Some restrictions are in place in our hospitals to help protect vulnerable Victorians receiving care.

Key points 

  • Patients of hospitals can have up to two care and support visits each day with the total combined amount of daily visit time being no more than two hours, and no more than two different visitors in total each day. 
  • There are no time limits placed on certain types of visits, such as a parent visiting their child, a carer visiting a patient with a disability, a partner or support person visiting a pregnant patient, or visits for end of life purposes. However, no more than two visitors can visit a patient at any one time. 
  • All visitors remain subject to the hospital’s local operating procedures. Hospitals may impose higher restrictions in order to protect vulnerable people and staff in their particular facility. 
On this page

For information on visiting care facilities, see Visiting care facilities.

Current restrictions

The Chief Health Officer has restricted access to hospitals where vulnerable Victorians receive care. This is to help protect elderly people, those with chronic medical conditions or those with low immunity from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Patients receiving treatment and care are especially vulnerable to the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) and may be critically at-risk if exposed. 

From 11:59pm on 21 June 2020:

Patients of hospitals can have up to two care and support visits each day,  with the total combined amount of daily visit time being no more than two hours, and no more than two different visitors in total each day. 

There are no time limits placed on other types of visits, such as a parent visiting their child, a carer visiting a patient with a disability, a partner or support person visiting a pregnant patient, or visits for end of life purposes. However, no more than two visitors can visit a patient at any one time. 

Which types of hospitals are covered by this restriction?

This restriction applies to all the following hospitals, whether operated by government, the private sector or not-for-profit organisations:

  • public hospitals
  • private hospitals
  • denominational hospitals
  • day procedure centre or multi-purpose health services

What are the limits on care and support visits?

Patients in hospitals can have no more than two care and support visits per day.

The total amount of these visits must not be more than two hours combined over the day.

No more than two visitors may visit a patient at one time.

For example, if a patient in hospital needs to see two visitors, those visitors can visit separately or together. The total amount of visiting time for both cannot exceed two hours – ie.  a single visit together two hours, or two separate visits that last one hour each.

What are the limits on other types of visits?

There are no time limits placed on other types of visits, including:

  • a parent visiting their child
  • a carer visiting a patient with a disability
  • a partner or support person visiting a pregnant patient
  • visits for end of life purposes.

However, no more than two visitors can visit a patient at any one time.

Each hospital may have additional requirements, conditions and restrictions. Contact them before you visit.  

Who can visit a hospital?

Subject to some important conditions listed below, you can visit a hospital if you are:

  • providing a care and support visit to a patient
  • the parent, guardian or temporary carer of a patient aged under 18 years
  • the carer of a patient with a disability
  • the partner or support person of a pregnant patient, whose status as a patient relates to their pregnancy
  • accompanying a patient to the emergency department
  • accompanying a patient to an outpatient appointment
  • providing end of life support for a patient.

You should contact the hospital before visiting as they may have additional requirements, conditions or restrictions for visitors. This information may also be found on their website.

Who is not allowed to visit a hospital?

You must not enter any hospital if you:

  • are unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, or fever
  • have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees
  • arrived in Australia within the last 14 days
  • have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) and have not yet been given clearance from self-isolation
  • have had known contact in the past 14 days with a person who was a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Only in exceptional circumstances can a hospital allow a person to visit a hospital if they are a known contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), or a returned overseas traveller in mandatory quarantine, or have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19). Exceptions can only be authorised by senior hospital staff and, in some instances, must also be approved by the Chief Health Officer / Deputy Chief Health Officer due to the risks involved. Strict conditions may apply to these visits. Please discuss this with hospital staff.

Is there an exemption to the time limit on care and support visits?

There are no exemptions to the two hour total time limit for care and support visits. However, in some circumstances, patients can have  visitors for longer than two hours per day. The exception for visitors on time limits is if they are:

  • a parent, guardian or temporary carer of a patient in the hospital who is under 18 years
  • a carer of a patient with a disability 
  • a partner or support person of a pregnant patient 
  • a support person for a patient coming into the emergency department of a hospital
  • a support person for someone attending an outpatient appointment
  • a person who is providing support to a patient receiving palliative care.

You don’t need formal approval from the hospital if you are one of these visitors, but you should tell hospital staff this when you arrive. Also note that you will still have to follow any regular rules about visiting hours in hospital.

Are there any special considerations for patients who are receiving palliative care?

In these circumstances, visitors should discuss the duration and total number of visitors throughout the day, with the hospital, as special considerations may be applied.

There is still a maximum number of two visitors permitted at any one time.

Are there any other conditions placed on visits?

Visitors must comply with all screening and infection control measures put in place by the hospital. You must: 

  • wash your hands after using lifts, holding railings and every time you enter and exit the patient’s room 
  • follow rules about visitor and time limits  
  • limit movement around the hospital as much as possible  
  • limit the number of personal items you bring into the hospital 
  • follow rules about wearing masks, gloves or gowns if requested by staff 

Please note that each hospital may have additional requirements, conditions or restrictions for entry. This could vary ward by ward and include restricted visiting hours, and further conditions on both who can visit and the number of visitors. In some cases, hospital wards or units may be closed to visitors to keep vulnerable patients safe. 

Hospital staff will help you follow these conditions to help keep your family member or friend safe. 

Do I need to call the hospital before I visit someone in hospital?

No. However you should consider contacting the hospital before visiting as they may have additional requirements, conditions or restrictions for entry. In some cases, hospital wards may be closed to visitors to keep vulnerable patients safe or restrict who can visit to close family. This information may also be found on the hospital’s website. 

You should also importantly speak with other family, friends and carers before you visit. This will avoid a situation where the visitor limit is exceeded. If this occurs, you may be unable to see your family member or friend in hospital.  

The person I am visiting is sharing a room – does this impact the number of visitors?

No. Each patient is able to have a maximum of two visitors each time, subject to the conditions or requirements for their ward or unit. However, when visiting you need to ensure you follow directions from the hospital staff and also maintain 1.5 metres between yourself and other visitors within the shared room if they are not from your household.  

I’m going to hospital to give birth – can I have more than two people with me?

No. A maximum of two people can visit each patient at a time, though some hospitals may restrict visitors to maternity services to the partner or equivalent support person only.

However, a partner or support person of a pregnant patient can stay in the patient’s room for longer than two hours. In addition to this person, one other visitor may also be present for care and support purposes.  

Visits for care and support visits must not exceed a total of two hours each day, with no more than two different people able to visit each day.

How can I stay in touch with my loved ones in hospital?

People in hospital are unwell or recovering from a medical or surgical condition and can have reduced immunity.  

Before you plan your visit, think about your family member or friend and your role in helping to keep them safe from coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes your loved one who:

  • is elderly
  • has a chronic medical condition (like diabetes, heart, lung, kidney disease, or low immunity).

You can stay in touch and provide support through phone and video calls and texting.

What are the restrictions on workers?

Subject to some important conditions, staff can enter the hospital only if they are: 

  • an employee or contractor of the hospital 
  • a student under the supervision of an employee or contractor of the hospital 
  • providing goods or services necessary for the effective operation of the hospital (either as a paid worker or volunteer) 
  • a person providing health, medical or pharmaceutical goods or services to a patient of the hospital (either as a paid worker or volunteer) 
  • a disability worker providing a disability service to a patient with a disability 
  • a union and employer representative 

If emergency services or law enforcement personnel are required to attend the facility, they can enter at any time.

A person may also be able to enter an area of the hospital exempted from the restriction. 

Workers must not enter any hospital if they:

  • are unwell with any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), including a cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, fever, headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea 
  • have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees 
  • arrived in Australia within the last 14 days 
  • have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) and have not yet been given clearance from self-isolation 
  • have had known contact in the past 14 days with a person who was a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)  

What if I don't comply?

A person who ignores these conditions and restrictions will be liable for fines of up to $20,000, or up to $100,000 in the case of companies and other bodies corporate. 

Where can I get more information? 

For updates, see our dedicated coronavirus (COVID-19) page.  

You can also call the coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline: 1800 675 398 

If you require a translator to help you, call the translating and interpreting service on 131 450 and ask for the coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline.