Second Step

11.59pm on 27 September 2020

Second Step restrictions apply. There are further changes to restrictions from 11.59pm on 18 October

What does this mean I can do?

If you live in metropolitan Melbourne, restrictions are changing from 11:59pm on Sunday 18 October 2020. The following restrictions are easing:

  • You can meet in an outdoor public place with up to 10 people (including you) from a maximum of two households for the purposes of exercise or to socialise. Outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed if you are all from the same household. Infants under 12 months of age are not included in the limit
  • You can travel up to 25km from your home or permitted workplace. Travel to regional Victoria is still only allowed for permitted purposes, like work, even if this is within 25kms from your home. This means you cannot travel into regional Victoria for exercise or recreation.
  • There are no limits on the length of time you can leave home each day to see friends and family outdoors. We still suggest you consider limiting the number of people you see – this will help limit the potential spread of the virus.
  • There are no limits on the number of times you can leave home each day, although you should only leave home when you need to.

You must wear a face mask when you leave home, unless an exception applies. For more information, see the information on face masks.

Your questions answered

Seeing friends and family outside

Current restrictions

  • You can meet in a group of up to 10 people from a maximum of two households outdoors in a public place to socialise. An outdoor public place means areas accessible to everyone, including local parks and beaches. You can exercise or socialise outdoors with your household. Outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people are allowed if you are all from the same household. Infants under 12 months of age are not included in the limit. 
  • When you meet up with friends or family members to socialise or exercise, you need to meet up outdoors at a location that is within 25km of your homes.
  • You can also exercise with your household or up to 10 people from a maximum of two households. You need to exercise within 25km of your home.
  • If you are a Permitted Worker and carry your Permitted Worker Permit, you can exercise within 25km of your workplace.
  • If you are a single person living alone, or a single parent with dependent children under 18 years or caring for someone with a disability or illness over the age of 18 you can form a ‘single social bubble’ with one other person. The 25km limit does not apply. You cannot travel to regional Victoria.

Can I meet friends or family in a public place?

Yes, you can meet up in an outdoor public place to see friends and family or to exercise with members of your household, or with up to ten people (including you) from a maximum of two households. 

  • An outdoor public place means a space that is open to everyone, for example, a local park.
  • Infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap.
  • You can exercise or socialise within 25km of your home.
  • There are no limits on the number of times you can leave home each day to see friends and family outdoors or exercise. We still suggest you consider limiting the number of people you see – this will help limit the potential spread of the virus.
  • There is no limit on the amount of time you can spend outdoors seeing friends and family or exercising each day, although you should only leave home when you need to.

When you leave home, you must wear a face mask unless an exception applies.

If you have children or someone else who requires care and support who can’t be at home unaccompanied, then you can meet in public places in groups of up to five people from two households, including 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 housemates. Can we exercise together?

Yes, you can exercise with members of your household.

Is there a limit on the number of people I can see outdoors?

Yes. You can meet in a group of up to five people from a maximum of two households outdoors to socialise – this includes your own household.

However, you can choose different people to catch up with outdoors at different times.

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.

You can only travel within 25km 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?

No. A public outdoor place is a park or garden, outside of the home that is accessible to everyone – not your veranda, balcony, front yard or backyard. You can only have someone over to your home for a barbeque if they are in your ‘single social bubble’. A picnic in the park with physical distancing is allowed.

Social bubbles and visitors to your home

Current restrictions

  • 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.
  • Single parents with dependents who cannot be left alone can include their dependents in the bubble.
  • 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 take 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 25km from your home to visit the person you form a bubble with.
  • You can have overnight stays with 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.
  • Professional respite care is allowed.

How many visitors can I have to my house?

If you live in metropolitan Melbourne, you cannot have visitors to your home unless they are providing care, childcare or urgent and essential services, they are your intimate partner, or they are in your ‘single social bubble’.

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.

Continuing into the Second Step, 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 chosen 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. 

If you formed your bubble during the First Step, it needs to be the same person throughout the First and Second Steps. A face mask 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, can nominate whomever they choose to be in their ‘single social bubble’. You cannot nominate an entire household – it must be one person.

If your chosen person has children or dependents who cannot be left unattended, and there is no one else to care for them, the children can attend a visit.

If your chosen person lives with other adults, the single person can only visit your chosen person when they are the only adult in their home.

For example, this means if a single person nominates one of their parents, they can only visit the parental home if it’s just the chosen parent at home. 

Otherwise, your chosen person needs to come to the single person’s home to visit.

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 someone in your ‘single social bubble’ if you and any dependents are safe and healthy. If anyone within your bubble feels unwell, they should immediately get tested and isolate at home. You should not visit that person or have that person over to visit if anyone in the bubble is unwell.

A face mask must be worn during visits.

To protect the health of the chosen person in your bubble you should agree how many people you will spend time with outside the home. The more people you interact with, even outside the home, the higher the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission. You must not have any other friends or family visit your home.

My chosen support person has young children. Can they come to my house?

Yes, if the person you chose to form a ‘single social bubble’ with you has young children or dependents who can’t be left alone then they can also visit your home. 

If you have young children or dependents who can’t be left alone then they can 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’m a carer of an adult with a disability. Can I form a social bubble with someone?

Yes. If you are caring for a person with a disability or illness over the age of 18 you can form a social bubble with one other person.

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 chosen 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 chosen 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 chosen person can only visit you in your home if you are the only adult present.

Does the 25km limit apply? Can my ‘single social bubble’ be someone who lives in regional Victoria?

The 25km limit does not apply to forming a ‘single social bubble’ with your chosen person. However, if you live in metropolitan Melbourne, you cannot form a bubble with someone who lives in regional Victoria and vice versa. This is to help keep our loved ones in regional Victoria safe.

When you travel to the home of your chosen person, you can go outside for exercise or social interaction within 25km of that home.

Will the curfew apply to visits between the ‘single social bubble’?

There is no longer a curfew in metropolitan Melbourne. You can leave home at any time for one of the four reasons.

How many times a day can I leave home to see the 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.

You can stay overnight with the friend in your ‘single social bubble. 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 Step 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 stay away from friends and family, so that together we can get to a new COVID 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 chosen. 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 25km of your home, you can arrange to see them outside and there is no time restriction. You can leave home for up to two hours in total, twice a day for exercise or to see a friend or family member. You must wear a face mask , unless an exemption 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 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 in groups of up to five friends or family members (from a maximum of two households) outside of your ‘single social bubble’ for exercise or socialising outside. Remember, you can only travel within 25km 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 in groups of up to five people 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 for people to see friends or family members outdoors.

Do I have to wear a face mask when visiting my bubble?

If you are meeting up outside of the home you must wear a face mask unless you have a lawful exception. When visiting someone in your ‘single social bubble’ inside the home you must also wear a face mask.

A face mask means: a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth to provide the wearer protection against infection. A face shield on its own does not meet the requirement to wear a face mask.

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
  • 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 mask, 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 mask, 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 needs related to age, disability, illness, a chronic health condition or other medical reason.

Can I have a birthday party in my home?

No. You cannot have visitors to your home, except your intimate partner or someone in your social bubble (and their dependents). You will need to postpone planned events until restrictions can be safely eased , or consider meeting in a group of up to five people outside instead.

Seeing your partner

Current restrictions

  • You can travel to visit your intimate partner.
  • You can travel to regional Victoria or your partner can travel to metropolitan Melbourne. If you live in regional Victoria and you are visiting your partner in metropolitan Melbourne, you should abide by the metropolitan Melbourne restrictions. If you live in metropolitan Melbourne and you are visiting your partner in regional Victoria, you should abide by the metropolitan Melbourne restrictions.
  • You can stay overnight with your intimate 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?

There is no longer a curfew in metropolitan Melbourne. You can leave home at any time for one of the four reasons. You can travel to visit your partner or to stay overnight with them at any time.

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 stay in touch with your partner using phone calls, text messages, video chat or social media or consider having your partner visit you at your house instead.

Children 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? Can I take my child to someone’s house to have them looked after?

A baby-sitter can come to your home to mind your children. These arrangements can be paid or unpaid.

Only one person may enter your home at any one time for the purposes of providing in-home child minding. Face masks needs to be worn by those over the age of 12.

People at-risk of getting very sick from coronavirus (COVID-19), 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 grandparents or other family members care for my children while I work?

From 11:59pm on Sunday 27 September 2020, family can mind your children. You should avoid having grandparents or elderly family members caring for your children to reduce the risk of vulnerable people being exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19).

People who live in metropolitan Melbourne can leave home for care or caregiving and may travel beyond 25km from home or outside metropolitan Melbourne for this purpose. 

Can I drop my children at childcare?

Yes. From 11:59pm on Sunday 27 September 2020, childcare is permitted to reopen. These arrangements can be paid or unpaid. You do not require a permit, and the 25km does not apply.

Visiting people

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. There are also rules for visiting people in hospital.

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 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 and 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 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 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 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 five 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.