11.59pm on 13 September 2020
First Step: Social gatherings - metropolitan Melbourne
Your questions answered
Seeing friends and family outside
Restrictions from 11:59pm 13 September
- You can meet up with one friend or family member outside
- When you meet up with a friend or family member you need to meet up at a location that is within 5km of both of your homes
- You can also exercise or socialise outside with your household within 5km of your home
Can I meet friends or family in a public place?
From 11:59 pm on Sunday 13 September, you can meet up with one friend or family member outside.
When you leave home you must wear a face covering, unless an exception applies.
If you have children or someone else who requires care and support who you can’t leave at home unaccompanied, then you can meet in public places with one other person and the people you have care responsibilities for. Remember to keep 1.5 metres distance between you and anyone you don’t live with.
I live with three housemates. Can we exercise together?
From 11:59 pm on Sunday 13 September, you can exercise with your household.
Is there a limit on the number of people I can see outdoors?
You can only catch up with one person or your household members outdoors at any one time. However, you can choose different people to catch up with outdoors at different times. That means you can choose a different person to exercise with on different days.
You should use common sense and limit seeing friends and family. There is a lower risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) between people if you are outdoors which is why restrictions are changing to allow people to see a friend or family member outdoors.
There is a limit on the amount of time you can spend with people outdoors. You can only spend two hours, which can be broken up into a maximum of two sessions. You can only travel within 5km of your home to catch up with friends or family outdoors.
What is a “public outdoor place”? Does this mean I can have people over for a barbeque?
A public outdoor place is a park or garden, outside of the home. You can only have someone over for a barbeque if they are in your ‘single social bubble’. A picnic in the park with physical distancing would also be allowed social interaction.
Social bubbles and visitors to your home
Restrictions from 11:59pm 13 September
- If you live alone you can form a social bubble with one other person.
- If you are a single parent/guardian, with children under the age of 18 or caring for a person with a disability or illness over the age of 18, you can form a social bubble with one other person.
- The person you form a social bubble with can visit you at your home
- You can visit the person you form a bubble with at their home. If they live with someone else then you can only visit them at their home when they are home alone.
- If the person you form a bubble with has children or dependents then they can bring their children or dependents with them when they visit you, and you can bring your children or dependants (if any) with you when you visit them.
- You can only form a bubble with someone who lives in metropolitan Melbourne. You can travel more than 5km from your home to visit the person you form a bubble with.
- The person you form a bubble with needs to be the same person throughout the first and second steps. The person you form a bubble with can’t form a bubble with someone else.
How many visitors can I have to my house?
If you live in metropolitan Melbourne, you cannot have visitors to your home. People can only enter your home to deliver care or urgent and essential services. Your partner can visit you at your home. If you are single or a single parent, you can form a social bubble with one other person. That person can visit you at your home.
What does a ‘single social bubble’ mean?
The single social bubble concept is a way to support people who may be feeling isolated while balancing the coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission risk.
From 11:59pm 13 September, if you live alone or are a single parent you can create a ‘single social bubble’ by nominating one other person to be a part of your bubble.
You can have the person you form a bubble with visit your home. Your nominated person can be from a household or share house, and you are also able to visit them in their home, but only when they are alone.
This needs to be the same person throughout the First and Second Steps. A face covering must be worn for all interactions within the ‘single social bubble’.
Who can be in my ‘single social bubble’?
A single person living alone, or a single parent with dependent children under 18 years or caring for a person with a disability or illness over the age of 18, you can nominate whomever they choose to be in their ‘single social bubble’. You cannot nominate an entire household – it must be one person.
If the nominated person has children that cannot be left unattended, and there is no one else to care for them, the children can attend a visit.
If the nominated person lives with other adults, the single person can only visit the nominated person when they are the only adult in their home.
This would mean if a single person nominates one of their parents, they can only visit the parental home if it’s just the nominated parent at home.
Otherwise, the nominated person will need to visit the single person at home.
How can I keep myself and my bubble safe?
If you have a ‘single social bubble’, it’s even more important you take extra steps to keep each other safe.
Only include people in your ‘single social bubble’ where you are both safe and healthy. If anyone within your bubble feels unwell, they should immediately isolate at home. You should not visit that person or have that person over to visit if either of you are unwell.
A face covering must be worn during visits.
To protect the health of the nominated person in your bubble you should agree who you will see when you catch up with friends or family outside.
Both of you should agree to how many people you will spend time with outside the home.
The more people you interact with, the higher the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission. You must not have any other visitors to your home.
My nominated support person has young children – can they come to my house?
Yes, if the person you nominated to form a ‘single social bubble’ with has young children or dependents who can’t be left alone then they can visit your home.
If you have young children or dependents who can’t be left alone then they go with you when you visit the person you form a bubble with.
I am a single parent, caring for someone with a profound disability or illness over the age of 18. Can I still have a bubble?
Yes, you can still form a ‘single social bubble’, but you should consider if this will put the person you are caring for at risk. Professional respite care for people with complex needs is allowed.
I live alone but have a partner – can I form a ‘single social bubble’ with a family member or friend and still see my partner?
No, people must choose whether they wish to see their intimate partner or form a ‘single social bubble’ with another nominated person.
I’m single but live with family or in a share house. Will I still be able to have a bubble outside my household?
You can only nominate a person to be a part of your ‘single social bubble’ if you live alone, or are a single parent. You may however be someone else’s nominated person - even if you live with other people.
For example, Kim lives with Jacob and Viet. As Kim does not live alone, she cannot have her own ‘single social bubble’. But her friend Michael, who does live alone, can nominate Kim to be a part of his bubble.
If you live with other adults, your nominated person can only visit you in your home if you are the only adult present.
Will the 5km limit apply? Can my ‘single social bubble’ be someone who lives in regional Victoria?
The 5km limit will not apply to forming a ‘single social bubble’ with a nominated person. If you live in metro Melbourne, you cannot form a bubble with someone who lives in regional Victoria. This is to help keep our loved ones in regional Victoria safe.
Will the curfew apply to visits between the ‘single social bubble’?
If a curfew is in place, then it will affect visiting your ‘single social bubble’. In metropolitan Melbourne, you can only travel for a visit between the hours of 5am and 9pm. If you are planning to stay overnight, then you must travel before the curfew.
How many times a day can I leave home to see the nominated person in my ‘single social bubble’? Can they stay overnight?
There are no restrictions on the number of times you can see the person in your ‘single social bubble’. However, it is recommended that you minimise the number of times you leave your home for this reason, in keeping with advice to Stay at Home where possible. Seeing a friend in your bubble does not have a time restriction, but if you are meeting the person in your bubble for exercise or socialising outdoors a 2-hour time restriction applies.
You can stay overnight with the friend in your ‘single social bubble’, however you must travel before the curfew. And it is recommended that you minimise the number of times you leave your home for this reason.
Does the bubble have to be the same person, or could you choose one other person per week/fortnight?
The person you choose to form a ‘single social bubble’ with needs to be the same person throughout the First and Second Step towards COVID Normal.
Will I need a permit to visit my bubble?
You do not need a permit or proof of your ‘single social bubble’. We are asking Victorians to do the right thing, even though it is hard to not see friends or family, so that together we can get to a new coronavirus (COVID-19) normal as soon as possible.
My friend, relative or parent is elderly – can I have them as my ‘single social bubble’ person?
Yes, but only one adult can be nominated. You also might want to consider the vulnerability of the person in your bubble and limit your interactions with others outside of your bubble when your person is an elderly friend, relative or parent.
If they live within 5km of your home you can arrange to see them outside. You can leave home for up to two hours, twice a day for exercise or to see a friend or family member. You must wear a face covering, unless you have an exemption that applies.
If you are more vulnerable to serious complications because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you should carefully consider whether there are other ways you can stay connected – including video calls, phone calls or with social media.
I’m worried about a friend or family member’s mental health – can I visit them if they aren’t in my bubble?
You cannot visit them. However, you can meet up with a friend or family member outside of your ‘single social bubble’ for exercise or socialising outside. You can only travel within 5km of your home to catch up with friends or family outdoors.
You should use common sense and limit seeing friends and family. You can only catch up with one person outdoors at a time.
There is a lower risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) between people if you are outdoors which is why restrictions are changing to allow greater flexibility to allow people to see a friend or family member outdoors.
Do I have to wear a face covering when visiting my bubble?
If you are meeting up outside of the home you will have to wear a face covering. When visiting someone in your ‘single social bubble’ inside the home you must also wear a face covering.
Can anyone else visit my home?
The following people can visit your home to provide essential services:
- a tradesperson visiting to make an urgent and essential repair in your home, such as a broken hot water system
- a person coming in to do child-minding or a child you are providing care to, if you are a permitted worker as outlined above
- a person coming in to provide essential services or care (for example, cooking or cleaning if you cannot do it for yourself, or professional respite care for a person with complex needs) or medical attention
- medical or emergency services staff coming to your home to render assistance.
They will need to wear a face covering, unless an exception applies. You should maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between you and others and practise good hygiene measures by washing your hands and coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow.
Can tradespeople come into my home?
Yes, they can for urgent and essential repairs.
The service provider must be wearing a face covering, unless an exception applies. If you need help at home and you have someone come in, try to keep their time in your home to a minimum.
If possible, remove yourself from the room where the service provider is working. Where possible, you should ensure physical distancing by keeping 1.5 metres between you and the service provider.
When a service provider comes to your home, try to minimise physical contact by paying with a direct bank transfer or contactless payment if possible.
Can a cleaner come into my home?
In-home support is permitted if you need assistance with cooking or cleaning because you have particular needs related to age, disability, illness, a chronic health condition or other medical reason.
Can I have a birthday party?
No. You cannot have visitors to your home. You will need to postpone planned events until restrictions can be safely eased again.
Seeing your partner
- You can travel to visit your partner. While you are visiting your partner in metropolitan Melbourne First Step restrictions apply to you. This includes the curfew (9pm to 5am).
- You can stay overnight with your partner.
My partner and I live separately from one another. Can we still see each other?
Partners living separately can visit each other at home. You can travel to or from metropolitan Melbourne to visit your partner, but you must continue to meet all the requirements that you would otherwise comply with in metropolitan Melbourne.
Can I travel to see my partner after curfew?
You can travel to visit your partner or to stay overnight with them, but you must travel before curfew. Curfew is 9pm – 5am. If you are a permitted worker and you finish work after 9pm then you can travel straight from work to your partner’s place to stay overnight with them.
Can I visit my partner if they are living in a share house or living with their family?
You can visit your partner if they live in a share house or with their family. If you are visiting your partner, you should be aware that by visiting other houses you increase the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).
If your partner lives with someone who is at high-risk of getting very sick from coronavirus (COVID-19) you should consider having your partner visit you at your house or stay in touch with your partner using phone calls, text messages, video chat or social media.
Child and family
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 can leave the house to take children from one parent or guardian’s home to the other parent or guardian’s home.
Can I get a baby-sitter to come to my home or to someone’s house to have them minded?
Yes. Permitted workers whether they are working onsite or from home, may maintain existing arrangements for in-home child minding. These arrangements can be paid or unpaid.
New arrangements are not permitted and only the minimum number of people necessary may enter the house at any one time for the purposes of providing in-home child minding.
People in at-risk cohorts, such as grandparents or elderly relatives, are strongly advised not to participate in in-home child minding arrangements and should limit their movement as much as possible.
Can I drop my children at childcare?
Yes. Permitted workers whether they are working onsite or from home, may drop their child at childcare if their children cannot otherwise be cared for during work hours by the worker or another responsible member of the household.
A current Access to Online Childcare/Kindergarten Permit is required.
Can I visit people in hospital, nursing homes or care facilities?
You can visit people in care facilities but there are rules to keep people safe.
Can I visit people in prisons?
For information on personal visits to prisons visit the Corrections Victoria website.
Can I have a wedding or funeral?
For information on weddings, funerals and cemeteries visit the religion and ceremony page.
Can I choose to live at a friend’s place?
Not unless you were staying at your friend’s place on Saturday 1 August. Where you stayed that night is where you should stay. Exemptions include if you are staying at someone’s house for the purposes of care giving or you are visiting an intimate partner or your single social bubble.
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.
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 power direction, including to provide information
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 covering and do not have a lawful reason can be fined $200.