atm-with-coronavirus-message
(Image: Unsplash/Nik Jay)

Victoria was supposed to be further reducing coronavirus restrictions today, June 22.

Following the latest outbreak throughout Victoria, the roll-out of fewer social distancing restrictions is being quickly rolled back in.

Here is the latest update on:

  • Social distancing in Victoria
  • Education
  • Work
  • Travel 
  • What’s open? 
  • What are the fines if you don’t follow the rules?

(This article will be updated as new changes are implemented to keep you informed.)

Social distancing in Victoria

The state of emergency in Victoria is being extended until July 19, which means that the Victorian Government may continue to enforce physical distancing and isolation requirements, as well as other directions from the Chief Health Officer.

This means that residents of Victoria may only have 5 visitors over to their house at one time and may only meet in groups of 10 outside of the home. Restaurants and bars will be allowed to serve 20 patrons at one time, adhering to social distancing rules.

In May, Victorian government said Victorians may leave the home for five reasons:

  • To shop for food and other necessary goods and services
  • To access medical services or provide caregiving – for example, this includes shared parenting obligations or providing care and support to an unwell, disabled, elderly or pregnant friend or relative
  • To attend work or education where you can’t do those things from home
  • To exercise and participate in some recreational activities adhering to the rules
  • To visit friends, family and loved ones while adhering to the rules

Given the extended state of emergency, the above largely still applies. In a June 21 release, the Victorian government says: “Our message is clear: stay safe. If you do need to see people keep your distance. No handshakes and no hugs. Maintain good hygiene. Don’t share food or drinks. Avoid crowds. And if you’re unwell – stay home.”

Education

Schools in Victoria started reopening on May 26, with most schools offering face to face learning by June 9.

Work

There will be no clear indication of when workplaces will reopen. In the latest announcement, Andrews says that people who can work remotely should continue to do so. The work from home situation will be re-evaluated at the end of July.

It is likely that there will be more answers on when Victorians can return to work by stage two of Morrison’s three-stage plan. As it stands, non-essential businesses are closed, as are offices in which the work can be performed remotely.

If you are a business owner and unsure about where you stand, you can call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15. The Business Victoria team will be able to provide you with the latest information and guidelines on which businesses can remain open and how to keep these workplaces safe. 

Travel 

There are no limits on how far you can travel within Victoria.

If you are using private modes of transport, social distancing rules apply and you should only travel with members of your household. 

Public transport is still active, however, passengers are asked to avoid travelling during peak hours if they need to get to school or work. While on public transport, passengers are asked to maintain social distancing and wash their hands thoroughly before and after using public transport. 

There are no restrictions on crossing Victoria’s border, however, the border rules of other states will apply to you if you cross them and you need to have a reasonable reason to travel.

What’s open?

  • Grocery stores
  • Public transport 
  • Chemists 
  • Petrol stations
  • Convenience stores
  • Freight and delivery services
  • Childcare centres
  • Shopping centres
  • Hairdressers
  • Cafes and restaurants with contact tracing in place
  • Mechanics
  • Butchers and bakeries
  • GP clinics
  • Universities and TAFEs, although many have resorted to online lectures
  • Banks
  • Salons
  • Cinemas
  • Gyms

A number of national and state parks are also in the process of re-opening.

What are the fines if you don’t follow the rules?

Victoria Police has been given the power to issue on the spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses who refuse or fail to comply with the Chief Health Officer’s and Deputy Chief Health Officer’s emergency directions or public health risk directions.

On the spot fines are at the discretion of police officers.

Read: What is the unemployment rate in Australia?

Peter Fray

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