This explainer is currently in the process of being updated. In the meantime, you can visit our live blog for the latest updates to Victorian restrictions that will apply from Friday. There’s also a news story here.
Melbourne restrictions eased slightly from Wednesday 29 September when Victoria hit its 80% first dose vaccination target.
The Moorabool shire and Shepparton were to enter seven-day lockdowns from 11.59pm on Friday 1 October.
From Wednesday 29 September, Mitchell Shire entered lockdown until further notice .
In metropolitan Melbourne as well as Shepparton, Moorabool and Mitchell, residents are allowed to travel up to 15km from home for exercise and shopping. That’s increased from 10km.
“Contactless” outdoor recreation – such as boating, tennis or golf – is allowed as is personal training with up to five people, as long as everyone is vaccinated.
Playground restrictions have been lifted, with normal gathering limits to apply. Masks can be removed to eat or drink.
Restaurants and cafes in regional Victoria will have their outdoor caps lifted from 20 to 30 people, and hair and beauty salon customers will be able to remove their masks if required for facials or beard trimming.
A full and current update can be found in the table of restrictions at the bottom of this media release.
Full details of the Victorian roadmap to freedom can be found here.
When can I leave my house?
From Wednesday 29 September, there are six reasons to leave your house in metropolitan Melbourne, Shepparton, Moorabool and Mitchell shires.
Shopping for essentials;
Authorised work, if you cannot work from home, or education;
Exercise for up to four hours;
Caregiving, compassionate and medical reasons;
To get vaccinated.
Limited outdoor social interaction will be allowed.
One person may meet another person not from their household for a picnic, a walk, or another outdoor activity. Additionally, up to five adults (plus dependents) from two households will be able to gather outdoors if all adults present have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Child-minding for school-age children will be permitted if only one parent is an authorised worker.
Up to five people are able to attend an entertainment venue or physical recreation facility to broadcast a performance, class, or concert.
Real estate inspections will resume by appointment only. To ensure they’re CovidSafe, only people from the same household can attend the inspection appointment and the real estate agent must stay outdoors during the inspection.
Essential workers who can’t work from home need to get a permit to go to work.
Can I go out at night?
People in metropolitan Melbourne must stay home between 9pm and 5am. The curfew is not in place for regional Victorian local government areas under lockdown orders.
How far can I travel from home?
The distance you can leave home for shopping for necessary goods and services, exercise and outdoor social interaction has increased from 10km to 15km in metropolitan Melbourne, Shepparton, Moorabool and Mitchell shires.
What are the rules for exercise?
In metropolitan Melbourne, Shepparton, Moorabool Shire and Mitchell Shire public gathering limits apply for outdoor recreation facilities. Contactless exercise is allowed, as is outdoor personal training with up to five people, as long as they and the trainer are all vaccinated.
Playgrounds have reopened.
What are the rules for wearing face masks?
Masks must be still worn everywhere except for in your home. This includes both indoor places and outdoor areas – unless you have a medical exemption. It also applies to all workplaces and secondary schools.
In regional Victoria, masks may be removed in hairdressing and beauty salons if the service requires it.
It is recommended all primary-school-age children wear masks indoors and outside, except when at home or if an exception applies.
Masks cannot be removed to drink alcohol outdoors.
What are the rules for construction?
Victoria’s construction industry is currently shut down.
Is regional Victoria included?
Regional Victoria is not under restrictions from Wednesday 29 September, aside from, Shepparton, Moorabool and Mitchell shire.
Can I have visitors to my house?
No, visitors to homes in Victoria are not allowed, other than an intimate partner, or a nominated person for someone who lives alone.
Can I travel interstate?
Each state and territory is updating guidance on travel rules individually:
What about the Victoria-NSW border bubble?
People living in border communities with NSW are able to travel without a permit.
What about if I live in Victoria, but I’m in NSW and want to return home?
More Victorian residents stranded in NSW were able to apply for a permit to return home from Monday 20 September after the premier, Daniel Andrews, downgraded 66 local government areas in NSW, plus Jervis Bay, from extreme to red zones under Victoria’s travel permit system.
Those stuck in red zones, which included Sydney, were allowed to return home from Thursday 30 September if fully vaccinated.
All returning Victorians will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days with Covid-19 testing required within 72 hours of arrival.
What about public gatherings?
In regional Victoria, excluding locked down local government areas, funerals can have 20 people attend and weddings will be allowed to hold up to 10 people, plus those needed to conduct the service. However stricter limits remain in place for weddings and funerals with people from Melbourne in attendance.
What is happening with schools?
Childminding for school-age children will be permitted if only one parent is an authorised worker.
Schools have reopened for prep to year two and year 12 students in regional Victoria, excluding locked down local government areas.
Remote learning will remain for all other levels. Vulnerable children and the children of essential workers will still be able to access onsite supervision. Higher education has also switched to remote learning.
Childcare centres and kindergartens are still open, but only for vulnerable children, or the children of authorised workers if they cannot work from home or if no supervision is available at home. Allowed in-home care, such as babysitters, has been expanded to include school-age children, but only if both parents are authorised workers.
Single parents in Melbourne are able to access childcare, regardless of whether they are an authorised worker.
Can I dine in at a restaurant or cafe?
In regional Victoria (excluding City of Shepparton, Moorabool Shire and Mitchell Shire ), restaurants and cafes can open for seated service with a maximum of 30 outdoors and 10 indoors, depending on density limits.
Patron caps will also apply to retail, hairdressing, entertainment venues and community facilities.
Businesses will be required to check IDs of everyone they serve, to ensure they are from the regional Victoria area. Density requirements apply.
Are the shops open?
In Melbourne, essential retail, such as supermarkets and chemists, will remain open. Other stores are closed.
What about weddings, funerals and religious services?
Funerals will be able to go ahead indoors and outdoors with up to 10 people, plus those required to conduct the funeral.
Weddings are not allowed, unless end of life or other exceptional circumstances apply.
People involved in producing religious broadcasts must be the same group of people each time.
What about aged care and hospitals?
No visitors are allowed at aged care facilities except for limited reasons. There will be no visitors to hospitals allowed except for end of life, if you’re a partner during the birth of your child, or a parent accompanying a child.
Can I go and get vaccinated?
Getting vaccinated is one of the reasons people who are eligible to receive the jab can leave home. Free Covid-19 vaccines are available for everyone aged 12 years and over at state-operated vaccination sites. Call the hotline on 1800 675 398 to book an appointment.
When do I have to isolate?
For people living in Victoria, only those with Covid-19 or who are identified as a primary close contact for someone with Covid-19 will have to isolate for 14 days.
Secondary close contacts up until 9 October also had to isolate, but new rules now mean they do not have to isolate or get tested unless they have symptoms.
Where a primary contact shares a household, those secondary contacts in the same household do not need to isolate, so long as the primary contact is isolating away from the rest of the household.
Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is regularly updated to ensure it reflects the current situation at the date of publication. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will continue to be footnoted in line with Guardian editorial policy.