Current COVID-19 restrictions in plain English (Victoria)- COVIDSafe Summer
Public health restrictions in Victoria have now entered the COVIDSafe Summer.
We must all still be careful to make sure that any new outbreaks of COVID-19 are managed well and we can all stay safe. It’s really important that we all get tested if we are sick to make sure the virus continues to be traced and suppressed.
The rules below have come into effect from 11.59pm on 6 December 2020.
Can I visit my friends and family in their homes? Or can they visit me at home?
Yes – there can now be up to 30 visitors in our homes per day.
Can I see family or friends outdoors?
Yes – we can gather with our friends and family outdoors in groups of up to 100 people.
Do I need to wear a mask?
Yes – sometimes! So you must always carry a mask with you.
You must wear a mask when you go to shopping centres, department stores (eg. Myer, K Mart etc), electronic stores, furniture stores, hardware stores, supermarkets, and when you are on public transport. You must also wear masks in taxis and Ubers. You don’t need to wear masks in other settings but it’s up to you to do what is safe and makes you feel comfortable. If you are in a busy public place where you can’t socially distance, you may want to wear a mask.
Shops, cafes and restaurants and other businesses
– Retail shops are now open, but must observe COVID-safe practices
– Beauty, personal services and tattoo shops are open
– Restaurants, hotels, cafes, bars, clubs open – the number of people allowed will depend on how big the venue is as the venue must ensure that people are physically distancing and safe.
We will be expected to sign in when we go to these locations.
– Dancefloors and nightclubs can now open
– Gyms are now open – but there are limits to the number of people who can be inside. Please contact your gym for more information.
– Contact and non-contact sport can resume for all ages, with limits to the number of people.
– Public swimming pools are open, but must limit the number of people depending on how big their facility is.
What about work?
There is a staged return to work for small, medium and large companies. Up to 25 percent of staff can return to work. There must be staggered arrival and exit times. For example, your workplace may organise to have some staff start work at 9am, another group to start at 9.15am.
From 11 January, up to 50 percent of office-based workforces will be able to return to work, as long as there is enough space. Victorian public service will have different arrangements.
Your employer must have a COVID-safe plan in place. If you don’t feel safe, please speak to your local community legal centre, or call the COVID-19 hotline 1800 675 398 for advice.
What about schools and childcare?
Schools and childcare centres are now open. Schools are opening to different year levels gradually. Speak with your school for specific information and details.
What about parenting arrangements?
Shared parenting arrangements can continue for children.
What are the limits to religious services, weddings and funerals?
Weddings can now have up to 150 people in an indoor venue. If the venue is small, there will need to be less people. If the wedding is in a home, there can only be a maximum of 15 people.
Funerals can now have up to 150 people. Smaller venues will need to have less people. If the funeral is being held in a home, there can only be a maximum of 15 people.
Religious gatherings and worship can now have 150 people indoors, and outdoor gatherings can include a maximum of 300 people.
Should I get tested every time I’m sick? Or my children are sick?
Anyone who has cold or flu symptoms should be tested. This includes fever, chills/sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, or loss of sense of smell or taste.
Whenever you and your children get any type of cold or flu symptoms, you should get tested as soon as possible. Testing is free for everyone.
Where can I get tested?
There are many drive-through and walk-in testing sites for COVID-19 across Victoria. This includes some shopping centre car parks, hospitals, and community halls. You can see the full list here.
Some GP clinics are also doing COVID-19 tests. You can call your doctor to make an appointment. Some GP’s do however charge a fee for this service.
What do I do after I have been tested?
Follow the instructions you are given when you’re having your COVID-19 test. If you are sick and have any symptoms, you must stay home. If you have been a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, you must stay home until you receive your results. Do not go to work or go out shopping, stay at home.
How long does it take to get the results?
After someone has a COVID-19 test, if they have a negative result (meaning you do not have the virus), then they will receive a text message or a phone call from their doctor to tell them it is negative.
If the test is positive to COVID-19 and you have the virus, then the person will receive a call from the relevant health authorities at DHHS. DHHS will then try to support the person and conduct contact tracing to work out how or who they got it from and if they have potentially spread it to anyone else.
Results generally take 24-72 hours to come through.
I have been told I have COVID-19. What do I do?
If you have COVID-19, you will be contacted by the relevant health authorities at DHHS. There will be doctors and nurses who will also be checking on you and giving you health advice. If you don’t understand the information they are giving you, you should always ask for an interpreter. If you need an interpreter, call TIS National on 131 450.
People who have COVID-19 are not allowed to leave their home until they are told that they can by DHHS UNLESS there is an emergency. If you do have to leave your home for an emergency, you must wear a mask.
If you need extra support and help, make sure you tell the doctors and nurses that contact you.
I have been told I’m a close contact of someone with COVID-19, what do I do?
If you have been told you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, it means you were in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. This means you must isolate yourself for 14 days and not leave the house. You will also be asked to get tested twice. You will need to isolate for the 14 days even if you get a negative test result.
Speak to your doctor and the health officials for more information and guidance. It is critical that if you don’t understand something that they are saying, you should ask for an interpreter.
There are a number of support payments the government has announced to help people who need to isolate and do not have sick/personal leave available from their employer.
If you are unwell and need to be tested, you can apply for the $450 one-off payment to stay home until you get your test results. This is called the Coronavirus Test Isolation Payment.
If you need to isolate because you have COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19, and you don’t have sick/personal leave available from your employer, you may be eligible for either the Federal Government’s $1500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or the Victorian Government’s $1500 Coronavirus Worker Support Payment.
For more information on the Victorian Government payments, go to the DHHS website.
For information on the Federal Government’s Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, go here.
Please note, they have different eligibility requirements. For example, you cannot receive both the Federal and Victorian Government’s $1500 payments.
If we break the rules and don’t follow the restrictions in place, we can receive on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses.
If you have been told to isolate (because you have COVID-19 or because you are a close contact) and you don’t do so, you can receive an on-the-spot fine of $4957. You can also receive this fine more than once if you break the rules.
If you have received a fine and don’t understand why or can’t pay it, you can access support by contacting Moonee Valley Legal Service or Fitzroy Legal Service. These community legal centres provide free legal advice.
For more information about police and fines during COVID-19, see:
– Victoria Legal Aid website
– Northern Community Legal Centre website
– Police Accountability Project website
This information was taken from the Victorian State Government Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
For translated information on COVID-19 visit the DHHS website here.
inTouch also has some information with links to translated resources on the website here.
For the latest information on COVID-19, see the Victoria State Government’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website here. If you suspect you may have coronavirus you can call the hotline: 1800 675 398 – open 24 hours, 7 days.
If you or your client requires a free interpreter, please call 131 450 (TIS National), then request the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.