Third Step

11.59pm on 16 September 2020

Third Step commences at 11.59pm on 16 September.

What does this mean I can do

  • You can meet up in groups of up to ten people in a public outdoor place (babies under 12 months are not included in this cap). 
  • You can form a household bubble with one other household. You can have up to five people visit you from your household bubble. The five visitors must live in the same household. Babies under 12 months are not included in this cap.  You cannot have visitors to your home who aren’t in your bubble. 
  • If you have formed a ‘single social bubble’, then you can continue to see this person as part of your household bubble. If the person that you have formed a single bubble with lives with other people, then you can choose to expand your bubble to the members of their household. This means that you can have up to five visitors from the household that you have formed a bubble with. You cannot have a single bubble and a different household bubble. 

You must wear a face covering when you leave home, unless a lawful exception applies. Stay safe as restrictions ease by washing your hands regularly, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and keeping at least 1.5 metres from others. 

Your questions answered

Seeing friends and family outside 

Restrictions from 11:59pm 16 September 

You can meet in a group of up to ten people in a public outdoor place. The ten people can live in different households.  

Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the ten-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 ten people. Babies 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 in a public place, outside of the home. This means you can have a picnic in the park or at the beach with up to ten people. There is a lower risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) between people if you are outdoors. To keep your friends and family safe you should meet up outdoors in a public place.   

You can only have someone over for a barbeque if they are in your household bubble.  

Can I meet friends or family in a public place? 

From 11:59 pm on Wednesday 16 September, you can meet in a group of up to ten people outdoors in a public place. Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the cap. 

When you leave home you must wear a face covering, unless a lawful 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 16 September 

  • Any household in regional Victoria can form a household bubble with another household.  
  • Up to five people from that household can visit you at your home as part of the bubble.  
  • You can visit the household you form a bubble with at their home. Up to five people from your household can visit.  
  • You cannot have visitors to your home who aren’t in your bubble. 
  • If you live with more than five people, or want to form a bubble with a household that is more than five people, then you can. But only five people can visit at one time, in addition to the people who normally live in the household.  
  • You don’t need to wear a face covering when your bubble visits you at home. If you have formed a bubble with someone who is at higher risk of becoming very sick with coronavirus (COVID-19) you should consider wearing a face covering to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) to them.  
  • Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the five-person visitor cap.  
  • If you have formed a ‘single social bubble’ then you can continue to see the person in your household bubble.  
  • If the person that you have formed a single bubble with lives with other people, then you can choose to expand your bubble to the members of their household. This means that you can have up to five visitors from the household that you have formed a bubble with.  
  • You can only form a bubble with a household who lives in regional Victoria. 
  • The household you form a bubble with needs to be the same household  throughout the Third Step.  
  • Your household bubble must be exclusive. The household you form a bubble with can’t form a bubble with another household.
  • You cannot have a single bubble and a different household bubble.

How many visitors can I have to my house? 

You can form a bubble with another household and up to five people from that bubble can visit you at home. You cannot have visitors to your home who aren’t in your bubble.  

People outside your bubble can still enter your home for care or other compassionate reasons, and for work or education services. 

What does a ‘household bubble’ mean? 

The household bubble concept is a way to allow Victorians to start seeing friends or family while balancing the coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission risk. 

From 11:59pm 16 September, anyone in regional Victoria can form a household bubble with another household in regional Victoria.  

You can have up to five people from your bubble visit your home.  

The person or household you form a bubble with needs to stay the same throughout the Third Step. You do not need to wear a face covering while the people in your bubble visit your home or while you visit them at their home. You do need to wear a face covering while you travel to their house or if you are in public with them.   

Who can be in my bubble? 

You can form a bubble with anyone in regional Victoria. You cannot form a bubble with someone who lives in metropolitan Melbourne.  

I’ve already formed a single social bubble – can I choose different people to form a household bubble with?  

Wherever possible, you should continue with the same person when forming a household bubble. If this is not possible, you can nominate different people to form a household bubble with. 

Your new household bubble will replace your current single social bubble and must be maintained for the remainder of the Third Step.  

Does the bubble have to be the same person or household? Can I choose one other person per week/fortnight? 

The household you choose to form a bubble with needs to be the same household throughout the Third Step. 

Can you be in household bubble and see an intimate partner? 

Yes, you can have an intimate partner and be in a household bubble. An intimate partner is independent of a household bubble. 

If your intimate partner is at your home with you, they do not count towards the total of the five allowed visitors from your household bubble. 

How can I keep myself and my bubble safe? 

When you form a bubble with a person or household, it is even more important you take extra steps to keep each other safe. 

Only include people in your bubble when you are both safe and healthy. If anyone within your bubble feels unwell, they must immediately isolate at home and get tested. You must not visit that person or have that person over to visit if either of you are unwell. 

You should keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you during visits. You should wash your hands regularly and coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue.  

To protect the health of the people in your bubble you need to agree who you will see when you catch up with friends or family outside. 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.  

Can my bubble be someone who lives in Melbourne? 

No, you cannot form a 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 people in your bubble. You can stay overnight or have up to five visitors from your bubble stay overnight at your house.  

As always though, Victorians need to continue to use common sense and stay safe. 

When you leave home stay safe by washing your hands regularly, coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue, and keeping at least 1.5 metres from others.  

My household bubble has six people. Can they all come and visit me at the same time? 

If you live with more than five people, or want to form a bubble with a household that is more than five people, then you can.

But only five people can visit at one time, in addition to the people who normally live in the household.

Babies under 12 months are not included in this cap.  You cannot have visitors to your home who aren’t in your bubble. 

My relatives or parents are elderly – can I have them as my bubble? 

You can form a household with your elderly parents or relatives.   

You should 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? 

Wherever possible, you should meet up with a friend or family member you are worried about outdoors.  

There isn’t a limit on who you can catch up with outdoors, as long as there are no more than ten people gathered.  

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 go to someone's house if it is an emergency, or for care and compassionate reasons. 

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

You do not need to wear a face covering while the people in your bubble visit your home or while you visit them at their home. You do need to wear a face covering while you travel to their house or if you are in public with them.   

If you have formed a bubble with someone who is at higher risk of becoming very sick with coronavirus (COVID-19) you should consider wearing a face covering to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) to them.  

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 or they are part of your bubble. 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? 

Tradespeople and cleaners can come into your home. 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? 

Yes. You can have a birthday party in your home with up to five visitors from your household bubble.  

Up to ten people can be at a birthday party if held outdoors in a public place.  

Seeing your partner 

Current restrictions 

  • 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. Intimate partners that both live in regional Victoria can travel within regional Victoria and stay together in accommodation. 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. 

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’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. There are no restrictions on the reasons for arranging child minding.  

Any permitted visitors to your home must wear a face covering (unless they are part of your household bubble) 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. 

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

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.