Information to help you stay safe and adhere to the rules while socialising with friends, family and loved ones.

Key points

Currently, you are able to:

  • Have up to 5 visitors in your home at any one time, in addition to the normal residents of a household.
  • Organise a public gatherings of up to 10 people in a public place. 

While socialising with friends, family and loved ones, there are actions you can take to keep everyone safe. It’s up to all of us to make this work. 

On this page

Why we are making this change

The decision to reduce the number of people who can attend public and private gatherings is based on data showing an increase in the number of household contacts spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) among extended family groups.

Homes are different to public settings in that people may be less likely to keep at least 1.5 metres from each other, while other safeguards like regular cleaning are not in place.

The evidence confirms that we need to continue physical distancing practices and use common sense throughout the course of the pandemic as we adjust restrictions.  

How many visitors can I have to my house?

Under current arrangements, you can have up to 5 visitors, in addition to the normal residents of the household. Babies and children are counted in the total person limit. Your home includes indoor and outdoor areas of the house.

If you are visiting someone's home, you should ensure appropriate physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres from people you don’t live with, wash your hands often and cough or sneeze into your elbow or tissue. If you or your partner, family or housemates are feeling unwell you should not visit anyone or have visitors at your home.

Victorians are being asked to use common sense when it comes to visiting friends and family, especially those who are more vulnerable. That means seeing only those you need to – if you need to.

How can I keep my friends, family and loved ones safe when I visit them? 

You should:

  • Consider carefully before visiting people who are at higher risk of getting very sick, particularly the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions - you might want to delay your visit or connect with them in other ways including video conferencing, phone calls, text message or social media.
  • Ensure appropriate physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between you and others. There should be no handshakes and no hugs.
  • Wash your hands when you arrive at someone’s home, and regularly while you visit. Use a tissue or your elbow to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Keep your friends, family and loved ones safe by staying home if you feel unwell. Get tested if you have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).  
  • Do not share food or drinks.

Read further information on keeping yourself and others healthy

Victorians are being asked to be considerate and use common sense when it comes to having friends and family visit - especially those who are more vulnerable. That means seeing only those you need to – if you need to.

What are the rules around gatherings in public places?    

Currently, you can organise a public gathering of no more than 10 people. The 10 person limit includes members of your household, however if more than 10 people ordinarily live together they can meet in a public place as a household.

Does my household count towards the limits on gatherings?

Currently, you can have only 5 visitors in your home. That means regardless of the size of your family, you can only have another 5 visitors in your home.

Can I have more than one set of visitors to my house a day?

You can have more than one set of visitors to your house in a day, but Victorians are being asked to be considerate and use common sense when it comes to having friends and family visit - especially those who are more vulnerable. 

That means only seeing those you need to – if you need to.

Can anyone else visit my home?

Visitors to your home can include people undertaking repairs or providing services such as cleaning. People who are working are not counted in the gathering limit.

You need to ensure that you comply with the restrictions on gatherings within your home at any one time. You should ensure you keep at least 1.5 metres between you and others, wash your hands often and cough or sneeze into your elbow or tissue.

My partner and I live separately from one another. Can we still see each other?

Partners living separately are able to visit each other at home or in public places. 

Do babies and children count towards the total number of people?

Children and babies count toward the total number of people.

Do I have to keep at least 1.5 metres from myself and the people I have in my home?

You should ensure appropriate physical distancing between yourself and visitors by keeping at least 1.5 metres away from others.  from those you don’t live with. You and your visitors should regularly wash your hands and cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.cough or sneeze into anyour elbow or tissue.

Does this mean I can’t hug my friends and family?

We know it's really tough right now, but maintaining at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others is important for keeping one another safe. Other safety precautions include washing your hands often, coughing or sneezing into your elbow or tissue and staying home if you feel unwell.

Can two families meet up even if it exceeds the total numbers of allowed people for a private or public gathering?

Multiple families or groups cannot meet up if it exceeds the total numbers of people allowed for a private gathering (up to 5 visitors in home) or public gathering (maximum of 10 people).

Groups that are larger than these limits should find alternative ways to connect, including group video calls, email, phone, or social media.

Can grandparents now see their grandkids?

Some people are at a higher risk of getting very sick. Everyone should understand their personal risk and use common sense when it comes to having friends and family visit.

Some people are at a higher risk of experiencing severe symptoms if they contract coronavirus (COVID-19) including:

  • people aged 70 and over
  • people aged 65 and over with chronic health conditions
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 50 and over
  • people with a compromised immune system

You should consider if having visitors is necessary or if you could use other ways to stay in touch with people.

I want to stay with a loved one who has a chronic illness. What should I do?

You should speak to your loved one about their risk of getting very sick if they contract coronavirus (COVID-19). Depending on their risk you might need to delay your visit and connect with them in other ways including video conferencing, phone calls, text message or social media. 

Victorians are being asked to be considerate and use common sense when it comes to having friends and family visit – especially those who are more vulnerable. That means seeing only those you need to – if you need to.

We're having a BBQ in our backyard. How many people can we have over?

Under the current directions, you are able to have up to 5 visitors at your home at any one time, in addition to those who live in the household. Your home includes indoor and outdoor areas of the house. 

Is there a time limit for visits?

There is no time limit on visits. 

Can I stay overnight or for a few days?

Currently, you and members of your household are able to stay overnight at a friend or family’s home, as long as you do not exceed the number of visitors allowed at home You can also stay in tourist accommodation.

Can I visit people in nursing homes or care facilities?

You can visit people in care facilities but there are rules to keep people safe. For more information see the Visiting care facilities page.

Can I visit people in prisons?

For information on personal visits to prisons visit: www.corrections.vic.gov.au/prisons

Can I have a birthday party?

You may have 5 visitors to your home and the maximum group size in public places is 10 people. The number of visitors you are allowed to have to your home has reduced and you may need to postpone planned events until restrictions can be safely eased again.

As always, you should maintain at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others and cough or sneeze into your elbow or tissue. 

Are there restrictions on what type of gatherings we can have? Do I need to record everyone’s details?

There are no restrictions on the type of gatherings you can have, and you are not obliged to record people’s details. 

But as always, we’re urging Victorians to use common sense in their activities. It’s up to all of us to make this work.

For information on weddings, funerals and cemeteries visit the religion and ceremony page. 

How will these rules be enforced? 

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

Industry bodies, Victoria Police, WorkSafe, DHHS 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. DHHS 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.