Melbourne Stage 4 Restrictions and COVID-19 Lockdown Rules Explained

With COVID-19 cases rapidly rising across the state, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a slate of tough new laws that significantly restrict movement. The new Melbourne stage 4 restrictions and coronavirus lockdown rules are seemingly changing every day, so residents in metropolitan Melbourne are understandably confused. To make sense of the new Melbourne stage 4 restrictions, we’ve put together this guide to staying safe. For those outside of Victoria, it’s worth taking note, this could soon be a nationwide reality.

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At present, there are over 11,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 120 deaths across the state of Victoria. The new restrictions come in direct response to the rapidly escalating disaster, with the state government attempting to contain the spread of the virus, which seems to be swelling by the minute. As concern over a second wave in New South Wales gathers speed, the country is firmly in crisis-mitigation mode.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Melbourne stage 4 restrictions and lockdown measures.

What is the Melbourne Stage 4 Lockdown?

Introduced across the Victorian capital of Melbourne, the new stage 4 restrictions relate directly to the metropolitan city. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that the new restrictions have been brought in the reduce community transmission of the deadly COVID-19 virus that has been decimating the region. Andrews confirmed that the government modelling showed that without these measures, stage three restrictions would need to last six months.

When Does Lockdown Start?

The new Melbourne stage 4 lockdown restrictions began in the metropolitan region on Sunday 2 August and will last for a total of six weeks. Under the plan, the Melbourne lockdown is expected to end on Sunday 13 September, however, the result is highly dependent on the rate of community contraction. Should the situation get any worse, it is likely that the Andrews government will extend the initial lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions.

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Can I Leave My House?

As part of the stage 4 restrictions, certain limitations have been placed on community interaction and social outdoor activities. Under the guidelines, you are only permitted to leave your house for four reasons. These include;

  • Shopping for food and essential items – Shopping for food and necessary supplies must be within 5km distance from your home, except if the nearest supermarket is further than 5km. Additionally, one one person per household can go shopping each day.
  • Care and caregiving – This includes managing shared custody arrangements, using a babysitter, leaving home to care for animals housed elsewhere, visiting someone in an aged care home and visiting someone in hospital.
  • Daily exercise – Exercise must take place within 5km of home, and must be in metropolitan Melbourne. Exercise is limited to one hour, once per day.
  • Work – Employers must support workers to work from home if possible.

Further to this, employers must support you to work from home if this is a viable and suitable option. Where the Melbourne stage 4 restrictions differ from previous variations is in the timing of the movements. These new measures introduce a curfew for all Melbourne residents between 8pm and 5am.

Additionally, exemptions are granted for those at risk of family violence, those needing to apply for an intervention order, and those who are required to attend court or a police station. You can also leave your house to access medical services. This time around, that explicitly includes leaving your house to give blood. Access to medical services is unrestricted: you can access them anywhere in Victoria.

Which Businesses are Open?

Like the initial spate of lockdown protocols we endured earlier this year, Melbourne has returned to streamlined business operation. Under stage 4 restrictions, only essential businesses are permitted to open, meaning many of the state’s vibrant business scene has been forced to temporarily shut up shop. Premier Andrews has outlined business restrictions as pertaining to three categories. They are as follows:

  • Businesses largely as normal – This includes shops like supermarkets, butchers, takeaway food outlets, pharmacies and greengrocers.
  • Reduced total output – Businesses may be instructed to reduce output, resulting in fewer shifts and less contact between workers.
  • Businesses that will close – Non-essential businesses that can’t move to a work-from-home model will be forced to stop operating.

Here is a list of businesses in Melbourne that will remain open;

  • Supermarkets
  • Grocery stores
  • Bottle shops
  • Pharmacies
  • Petrol stations
  • Banks
  • Newsagencies
  • Post offices

Which Businesses are Closed?

As with previous announcements, all non-essential services have closed. Here is a list of business that will cease for the next six weeks;

  • Retail
  • Some manufacturing
  • Administration

According to the Victorian government, these businesses will all need to close by 11:59pm Wednesday 5 August, unless they have specific circumstances that mean they need longer to shut down safely. “Retail stores not listed above will be permitted to operate contactless ‘click and collect’ and delivery services with strict safety protocols in place,” the government says. Hardware stores can remain open onsite, but for tradespeople only.

Similarly, some of the industries that are set to stay open must do so on reduced limitations. This includes mandated reductions to the number of workers onsite.

  • Meat industry – This workforce will be scaled back to two-thirds. This will apply to abattoirs in Melbourne and across the state.
  • Warehousing and distribution centres – In Melbourne, these will be limited to no more than two-thirds the normal workforce allowed onsite at any one time.
  • Construction sector – This will also move to pilot-light levels. For major construction sites, that means the absolute minimum required for safety – but no more than 25 per cent of the normal workforce onsite. Small-scale construction will be limited to a maximum of 5 people onsite.

As per the Victorian Government, “these workplaces that are continuing to operate will also have additional requirements including extra PPE, staggering shifts, staggering breaks, health declarations and more support for sick workers to ensure they stay home.”

You can also learn more about non-essential services and non-essential businesses here.

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What are the Face Mask Rules?

As you may well have read by now, face masks are now mandatory within the state of Victoria. As of midnight on Wednesday 22 July, it is a requirement that residents in local government areas within metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell shire wear face coverings in public, with the rule extended to the entire state as of midnight Sunday 2 August.

Under the Victorian stage 4 restrictions and lockdown measures, all people must wear a mask or covering whenever leaving the house. There are a few exceptions, however, it must be pointed out that these exceptions are extremely rare. These include;

  • People with a medical reason are exempt, as are children younger than 12.
  • Those who have a professional reason, but those people will still be expected to carry a face covering at all times “to wear when you can”.

In schools, teachers will not be required to wear a face mask while teaching but students attending classes will. Both teachers and students will be required to wear a face covering on the way to and from school. Should any Victorian be caught not following these rules, they will be subject to a $200 fine.

You can check out our guide to buying a face mask in Australia here.

Do the Melbourne Stage 4 Restrictions Apply to Me?

If you are a resident of metropolitan Melbourne, the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions do apply to you. These municipalities include;

  • Banyule
  • Hume
  • Moreland
  • Bayside
  • Kingston
  • Mornington Peninsula
  • Boroondara
  • Knox
  • Nillumbik
  • Brimbank
  • Manningham
  • Port Phillip
  • Cardinia
  • Maribyrnong
  • Stonnington
  • Casey
  • Maroondah
  • Whitehorse
  • Darebin
  • Melbourne
  • Whittlesea
  • Frankston
  • Melton
  • Wyndham
  • Glen Eira
  • Monash
  • Yarra
  • Greater Dandenong
  • Moonee Valley
  • Yarra Ranges
  • Hobsons Bay

Regional Victoria is set to return to stage three restrictions from Wednesday 5 August.

Are Restaurants Open?

The Melbourne stage 4 restrictions have not completely closed restaurants just yet, however, the industry has reverted back to previous measures. Residents will not be able to dine in a restaurant, however, the businesses are allowed to trade for takeaway and delivery orders.

Will the Shops Be Open?

As mentioned above, only the essential businesses and essential services will be open to the public in Melbourne. This means that shopping centres, markets and other retailers will be allowed to trade, however, they must abide by the strict social distancing and density laws put in place by the state government.

As a general rule, you will only be allowed to go to the shops to buy food and essential items. If you need help with shopping, or need to help a friend or family member, you can go shopping together but remain 1.5m apart. As with other restaurants, pubs, bars and nightclubs will be closed and bottle shops will be takeaway only.

Entertainment and cultural venues such as music venues, museums, indoor and outdoor cinemas, and the casino will be shut, with brothels and strip clubs will closing. Libraries and community venues can only stay open for essential services, or to host funerals. As it was under the previous lockdown guidelines, real estate inspections will be by appointment only and auctions will be conducted remotely.

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Can I Exercise Outdoors Under the Melbourne Stage 4 Restrictions?

Under the new Melbourne stage 4 restrictions, you are still permitted to exercise outdoors, but you will not be allowed to leave metropolitan Melbourne to do so. This means long bush walks or leaving Melbourne to go fishing or surfing are no longer permitted. Further to this, exercise can only happen within 5km of home, and must be in metropolitan Melbourne. The activity is also limited to one hour, once per day.

Swimming pools, playgrounds and gyms will be shut, and community sport will also cease. It is allowed that you exercise with one other person, including members of your household. You can also hire a personal trainer.

Are Schools Closing in Melbourne?

As of Wednesday, year 11 and 12 students, along with all other students, will return to remote learning across Victoria. The only exemption is for children of permitted workers and vulnerable children. Additionally, childcare and kinder will be closed except for children of permitted workers and vulnerable children.

Can I Have Visitors to My House?

As of the time of publication, Melburnians are unable to have visitors over to their house or to attend another person’s house unless it is for the purpose of giving or receiving care. You are allowed to visit your partner, provided you are in an “intimate personal relationship”, thus avoiding the infamous UK ‘bonking ban’.

If your partner lives outside Melbourne and/or 5km of your home you can still visit them, even during curfew hours, however, this must be exercised with caution.

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What are the Rules Around Weddings and Funerals?

The introduction of Melbourne’s stage 4 restrictions means that weddings will no longer be permitted starting Thursday, 6 August. For funerals, a new cap has been placed on the number of attendees, with a limit of 10 people at funerals (not including those conducting the service). All religious services will now need to be broadcast online.

Can I Travel to/From Melbourne?

If Melbourne is your primary place of residence, you are unable to leave the region, even if it is to attend a holiday home or second domicile. If you are not from Melbourne, you cannot travel there unless it’s for work or study, medical care and caregiving, shopping for food or supplies. Exercise is not a valid reason to travel.

What Happens if I Break the Stage 4 Lockdown Rules?

At the moment the implications for breaking the rules remain financial draining. Premier Andrews has said police will monitor traffic seeking to leave metropolitan Melbourne and officers would also enforce the restrictions within the city. The Victorian police force has been granted permission to issue on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 to businesses. That being said, the rolling and rapidly changing conditions could see that figure rise.

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General FAQs

What is the fine for breaking Melbourne’s stage 4 lockdown rules?

The Victorian police force has been granted permission to issue on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 to businesses.

When do the stage 4 restrictions for Victoria take affect?

The new Melbourne stage 4 lockdown restrictions begin in the metropolitan region from Sunday August 2 and will last for a total of six weeks. Under the plan, the Melbourne lockdown is expected to end on Sunday 13 September, however, the result is highly dependent on the rate of community contraction.

What time is the Melbourne lockdown curfew?

The Melbourne stage 4 restrictins introduce a curfew for all Melbourne residents between 8pm and 5am. You are only permitted to break this curfew if you are travelling to and from work, giving or receiving care, at risk of family violence, needing to apply for an intervention order, required to attend court or a police station, or giving blood.