Third Step

11.59pm on 16 September 2020

From 11:59pm on 16 September, Third Step easing of restrictions apply in regional Victoria.

From 11:59pm 16 September, regional Victoria is moving from Second Step restrictions to Third Step restrictions. Under Third Step restrictions:

  • There are no restrictions on the reasons you can leave home.
  • There are no restrictions on how far you can travel within regional Victoria.
  • If you can work from home you must work from home.

You must wear a face covering when you leave home.

As restrictions ease it is important to stay safe. You can stay safe by:

  • wearing a face covering when you leave home
  • washing your hands regularly
  • coughing and sneezing into your elbow
  • keeping at least 1.5 metres distance from others
On this page

Who does this apply to, and when?

Third Step restrictions apply to all people living in regional Victoria. Regional Victoria is defined as any part of Victoria that isn’t metropolitan Melbourne. Visit Victoria's restriction levels page to view the restrictions map.

Is this compulsory, or voluntary?

It is compulsory. The Chief Health Officer of Victoria has issued a lawful direction as part of the current State of Emergency.

Can I leave the house during the Third Step restrictions?

From 11:59pm 16 September, there are no limitations on the reasons you can leave home. Stay at Home restrictions no longer apply in regional Victoria.

When you leave home, you should stay safe by washing your hands regularly, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and keeping at least 1.5 metres from others. When you leave home, you must wear a face covering.

If you are unwell, you must stay home and you should get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Are there limits on the time of day I can leave the house?

No, you can go out any time of the day or night. There is no curfew in regional Victoria.

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

Is there a limit on how far I can travel? 

There are no limits on the distance you can travel in regional Victoria. 

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

There are restrictions on travel to metropolitan Melbourne.

What restrictions apply if I need to travel to metropolitan Melbourne? 

First step restrictions apply in metropolitan Melbourne. This includes a curfew from 9pm to 5am. During the curfew, the only reasons to leave home are permitted work or care and caregiving.

You can only travel to metropolitan Melbourne for permitted work, to seek medical treatment, care and compassionate reasons, or shopping for necessary goods and services. If you go to metropolitan Melbourne for shopping for necessary goods and services, then the curfew and the other restrictions that apply to people in metropolitan Melbourne will also apply to you. You should only travel to the nearest provider in metropolitan Melbourne.

You are able to travel through metropolitan Melbourne to another regional destination. However, you can only stop to shop for food and essential goods or services, or the permitted reasons outlined for travelling to metropolitan Melbourne above.

You may also travel to metropolitan Melbourne in an emergency or as required by law.

Exercise and recreation is not a reason to travel into or out of metropolitan Melbourne. You cannot be in a household bubble with someone from Melbourne.

Can I travel within regional Victoria?

You can travel within regional Victoria. This includes taking a holiday within regional Victoria.

While travelling around regional Victoria you should stay safe by washing your hands regularly, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and keeping at least 1.5 metres from others. When you leave home, you must wear a face covering.

You can only travel to metropolitan Melbourne for permitted work, to seek medical treatment, for care and compassionate reasons, or shopping for necessary goods and services.

If you can get goods and services close to home or without travelling into the restricted Metropolitan Melbourne area, then you should.

You are able to travel through metropolitan Melbourne to another regional destination. However, you can only stop to shop for food and essential goods or services, or the permitted reasons outlined for travelling to metropolitan Melbourne above.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), get tested and stay home. Stay at home if you feel sick.

Can I travel through a restricted area to get to another part of regional Victoria?

Yes. Travel through metropolitan Melbourne should only happen when necessary for travel between regional areas. If you stop, it must be for one of the three reasons:

  • to shop for food and essential goods or services
  • to provide care, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
  • for permitted work or study

Other regional Victoria restrictions

Seeing a doctor or healthcare professional

Can I see a doctor or access medical services?

Yes. If you are unwell it is important that you see a healthcare professional. You may leave your home for any of the following personal reasons:

  • to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • to visit a doctor or other health professional or care service, or to obtain medicine and medical supplies
  • to donate blood.

You may access these services anywhere in Victoria including being able to seek medical treatment in metropolitan Melbourne.

Can allied health services open?

Yes, allied health services can operate. Allied health services include physiotherapy, optometry, audiology, speech pathology and occupational therapy.

If you visit a health service that is located in metropolitan Melbourne you should speak to your allied health professional in advance, as not all services are currently permitted to operate under current restrictions. View information on permitted work premises.

Can water births take place in regional Victoria?

Maternity hospitals have been advised to suspend the use of water immersion for labour and birth for all women in Victoria. This decision has been made to protect our maternity and neonatal health care workers. PPE is not effective when wet and, consequently, the use of water immersion during this period presents an unacceptable risk. Epidural anaesthesia and other pain relief may be used in the usual manner.

Looking after family, children and friends

Can I get a babysitter to come to my home?

Yes. You can arrange in-home child minding.

Visitors to your home must wear a face covering. Keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others where possible.

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 an elderly parent or friend?

Yes, you can visit an elderly parent or friend if you are providing caregiving to that person.

You can also form a household bubble with one other household. You can have up to five visitors to your home at one time if they are part of your household bubble. Babies under 12 months are not included in the five person limit.

You can only form a bubble with one household and it must be the same household throughout Third Step restrictions.

The household you form a bubble with must be in regional Victoria, you cannot form a bubble with a household in metropolitan Melbourne.

If your existing single bubble from Second Step is with a person who lives with others, you can choose to expand this bubble to be your household bubble.

You cannot maintain a separate single social bubble if you choose to create a household bubble.

If you are preparing meals or providing other help for an elderly person you can visit them. Be aware of the risks of transmitting coronavirus (COVID-19). Older people are especially vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you are delivering meals, think about leaving a package on their doorstep without making physical contact. If you are doing cleaning chores or other housework, have them sit somewhere comfortable away from you while you work, so you are not in close contact.

Make sure they are feeling well and ask them if they have enough of their regular medications whenever you visit. You should keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others. You should wash your hands often.

What support is available if I fear for my safety or the safety of my children due to a family violence situation?

Family violence frontline services, including crisis accommodation, continue to operate to support women, children and families during the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency.

There are options for accessing safe housing if you need to leave a violent situation or you are not safe in your home.

Call safe steps on 1800 015 188 or email safesteps@safesteps.org.au for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For more info visit Family violence support during coronavirus.

Looking after animals and pets

Can I take my animal to the vet?

Yes, you can take an animal to the vet. Check in with your veterinary clinic ahead of your appointment as clinics are operating with new rules to ensure they meet physical distancing requirements. You are also required to wear a face covering.

If you are unwell, or are in quarantine or isolation, contact your veterinary practitioner by phone for advice on what to do to ensure your animal gets the care it needs. You must not leave home.

I’m picking up a new pet – how can I keep myself safe?

When you are picking up a pet you should keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others. Practice good hygiene, including washing your hands regularly. You are also required to wear a face covering.

Travelling interstate is not recommended. If the pet is located interstate, you will need to check the rules for travel from Victoria, including any permits required or quarantine requirements.

If you are unwell, or are in quarantine or isolation, you must not leave home.

If you are picking up a pet in metropolitan Melbourne, you must observe the curfew restrictions.

Can I look for my lost pet at the council animal shelter or pound?

If you have lost a pet, first call your council to check if it is in the pound. If your pet is there, follow their instructions to arrange for its return.

Visit the Business Victoria website for Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector guidelines.

Can I take or surrender a pet to a council animal shelter or pound?

Yes, under the Domestic Animals Act 1994, council animal shelters and pounds must accept surrendered animals.

If you have found a lost pet or need to surrender a pet, first call your council and follow their instructions.

Can pet rescue, rehoming groups and community foster care networks continue to operate?

Yes, pet rescue, rehoming groups and community foster care networks can continue to operate with some limitations. Pets can still be transported to and from a place of care, including to a foster carer. Prospective home inspections or meet and greets are not allowed.    

Can I leave home to care for animals located on property other than my place of residence?

Yes. There are no limits on travel within regional Victoria. If you travel to metropolitan Melbourne to care for animals then the curfew and the other restrictions that apply to people in metropolitan Melbourne will also apply to you.

You should wash and sanitise your hands before and after handling animals and their equipment, bedding or food.

Are pet breeder services allowed to deliver?

Yes. Pets can be delivered to their new home.

You must discuss the requirements for the new pet via video or phone prior to the delivery. Always maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people when delivering a pet and wear a face covering.

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 powers, including to provide information

Fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for businesses are possible through the court system.