Second Step

11.59pm on 27 September 2020

Second Step commences at 11.59pm on 27 September

What does this mean I can do?

From 11:59pm on 27 September 2020 if you live in metropolitan Melbourne, Second Step restrictions apply:

  • You may only go to work if you are in a permitted industry. Please visit the business and industry restrictions page for more information.
  • Study at TAFE and university must continue to be done remotely, except in a limited number of circumstances.
  • Only where remote delivery is not possible: 
  • Apprentices in their final year of training whose training contracts end by 31 December 2020 can attend on-site 
  • Final year higher education students (i.e. in Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency-regulated courses) in metropolitan Melbourne who do not have alternative options to complete their study by the end of January 2021 are permitted to attend on-site.  
  • From 12 October primary school students, Year 7 students, Year 11 and 12 students, any students studying a VCE, VCAL, VET or International Baccalaureate subject and students attending specialist schools will begin a staggered return to on-site learning.  
  • From 26 October 2020 students in Years 8 to 10 will return to on-site learning.  
  • Childcare is open for all children. A permit is no longer required, and the 5km limit from home does not apply for accessing childcare.
  • Standalone (sessional) kindergarten programs open from Monday 5 October 2020 in line with Term 4.
  • In-home child minding is allowed for all children, provided only one child minder who does not form part of the household attends at any one time.
Your questions answered

Work

Can I leave my house to go to work?

Under Second Step restrictions, you may only leave home for permitted work.

Unless you are in a permitted industry, if you can continue to work from home. This is important in helping to limit the number of people moving around – and slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If your place of work is permitted to operate and you can’t work from home, you can leave home for work but you should maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between you and others and practise good hygiene – wash your hands and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. 

You must wear a face mask when you leave home, this includes wearing your face mask while at work, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. This also includes when you are travelling for work purposes, for example either to or from work on public transport or in shared cars with people outside your household. 

When travelling for work purposes, you must also carry your Permitted Worker Permit.

All open businesses and services must have a COVIDSafe Plan or High Risk COVIDSafe Plan focused on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus (COVID-19) is linked to the workplace.

For more information visit the face masks page.

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

What is the Worker Permit Scheme?

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August 2020, employers that require their staff to attend a work site in metropolitan Melbourne as part of a permitted activity, must issue a Permitted Worker Permit to their employees – this is the employer’s responsibility. 

Penalties of up to $19,826 (for individuals) and $99,132 (for businesses) will apply to employers who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet the requirements of the Permitted Worker Scheme or who otherwise breach the scheme requirements.

There will also be on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 (for individuals) and up to $9,913 (for businesses) for anyone who breaches the Permitted Worker Scheme requirements. This includes employers, and employees who do not carry their Permitted Worker Scheme when travelling to and from work.

Do I need a permit to send my child to school for on-site supervision or to place them in childcare?

No. You no longer need a permit to send your child to school for on-site supervision, or to place them in childcare. 

Does my employer have a responsibility to support me to work from home?

Your employer must support you to work from home, if you can work from home. Find out more about working from home and your employer’s responsibilities.

By working from home, you are helping to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and are keeping those who cannot work from home safe.

If your place of work is permitted to operate and if you cannot do your work from home, then you can go to work. You will need to have a Permitted Worker Permit. However, you should consider flexible working arrangements with your employer, including off-peak travel. If you are unwell, you must stay at home. If you have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, you should get tested.

What do I do if my employer and I disagree about working from home?

You and your employer should work together to identify if you can work from home. Workers can raise concerns about being asked to return to work through the Police Assistance Line (PAL) on 131 444. If a complaint is made, the employer would need to show why the employee cannot work from home.

What if I’m finding it difficult to work from home? Can I choose to work from my normal workplace?

Under current restrictions, you may only leave home for permitted work. Many industries are not permitted to undertake onsite work. If you work in a role where on-site work is not permitted, you must work from home.

Even if you work in an industry or sector which permits on-site work, if you can work from home, you must do so. This is important in helping to limit the number of people moving around – and limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You can only work from your normal workplace if it is permitted under the Second Step restrictions and you cannot perform your role from home. 

For more advice on health and safety considerations of working from home, see the WorkSafe website.

I am a permitted worker. Can I exercise near my workplace if I work more than 5km from home?

You can exercise within 5km of your workplace if you are a permitted worker and carry your Permitted Worker Permit. 
In relation to shopping for food and essential items, you should shop close to your home. If the shops near your workplace are also the nearest ones to your house, then you may use them.

My partner is a permitted worker but can't drive. Can I take them to work?

Yes, you may drive your partner to work if they cannot drive themselves. You should carry a copy of their Permitted Worker Permit with you.

You may drive a passenger - either from your household or outside - for one of the four permitted reasons if they cannot drive themselves.

This could include taking someone you care for to the supermarket or to a doctor's appointment.

The enclosed space of a car presents a heightened risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). Where possible a passenger, who is not part of your household, should sit in the back seat in order to maintain physical distancing, and wear a face mask in the car.

Do I need a permit to attend a job interview?

Job interviews should be conducted online. If this is not practical and the job is in a permitted industry, you can attend an interview in person.  You will need to arrange for the company to provide you with a permit before you travel to attend the interview.

You must wear a face mask when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others at all times.

I work in two permitted industries. Can I work both jobs?

Working at multiple worksites should be avoided if possible. If you do work for more than one employer, you must provide a written declaration to each employer to advise them where else you are working.

Can I attend on-site if I have confidential documents or mail I need to access, but I am not a permitted worker?

No. You cannot attend work on-site if you are not a permitted worker.

I’m driving to work. Are parking lots or parking concierge services open?

Car parks that support permitted workers are able to open. Check with the relevant operator to see if they remain open. 

Are parking inspectors allowed to operate under Second Step restrictions?

Councils are only permitted to enforce essential parking restrictions where these are related to issues of safety and access. This includes vehicles in No Standing Zones blocking access to private property or bus lanes, and vehicles without necessary permits parked in disabled car parks.

Are parking inspectors allowed to operate under Second Step restrictions? 

Councils are permitted to enforce parking restrictions, including Green Parking Zones, to ensure public safety and access. Parking inspectors must wear a face covering and should maintain physical distance (1.5 metres), practice good hygiene and avoid interactions in close spaces. 

My business is closed under Second Step restrictions. Can I visit the premises for administration or maintenance purposes?

If your business is closed under current restrictions, you can only visit to:

  • ensure the facility is safely closed
  • support employees who are working from home (i.e. organising I.T. equipment to be delivered to their home)
  • address an emergency or otherwise required by law
  • emergency maintenance is also permitted.

Can offices remain open under Second Step restrictions for tasks that are not able to be completed from home? 

No. Offices that are not on the permitted work premises list cannot open. The list of permitted work premises can be found at restrictions by industry. 

My business has five or more employees, but we are not operating a workplace in metropolitan Melbourne. Are we required to have a COVIDSafe Plan? 

All businesses are required to have a COVIDSafe Plan, or a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan, for on-site operations, regardless of where it is or how many employees it has, except where it has no on-site operations (i.e. where all employees are working from home).

Vehicles used as a place of work (e.g. food trucks, dental vans) need to have a COVIDSafe Plan. Employers who operate transport services (e.g. rideshare, taxis, public transport) need to have a COVIDSafe Plan but not an individual plan for every vehicle in their fleet. A COVIDSafe Plan is not required for other work vehicles.
 

Volunteering

The following factsheet details information on how to support the community while staying safe under current restrictions.

Can I leave my house to do volunteering work?

Yes. You can continue to do volunteer or unpaid work if the organisation you are volunteering for is still operating and you are a permitted worker. You must wear a face mask when you leave home, unless an exception applies. For more information, visit the face mask page.

Even with a face mask, you should maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others at all times, and ensure you practise good hygiene such as regularly washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow.

If you can volunteer from home, you must volunteer from home.

Information for current and prospective volunteers about how to support the community and stay safe can be found at Volunteer Victoria.

I am a volunteer. Do I need a permit to travel to volunteer?

Yes, you need a permit. If you are a volunteer who is still permitted to volunteer in person, for example if you are dropping off food parcels, then you should speak to the organisation you volunteer for to get a permit to leave home.

If you can do your volunteer work from home, you should. This is the best way to help keep yourself and your community safe.

For more information visit the Permitted Workers Scheme webpage.

Do volunteers need a Permitted Worker Permit?

Yes. Under Second Step restrictions all workers attending a worksite in metropolitan Melbourne – including volunteers – must have a Permitted Worker Permit.

If your organisation is permitted to operate and have workers attend a worksite under current restrictions, it is the employer’s responsibility to issue worker permits to all staff (including for volunteers working on a formal or informal basis).

Volunteers must carry the worker permit and should carry photo identification when travelling to and from the worksite.
A worker permit can be shown to authorities via a photo, scanned copy, or on a mobile device.
For more information on the scheme, visit the Permitted Worker Scheme webpage.

If you do need to leave home to volunteer, please continue to:

  • stay at home and get tested if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild
  • practice good hygiene – wash your hands regularly and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow
  • keep your distance – stay at least 1.5 metres away from anyone you don’t live with
  • wear a face mask when you leave home.

For more information on protecting yourself and others from coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the Hygiene and physical distancing webpage.

What if I am in a high-risk group?

If you are in a high-risk group, you should stay at home as much as you can. You can still contribute to your community by volunteering online or over the phone.

High-risk groups include people aged 70 years and over, people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions, people with compromised immune systems and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50.

I live in metropolitan Melbourne but work in regional Victoria. Can I still go to work?

Yes. You may travel to work outside metropolitan Melbourne but only if you cannot work from home. If you meet this criteria, your employer will issue you a work permit that will allow you to leave home for work.

I live in metropolitan Melbourne and work in regional Victoria, what restrictions apply to me when in regional Victoria?

If you live in metropolitan Melbourne, the Second Step restrictions apply to you even if you are outside metropolitan Melbourne. This includes gathering restrictions. For example, you cannot dine at a restaurant while in regional Victoria but you can get takeaway. You cannot receive a beauty treatment or attend an outdoor entertainment venue, as these businesses are closed in metropolitan Melbourne.  

You may travel to and from your workplace in regional Victoria for work. You must limit your movement as much as possible. Employers should minimise any requirement for employees to work at different sites. An employee working at more than one site must keep a log of the places visited including date, time and place of attendance. 

You will need a permit to travel to and from work. For more information visit the permitted worker page.

Do normal workplace compensation rights apply?

If you believe you have contracted coronavirus (COVID-19) at work, you may be entitled to workers compensation. Information on entitlements and the process for lodging a claim is available on the WorkSafe website.

If you require support or additional information please contact your employer, union or the WorkCover Advisory Service on 1800 136 089.

Actions for organisations, workplaces or employers

For actions that organisations, workplaces and employees should take, visit business and industry.

Study and Education

Summary of restrictions

  • Childcare will open for all children from 11:59pm 27 September 2020. Standalone (sessional) kindergarten programs resume from Monday 5 October 2020 in line with Term 4. 
  • In-home child minding is allowed for all children, as long as only one child minder attends at any one time. 
  • You no longer need a permit to send your child to school, or to place them in childcare. You can also travel further than 5km from home to do this.
  • From 12 October primary school students, Year 7 students, Year 11 and 12 students, any students studying a VCE, VCAL, VET or International Baccalaureate subject, and students attending specialist schools will begin a staggered return to on-site learning.
  • From 26 October 2020 Students in Years 8 to 10 will return to on-site learning. 
  • On-site supervision for school continues to be available for students who really need it. That means vulnerable children who can’t learn from home, and children whose parents are permitted workers and permitted higher education students and don’t have anyone else in the household who can supervise their children. 
  • Students aged 12 years and over must wear a face mask if they are at school for on-site supervision, unless they are attending primary school. Students under the age of 12 do not have to wear a face mask. 
  • Teachers, educators and carers may wear face masks when teaching or providing care, but it is not compulsory as it can interfere with their ability to clearly communicate. However, a face mask must be worn when on-site and not teaching or providing care. 
  • Study at TAFE and university must continue to be done remotely. A limited number of exceptions apply for on-site learning.

Can my child go to school?

The Chief Health Officer has advised that staggering a return to on-site learning will help ensure we can monitor coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission as movement increases. Students will return to on-site learning on the following dates:   

From 12 October primary school students, Year 7 students, Year 11 and 12 students, any students studying a VCE, VCAL, VET or International Baccalaureate subject and students attending specialist schools will begin a staggered return to on-site learning.    

From 26 October 2020, Years 8 to 10 students will return to on-site learning.   

Students that reside in metropolitan Melbourne but are enrolled in a school in regional Victoria as of 28 September 2020 can attend school on-site, as per the return to on-site school dates for regional Victoria in Term 4.   

I am a tutor. Can I still go to private homes? 

If you are a tutor you need to conduct your classes online. If the child you are tutoring has special needs you can tutor in person, but you must wear a face mask as should your student if they are 12 years or over.

Can my child go to childcare or kindergarten?

From 11:59pm on 27 September 2020 childcare can reopen for all children. 

A permit is not required to access childcare. You can travel to drop or pick-up your children from childcare. The 5km limit does not apply.

Can my child go to playgroup?

No. Playgroups cannot operate under current restrictions.

Do students at schools need to wear a face mask?

Students aged 12 years and over who are being supervised on-site must wear a fitted face mask, unless a lawful exception applies. Using only a face shield will no longer be permitted.

Students who are aged 12 years and over and are attending on-site primary school do not need to wear a face mask at school. The Victorian Chief Health Officer has advised that it is not practical to require some primary school students to wear face mask while others are not required to.

Students who attend a special school are not required to wear a face mask but may do so if they or their family choose to. Students are not required to wear a face mask where their disability means it would not be suitable.
For more information on face mask at school, visit the visit the face masks page.

Can I still go to my classes at TAFE, college or university?

No. All TAFE and universities across Victoria must continue to provide remote learning. Collaborative assignments and team study projects should be done using online tools. Student should continue to study from home. A limited number of exceptions apply.

Only where remote delivery is not possible, final year higher education students (i.e. in  

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency -regulated courses) in metropolitan Melbourne who do not have alternative options to complete their study by the end of January 2021 are permitted to attend on-site.  

Only where remote delivery is not possible, apprentices in their final year of training in metropolitan Melbourne whose training contracts end by 31 December 2020, can attend on-site.

Actions for TAFEs, colleges and universities

Institutions must continue to provide online or remote learning.

Actions for schools

Health and safety guidance to support schools to continue to provide safe teaching and learning environments for staff and students as schools is available on the Department of Education and Training website.
 

Under Second Step restrictions, what courses allow “on-site study or training"?  (i.e. which courses/ areas of study are able to attend on-site for university and TAFE?) 

The permitted occupations and activities for which tertiary education and training facilities can have onsite attendance is available at the permitted work premises - education and training restrictions COVID-19.

Can onsite Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) training occur at workplaces under Second Step restrictions? 

Yes, training for OHS can operate in a permitted industry and onsite, if it is not reasonably practicable for the training to be conducted virtually from home. Information, advice and training should still be delivered in a way that minimises contact as much as possible, such as through a virtual meeting. 

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.