seated.

As always, we ask Victorians to use their judgement and drink responsibly

Guidelines are available on Business Victoria’s website.

What about RSLs, bowls clubs and other multi-purpose venues?

Restaurant areas in RSLs, bowls clubs and other venues are allowed to open under current directions, but restrictions may still apply to other areas in these venues.

What about cellar doors at wineries? What restrictions apply?

Victoria’s winery restaurants and cafes can resume dine-in service, so long as they are meeting the requirements outlined by the Deputy Chief Health Officer including patron limits, physical distancing, signage and hygiene.

Wineries with a restaurant or cafe are able to sell alcohol by the bottle and glass or sell a wine tasting experience without a meal if patrons are seated. In addition, they can sell full bottles from their cellar doors for consumption away from the premise.

As part of this sales process, where the liquor licence permits it, a cellar door may also choose to offer free samples of its produce to a seated customer to help the customer choose what to buy.

Why aren't food courts opening?

Restaurants in food courts may offer delivery and takeaway but cannot provide table service. Seating and tables at food courts represent a risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission because of the numbers of people using them.

Victorians are encouraged to minimise the time spent picking up takeaway and return home directly.

Can I order home-delivered food?

You can order food for home-delivery but you shouldn’t allow the delivery person to enter your home.  Always keep 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, you shouldn’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 if you can. This minimises the risk to any older or vulnerable people who share the common areas of the property.

When will nightclubs and bars open?

Nightclubs and bars can reopen from for up to 20 customers per space. Only seated service can be offered and groups are limited to a maximum of 10 customers. The four square metre rule will apply. Dance floors remain closed.

Can function centres open?

The restrictions that apply to function centres will depend on the type of facility and the type of event. For example a centre located in a restaurant may open in line with the restrictions that apply to this venue, including a limit of 20 patrons and the density requirement of one person per four square metres. If the function centre is hosting a wedding or a funeral, specific requirements apply in line with these events.

For more information, please visit Business Victoria’s website.

What constitutes an enclosed space?

An enclosed space is an area, room or premises that is substantially enclosed by a roof and walls.

If venues have multiple floors, courtyards or separate rooms these may count as enclosed spaces.

Guidelines are available on Business Victoria’s website.

How will you enforce this? Who will enforce it?

Directions will continue to be enforced through spot checks by Victoria Police and use of emergency powers by Authorised Officers to ensure compliance with the directions of the Deputy Chief Health Officer.

Industry bodies, Victoria Police, WorkSafe, and Authorised Officers will work together under both the Directions and existing legislative and regulatory frameworks to boost education and remediation, in addition to driving enforcement and compliance with the Directions.

Community members can raise concerns about compliance with directions through the Police Assistance Line (PAL) on 131 444. Workers can raise concerns via Worksafe on 03 9641 1555. And 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.

The Department of Health and Human Services and WorkSafe will co-ordinate intelligence and information on businesses that are non-compliant.

What are the penalties for noncompliance?

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 a direction by the Chief Health Officer to provide information.

Fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for businesses are possible through the court system.