Second Step

11.59pm on 13 September 2020

Second Step commences at 11.59pm on 13 September

What does this mean I can do?

If you live in regional Victoria, the Second Step easing of restrictions apply.

Under the current restrictions you can leave home: 

  • to shop for food and necessary goods or services
  • to provide care, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
  • to exercise or for outdoor recreation.
  • for work or education, if you can’t do it from home

You must wear a face covering when you leave home.

We all need to play our part to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Your questions answered

Who does this apply to, and when?

Second Step restrictions apply to all people living in regional Victoria. Regional Victoria is defined as any part of Victoria that isn’t metropolitan Melbourne. Visit Victoria's restriction levels page to view the restrictions map.

Is this compulsory, or voluntary?

It is compulsory. The Public Health Commander of Victoria has issued a lawful direction as part of the current State of Emergency.

Can I leave the house during the Second Steps restriction period?

If you live in regional Victoria you need to stay home. You can leave your home:

  • to shop for food and necessary goods or services
  • to provide care, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
  • to exercise, for outdoor recreation or to see friends and family outdoors
  • for work or education, if you can’t do it from home

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

Is there a limit on how far I can go if I am out for one of the four reasons?

There are no limits on the distance you travel for one of the four reasons.  You should not travel into metropolitan Melbourne unless it is for care, compassion, medical treatment or for permitted work.

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

No, you can go out any time of the day or night if it is for a permitted reason. For example, if you work night shift, or need to provide care to a relative or other person.

What restrictions apply if I need to travel to metropolitan Melbourne?

First Step restrictions apply in metropolitan Melbourne. This includes a curfew from 9pm to 5am. During the curfew the only reasons to leave home is permitted work or care and caregiving.

You can only travel to metropolitan Melbourne for permitted work, care and compassionate reason, or shopping for food and necessary goods and services. You can only shop in metropolitan Melbourne to buy necessary goods and services such as groceries. If you go to metropolitan Melbourne for shopping for food and necessary goods and services, then the curfew and the other restrictions that apply to people in metropolitan Melbourne will also apply to you.

You may also travel to metropolitan Melbourne in an emergency or as required by law.

Exercise and recreation is not a reason to travel into or out of metropolitan Melbourne.

What restrictions apply if I live in Melbourne?

For information on the restrictions that apply if you live in metropolitan Melbourne visit Restrictions: metropolitan Melbourne.

Can I travel within regional Victoria?

You can travel within regional Victoria if it is for a permitted reason to leave home. You should stay close to home and limit travel where you can.

These restrictions are in place to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) by reducing the number of people who are moving around and interacting with each other.

Other regional Victoria restrictions

Access medical services

Can I leave my home to access medical services?

Yes. If you are unwell it is important that you see a healthcare professional. You may leave your home for any of the following personal reasons:

  • to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • to visit a doctor or other health professional or care service, or to obtain medicine and medical supplies
  • to donate blood.

You may access these services anywhere in Victoria.

Can I leave my home to access allied health services?

Yes, allied health services can operate. If you visit a health service that is located in metropolitan Melbourne you should speak to your allied health professional in advance as not all services are currently permitted to operate under current restrictions. Allied health services include physiotherapy, optometry, audiology, speech pathology and occupational therapy. View information on permitted work premises.

Can water births take place in regional Victoria?

Maternity hospitals have been advised to suspend the use of water immersion for labour and birth for all women in Victoria. This decision has been made to protect our maternity and neonatal health care workers. PPE is not effective when wet and, consequently, the use of water immersion during this period presents an unacceptable risk. Epidural anaesthesia and other pain relief may be used in the usual manner.

Caregiving or compassionate reasons

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 health professional or care service, 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 for one of the four 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 out -of -home care
  • 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 facility or school
  • 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 you comply with the Care facilities direction
  • to visit someone in hospital, provided that visit conforms to the Hospital visitor direction
  • to attend a funeral or a wedding
  • to attend a cemetery or other memorial for a deceased person to pay respects
  • to visit your partner
  • 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.

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 get a babysitter to come to my home?

Yes. You can arrange in-home child minding.

Visitors to your home must wear a face covering. Keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others where possible.

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

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

Yes, but you should limit travel where you can.

If you need to leave home to attend to your animals, the restrictions travel with you and so you need to abide by the same rules as if you were at home. You should wash and sanitise your hands before and after handling animals and their equipment, bedding or food.

I am caring for an elderly parent/friend who lives alone. Can I visit them?

Yes. If you are preparing meals or providing other help for an elderly person you can visit them. Be aware 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, have 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 keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others. You should wash your hands often.

Looking after animals and pets

Can I take my animal to the vet?

Yes, you can take an animal to the vet. You should stay close to home where possible.

Check in with your veterinary clinic ahead of your appointment as clinics are operating with new rules to ensure they meet physical distancing requirements. You are also required to wear a face covering.

If you are unwell, or are in quarantine or isolation, contact your veterinary practitioner by phone for advice on what to do to ensure your animal gets the care it needs. You must not leave home.

Can I leave home to pick up a new pet?

Yes, you can leave home to pick up a new pet.

When you are picking up a pet you should keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others. Practice good hygiene, including washing your hands regularly. You are also required to wear a face covering. Once you have picked up your pet, you must return home straight afterwards.

Travelling interstate is not recommended. If the pet is located interstate, you will need to check the rules for travel from Victoria, including any permits required or quarantine requirements.

If you are unwell, or are in quarantine or isolation, you must not leave home.

If you are picking up a pet in metropolitan Melbourne, you must observe the curfew restrictions.

Can I look for my lost pet at the council animal shelter or pound?

If you have lost a pet, first call your council to check if it is in the pound. If your pet is there, follow their instructions to arrange for its return.

Visit the Business Victoria website for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector guidelines.

Can I take or surrender a pet to a council animal shelter or pound?

Yes, under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, council animal shelters and pounds must accept surrendered animals.

If you have found a lost pet or need to surrender a pet, first call your council and follow their instructions.

Can pet rescue, rehoming groups and community foster care networks continue to operate?

Yes, pet rescue, rehoming groups and community foster care networks can continue to operate with some limitations. Pets can still be transported to and from a place of care, including to a foster carer. Prospective home inspections or meet and greets are not allowed.    

Are pet breeder services allowed to deliver?

Yes. Pets can be delivered to their new home.

You must discuss the requirements for the new pet via video or phone prior to the delivery. Always maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people when delivering a pet and wear a face covering.

Accommodation including emergency accommodation

Do Second Step restrictions apply to caravan parks?

If you are a permanent resident of a caravan park in a regional area, the Second Step restrictions apply to you. You can stay in a caravan park if you are a resident, for emergency accommodation or for work purposes.

If you are an interstate tourist currently on a holiday, you must stay at the caravan park and observe the restrictions until you leave Victoria.

Do the Second Step restrictions apply to backpacker hostels?

If you are currently in a backpacker hostel, you should regard it as your home for the purposes of the restrictions. You should avoid spending time in communal areas of the hostel. You may leave the hostel to board a flight out of Australia.

Always keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and other people.

If I am in community accommodation, does this mean I can’t leave where I am?

You must observe the restrictions 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 Second Step restrictions.

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 Second Step restrictions, unless you have alternative accommodation to go to.

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 Second Step restrictions.

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.

Can I leave my home to attend court or in relation to a legal matter?

Yes. People are permitted to leave their home to attend court or for purposes relating to the administration of justice. This could include visiting a police station, court or law enforcement or justice system premises.

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 Second Step restrictions.

Residents who have been residing elsewhere temporarily, should not return to the supported accommodation facility if they have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID 19).

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 Second Step restrictions.

Short-term or respite accommodation can continue to be provided where required to meet your care and support needs during the Second Step restrictions.

There may be changes to the operation of the short-term or respite accommodation service to meet physical distancing requirements.

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 Second Step restrictions.

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 Second Step restrictions. Second Step restrictions also permit children in out of home care to leave home for contact visits with parents. 

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.

How will these rules be enforced?

Directions will continue to be enforced through spot checks by Victoria Police and use of emergency powers by the Department of Health and Human Services 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.

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 1800 136 089. 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. DHHS and WorkSafe will co-ordinate 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 public health directions
  • Refusing or failing to comply with a public health risk powers, including to provide information

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