Five million Melburnians are under strict Stage 4 coronavirus lockdown rules after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews imposed the city’s first ever nighttime curfew on Sunday.
The state government has declared a “state of disaster” as it moved to tougher lockdown measures to suppress the spread of coronavirus following another 671 new cases on Sunday.
As of 6pm last night, Melbourne is under the toughest restrictions seen in Australia while regional Victoria will move to Stage 3 restrictions from Thursday. That will see regional areas join their metropolitan counterparts with restaurants, cafes, bars and gyms closing, while schools will return to remote learning across the state.
For those in Melbourne, stay-at-home restrictions mean residents can only venture out for a handful of essential reasons and can't travel further than a 5km radius from their home, with the measure set to be heavily enforced by police and defence force members.
A nightly curfew is in place for the city which comes into effect each night at 8pm and lifts at 5am. It will remain in place for six weeks in what Victorian Liberal leader Michael O’Brien dubbed “the harshest restrictions in our history.”
Reasons to leave your home under Stage 4
Buying food and supplies
You are allowed to leave home to purchase food and necessary supplies, and it must be done within a 5km radius from where you live. Only one person per household can leave for essential goods, and only once per day.
If the nearest supermarket or pharmacy is more than 5km away, you are allowed to travel outside the restricted radius to get there.
If you are unable to leave home because it would mean leaving a young child or at-risk person at home unattended, then they may accompany you.
Butchers, bakers and other food stores will remain open with Premier Daniel Andrews telling residents on Sunday “there is no need to be lining up at Coles or Woolworths”.
For care and healthcare
The 5km restriction does not apply for those seeking care or medical treatment and you are allowed to accompany someone for essential medical care if you are a carer, guardian or necessary support person.
If your job is unable to be done remotely from home, you are allowed to travel to your workplace, regardless of distance. You are not to go to work if you have any coronavirus symptoms.
All study at TAFE and university must be done remotely.
Partner visitation, family care and emergency
You are also allowed to leave your home to visit your partner if you are in a “intimate personal relationship”, or as part of formal or informal shared parenting arrangements. General social visits to your home are not permitted.
You are also free to travel if you are escaping family violence or in an emergency situation.
Can I exercise under Stage 4 restrictions?
Melbourne residents are permitted to exercise outside once a day, for a maximum of one hour. Those doings so will need to adhere to the 5km rule.
Gathering sizes are limited to a maximum of two people and the exercise must take place during the day, outside the curfew hours.
Change to recreation and sport under Stage 4
Organised and community sport is not allowed under Stage 4 restrictions.
Recreation activities such as fishing, boating, golf, tennis, camping and surfing etc. are also not permitted.
All outdoor recreation facilities such as pools, outdoor gyms and playgrounds will be closed.
You are only allowed to exercise with one other person and don’t have to be wearing a mask during physical exercise.
Shopping and entertainment under Stage 4
Restaurants and cafes are not open to the public and are restricted to take-away and delivery only. Pubs and bottle shops are also only available for takeaway services.
All beauty and personal cares businesses are closed. On Monday afternoon, Mr Andrews included hairdressers which must also shut for six weeks.
All entertainment venues such as arcades, galleries and theatres will be closed however libraries and community venues will be permitted to conduct essential support services and funerals only.
Housing auctions will be done remotely, with appointments required for house inspections.
Weddings and funerals under Stage 4
Weddings are not permitted at all under the latest lockdown measures.
Meanwhile funerals are allowed a maximum of 10 people in attendance, not including the person conducting the ceremony.
All religious and worship ceremonies need to be broadcast-based and have no more than five people conducting them.
Schools under Stage 4 lockdown
Remote learning for schools will come into effect statewide by Thursday as regional areas enter Stage 3 lockdown rules – which includes Year 11 and Year 12 students.
There is an exception for vulnerable children and children of permitted workers with on-site supervision offered, albeit under tightened criteria than before.
From Thursday, those same rules will apply to Melbourne's kindergarten and early childhood education services which will largely close.
University and TAFE studies will be conducted online.
How will Stage 4 lockdown be enforced?
The tighter lockdown measures will be enforced by police and defence force members with another 500 defence personnel set to head to the state.
Under the state of disaster declaration, police can be deemed special health authorities, giving them increased powers including the ability to enter and search a premises without a warrant.
A face mask mandate will continue to be enforced.
How long will Stage 4 restrictions last?
The new Stage 4 restrictions will run until September 13, with Premier Daniel Andrews adamant the six-week strategy is preferable to a lockdown lasting six months.
“I'm not prepared to accept that, or accept days and days and days of hundreds of cases and more and more death,” he said on Sunday.
“These are significant steps and not taken lightly. If we don't make these changes, we're not going to get through this. We need to do more.”
Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton credited Stage 3 restrictions with averting 20,000 cases but admitted it hadn't been enough.
“Numbers have to change,” he said.
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