11.59pm on 13 September 2020
Second Step: Social gatherings - regional Victoria
Your questions answered
Seeing friends and family outside
Restrictions from 11:59pm 13 September
You can meet in a group of up to five people outdoors. The five people can only live in two households. This means you can only meet up with friends or family members who live in one house together at one time.
Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the five-person limit
Is there a limit on the number of people I can see outdoors?
Yes, you can only meet up as a group of five people from a maximum of two households. This is to limit the number of households coming to contact with each other. Infants under the age of 12 months are not included in this cap.
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 an allowed social interaction.
Can I meet friends or family in a public place?
From 11:59 pm on Sunday 13 September, you can meet in a group of up to five people outdoors. The five people can only live in two households. This means you can only meet up with friends or family members who live in one other house at one time. This is to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) between multiple households. Infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap.
When you leave home you must wear a face covering, unless an exception applies.
Remember to keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you and anyone you don’t live with.
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.
- A face covering must be worn during visits to your social bubble. When you are eating or drinking you can remove your face covering but you should keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
- If the person you form a bubble with has children or dependents under 18 years of age, then they can bring their children or dependents with them when they visit you.
- You can only form a bubble with someone who lives in regional Victoria.
- The person you form a bubble with needs to be the same person throughout the Second Step. The person you form a bubble with can’t form a bubble with someone else.
How many visitors can I have to my house?
You cannot have social visitors to your home. People can enter your home for care or other compassionate reasons, and for work or education services. If you live alone or you are 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/guardian (with dependent children under 18 years or are caring for a person with a disability or illness over the age of 18) you can create a ‘single social bubble’ by nominating one other person to be a part of your bubble. This will mirror the existing intimate partner arrangements.
You can have the person you form a bubble 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 Second Step. 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 18 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 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 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 must immediately isolate at home. You must 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. Measures such as physical distancing and washing hands regularly should be maintained during visits.
To protect the health of the nominated person in your bubble you need to both agree who you will see when you catch up with friends or family outside.
Both of you need to agree to how many people you will spend time with outside the home. This should include keeping a list of the people you see.
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.
Can my bubble be someone who lives in Melbourne?
No, you cannot form a ‘single social bubble’ with someone who lives in metropolitan Melbourne.
How many times a day can I leave home to see my bubble? Can I 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.
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 Second Step toward COVID Normal.
My relatives or parents are elderly – can I have them as my 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 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 members 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.
There isn’t a limit on who you can catch up with outdoors, as long as you meet public gathering limits. You should use common sense and limit seeing friends and family. You can meet as a group of up to five people from a maximum of two households outdoors for social interaction (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap).
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.
Do I have to wear a face covering when visiting my bubble?
If you are meeting up outside of the home you must wear a face covering unless an exception applies. When visiting someone in your ‘single social bubble’ inside the home you must wear a face covering to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).
Can anyone else visit my home?
The following people can visit your home for care or caregiving or work:
- a tradesperson visiting to fix a fault in your home, such as plumbing, wi-fi or electrical
- a person coming in to do child-minding or a child you are providing care to
- a person coming in to provide necessary services or care (for example, cooking or cleaning)
- medical or emergency services staff coming to your home to render assistance.
Anyone visiting your home 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 or cleaners come into my home?
Yes, they can. 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 at least 1.5 metres between you and the service provider.
When a service provider comes to your home, minimise physical contact by paying with a direct bank transfer or contactless payment if possible.
Can I have a birthday party in my home?
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.
- You can stay overnight with your partner.
- You can travel to visit your partner if they live in metropolitan Melbourne. While you are visiting your partner in metropolitan Melbourne, First Step restrictions apply to you. This includes the curfew (9pm to 5am).
- You don’t need to wear a face covering while at your partner’s home.
My partner and I live separately from one another. Can we still see each other?
Yes. Partners living separately in regional Victoria can visit each other at home. You can also travel to or from metropolitan Melbourne to visit your partner if they live there.
However, if you are visiting your partner in metropolitan Melbourne, you must abide by the First Step restrictions. And if your partner lives in metropolitan
Melbourne and visits you in regional Victoria, they must still abide by the First Step restrictions.
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’s home to the other parent’s home.
Can I get a baby-sitter to come to my home?
Yes. You can arrange in-home child minding, if you need to leave for one of the four reasons, or work or study at home.
Any permitted visitors to your home must wear a face covering and should maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres from other people where possible and practise good hygiene by washing their hands regularly and coughing or sneezing into their elbow.
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 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?
No. You must continue to live at your normal home for the duration of the current restrictions.
We understand this is a sacrifice – but this is about limiting the spread of the virus and keeping Victorians safe.
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.