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Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions graphic

Update: safely reopening Victoria

From Tuesday 11:59pm on 27 October 2020, Victoria is in Third Step restrictions.

Metropolitan Melbourne will move from the Second Step to the Third Step. Regional Victoria continues in the Third Step with further easing of restrictions. See the metropolitan Melbourne roadmap summary and the regional Victoria roadmap summary for more details.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) roadmap for reopening provides steps on easing restrictions, dependent on how many active coronavirus (COVID-19) cases are in the community and public health advice.

Changes to hospitality requirements in regional Victoria

New stronger requirements have been introduced to ensure hospitality businesses in regional Victoria refuse seated service or bookings from metropolitan Melbourne (Restricted Area) residents.

If you are a business owner see advice for hospitality businesses for more information.

Restrictions in regional Victoria: Third Step of the roadmap

Regional Victoria continues in the Third Step with further easing of restriction from 11:59pm Tuesday 27 October 2020. The changes to restrictions include:

  • Indoor exercise, including gyms: can reopen with limits on the number of people in spaces. Exercise and classes can resume with up to 10 people per indoor space and a limit of 20 people per facility. Equipment must be cleaned between uses. You should wear a face mask unless you are out of breath. Exercise must be non-contact.
  • Indoor non-contact sport: can also resume for those aged 18 years and under. Up to 20 people can participate in the indoor exercise (like a dance class) with a maximum of 10 people per space. Indoor community sport is limited to the minimum number of people required to play the sport. There are limits on spectators to one parent, guardian, or carer where the child requires supervision.
  • Outdoor religious gatherings: can be held near a place of worship with up to 50 people plus a faith leader. While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe including not sharing food, drink or items. You must also wear a mask, unless you have an exemption.
  • Indoor religious gatherings: can be held with up to 10 people per group (plus a faith leader), and 20 people per facility. While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe including not sharing food, drink or items. You must also wear a mask, unless you have an exemption.
  • Funerals: will be allowed with up to 50 people if held outdoors. This limit doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age, or the people required to conduct the funeral.
  • Restrictions on the number of patrons for hospitality businesses in Greater Shepparton: ease in line with the rest of Regional Victoria’s limits. Greater Shepparton hospitality businesses can apply the regional Victoria Third Step restrictions from 11:59pm 25 October 2020.
  • Indoor pools: can open for all ages up to 20 people.
  • Live music: will be allowed in outdoor bars, restaurants and cafes.
  • Food courts: can open for indoor and outdoor dining with limits on the number of customers.
  • Transport and tours: may resume with limits on booking size.

For more information and frequently asked questions about restrictions in place in regional Victoria, visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

Staying safe

As restrictions ease it is more important than ever that we take steps every day to keep ourselves and others safe. The steps below can help protect you from coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • Stay safe as restrictions ease by washing your hands regularly, wearing a face mask when you leave home, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and keeping at least 1.5 metres from others.
  • Keep your friends and family safe by meeting outdoors. There is a lower risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) between people if you are outdoors. Groups of up to 10 people will be able to meet outdoors.
  • Face masks must be worn by all Victorians when they leave home, unless they have a lawful exception.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) get tested and stay home. Stay at home if you feel unwell.

COVIDSafe Plan required for regional Victorian businesses

From 11:59 on 13 September 2020, it is mandatory for every Victorian business to have a COVIDSafe Plan.

To ensure compliance, random spot checks are underway in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

There are six COVIDSafe principles for businesses to ensure reopening is safe, steady and sustainable.

For more information and for templates and guidance go to coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

Worker Permit Scheme

Employers requiring their staff to work onsite, or travel through metropolitan Melbourne, must issue a permitted worker permit to their employees.

Learn more about the permitted worker scheme including eligibility and the worker permit form.

Restrictions along Victoria’s borders with New South Wales and South Australia

Restrictions on the movement of Victorians across our borders with South Australia (SA) and New South Wales (NSW) are now in place.

The Victorian Government is working with other state governments to manage specific impacts on border communities as well as industries that need to cross the border.

For more information about the NSW border restrictions and cross border management in that state, including entry permits, visit the NSW Government website or call their dedicated coronavirus (COVID-19) information line on 13 77 88.

For more information about the South Australian border restrictions, visit the South Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) website, or call their dedicated coronavirus (COVID-19) information line on 1800 253 787.

No permit or approval is required to enter Victoria from another state – however you will need to adhere to the restrictions and directions that are in place to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria.

This information is correct as of 27 October 2020.

Support for Victorian businesses and workers

The Victorian Government is investing more than $3 billion to help businesses impacted by ongoing restrictions and prepare for COVID Normal business.

$3 billion in cash grants, tax relief and cashflow support will be delivered to Victorian businesses that have been most affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

Visit Business Victoria for more details and to apply.

The Victorian Government is providing unprecedented economic support to help Victorian businesses and workers through to the other side of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including the Business Support Fund (BSF) - Expansion program.

Eligible businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will now receive grants of $10,000 (increasing from $5,000), and eligible business in regional Victoria will receive grants of $5,000.

Those businesses which have already received a BSF grant, or have applied for one, do not need to re-apply. This additional allocation will be automatically applied to successful applicants.

These changes are intended to help businesses hit hard by the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Victorian Government is working closely with the Commonwealth Government and will announce further supports for businesses and workers in the coming days.

The $534 million Business Support Package announced in July, includes a $40 million Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program. This program provides direct financial support to accommodation businesses in regional Victoria impacted by cancellations due to Stage 3 restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and state border closures.

Accommodation businesses are strongly encouraged to download and read the Regional Tourism Accommodation Support Program Guidelines.

Information on the Business Support Fund – Expansion program is available from Business Victoria.

Businesses can benefit from an extended and expanded payroll tax deferral. Eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year.

The $50 million Agriculture Workforce Plan is also supporting regional businesses across Victoria during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under the plan, Business Adaptation grants are helping to keep food supply chains safe and secure, while job-matching and funding for worker relocation, transport and training is helping job seekers transition from other industries. New positions with Catchment Management Authorities to implement projects with agriculture benefits have also been supported around the state.

The Plan is part of the Victorian Government’s $500 million Working for Victoria Fund, which helps people who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic find new opportunities. Businesses across the state can register their needs on the platform and access a talent pool of jobseekers.

Business Victoria is also providing coronavirus (COVID-19) business support and has a business support and financial assistance finder tool to help businesses find a range of Australia and Victorian Government support based on their circumstances.

The Victorian Government has launched the Upskill My Business platform to give businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic free access to top online short courses and training events so they can plan for a stronger future.

Businesses can access free mentoring through the Victorian Government’s mentoring program which pairs them up with someone who can help their business adapt its current strategy to survive the impacts of coronavirus.

Business Victoria has a range of sector-specific guidance for businesses within hospitality, tourism, culture, entertainment, sport and recreation industries adapt to rules around their operations.

For advice and support for Victorian businesses, people can call Business Victoria’s dedicated coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 13 22 15.

The Business Victoria coronavirus business support page provides a comprehensive look at what restrictions are in place and the supports available to businesses across Victoria.

People can sign up to the Business Victoria newsletter to receive the latest information on initiatives and announcements that will impact your business. Go to business.vic.gov.au/subscribe-to-newsletters

The Australian Government also provides information about Australian Government support for businesses and workers.

Building Works package to provide immediate benefit

The Victorian Government is investing in new trails, rejuvenated streetscapes and even better tourist attractions as part of our rural and regional construction blitz to create jobs, attract visitors and kickstart local economies.

Check out what local tourism and regional development projects are happening in your area.

Regional Development Victoria Business Centres current operations

We’re continuing to serve the community, but you may need to contact us in different ways.

Victorian Government office receptions across the state are now closed in order to reduce face-to-face contact between staff and members of the community.

If you can contact us online, visit Regional Development Victoria. You can also call us 136 186.

Common questions about the restrictions

When will regional Victoria move to the Last Step of the roadmap?

Regional Victoria will move to the Last Step after 23 November and when there are no new cases for 14 days across Victoria.

The time period must pass AND the number of cases must be low enough to move to the next step. This is a trigger point for public health review.

To learn more about the Last Step please visit the Roadmap for reopening: regional Victoria.

How will you enforce movement out of metropolitan Melbourne into the regional Victoria?

Metropolitan Melbourne is subject to restrictions that limit the movement of residents to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Victoria Police and Australian Defence Force personnel will be out in force ensuring Victorians are abiding by the directions of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, with stronger enforcement and increased penalties for those who repeatedly breach the directions.

For workplaces, employers that require their staff to attend a work site must organise a worker permit for their employees including those working in regional areas.

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 Worker Permit Scheme or who otherwise breach the Worker Permit 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 scheme requirements. This includes employers and employees who do not carry their worker permit when travelling to and from work.

Do businesses in regional Victoria need a COVIDSafe Plan?

From 11:59 on 13 September 2020, it is mandatory for every Victorian business to have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Random spot checks to ensure compliance in metropolitan Melbourne are underway and will commence in regional Victoria from 29 September 2020.

There are six COVIDSafe principles for businesses to ensure reopening is safe, steady and sustainable.

Learn more about how to create and implement a COVIDSafe Plan.

How do I know if I need a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan?

A number of Permitted Work Premises have been identified as high risk and require a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

In metropolitan Melbourne, you are a high-risk industry if you are in the Construction, Warehousing and Distribution, Supermarket Distribution or Medical Supplies and Pharmaceutical sectors.

In both metropolitan Melbourne and in regional Victoria, you are a high risk-risk industry if you are an abattoir or meat processing facility, including seafood and poultry.

More information about who needs a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

Where can I find more information about the Permitted Worker Permit required for metropolitan Melbourne areas?

Employers requiring their staff to work onsite, or travel through metropolitan Melbourne, must issue a permitted worker permit to their employees.

Learn more about the permitted work scheme including eligibility and the worker permit form.

Do we have to wear face coverings in regional Victoria?

All Victorians must wear a fitted face mask when they leave home, no matter where they live. As restrictions ease and movement increases, the effectiveness of a face mask is even more important.

You must wear a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth. This means that face shields, bandanas, or scarves or loose snoods, loose Buffs® or loose neck gaiters on their own will no longer be considered a sufficient face covering.

There are a number of lawful excuses for not wearing a face mask.

A face mask with three layers is the option recommended by the Chief Health Officer, as it provides the best protection for you and others.

For further information please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.

Why are restrictions in place in regional Victoria, including in areas where there are no or few cases of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The Roadmap for reopening: regional Victoria provides steps on easing restrictions, dependent on how many active coronavirus (COVID-19) cases are in the community and public health advice.

The roadmap outlines safe, steady and sustainable steps to COVID Normal.

Regional Victoria is at the Third Step of the roadmap.

For more information please visit the roadmap for reopening: regional Victoria.

Why are there special arrangements for border communities that do not apply to other regional Victorians?

Border restrictions put in place by other states can have a disproportionate impact on communities who’ve built their lives across the border. Currently, both New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA), are enforcing restrictions on how far Victorians can travel into their state and for what specific purposes. Under those arrangements, there are special provisions for residents of border communities to ensure the arrangements are as workable as possible.

What travel restrictions are in place along Victoria’s borders with other states?

There are restrictions on the movement of Victorians across our borders with South Australia (SA) and New South Wales (NSW).

The Victorian Government is working with other state governments to manage specific impacts on border communities as well as industries that need to cross the border.

For more information about the NSW border restrictions and cross border management in that state, including entry permits, visit the NSW Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) website or call their dedicated information line on 13 77 88.

For more information about the South Australian border restrictions, visit the South Australian Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) website, or call their dedicated information line on 1800 253 787.

No permit or approval is required to enter Victoria from another state – however you will need to adhere to the restrictions and directions that are in place to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria.

Do you need a permit to enter Victoria?

No permit or approval is required to enter Victoria from another state – however you will need to adhere to the restrictions and directions that are in place to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria.

For the most up to date information and current restrictions in Victoria visit the Victorian Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) website or call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

How are restrictions on travel from Victoria into New South Wales being enforced?

The restrictions are being enforced by New South Wales Police and the permit process is being managed by Service NSW.

For more information about the NSW border restrictions and cross border management in that state, including entry permits, visit the NSW Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) website or call their dedicated information line on 13 77 88.

For more information about the South Australian border restrictions, visit the South Australian Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) website, or call their dedicated information line on 1800 253 787.

How are restrictions on travel from Victoria into South Australia being enforced?

Enforcement of the South Australian (SA) border is a matter for SA police.

For more information about the South Australian border restrictions, visit the South Australian Government coronavirus (COVID-19) website, or call their dedicated coronavirus (COVID-19) information line on 1800 253 787.

Will regional Victoria be able to track its progress of active cases separately to those of metropolitan Melbourne?

Yes. The Victorian Government has released two sets of case figures: one for metropolitan Melbourne and another for regional Victoria.

This clearly shows where the cases are split between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

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