After Victoria recorded another 671 cases of coronavirus on Sunday and seven deaths, premier Daniel Andrews announced a “state of disaster” and sweeping new Covid restrictions across the state.
Stage 3 restrictions will be in effect across all of regional Victoria from Thursday 6 August. The Covid-19 restrictions for Mitchell shire, which was already under stage three, will remain the same.
Metropolitan Melbourne entered stage four restrictions from 6pm on Sunday 2 August – and you can find out all about stage 4 restrictions here.
A previously announced statewide mandatory mask policy is also in effect from Monday 3 August.
While many of the rules for regional Victoria will be the same as the stage three lockdown that was imposed in March, there are some differences too.
Here are some of the main things you need to know about the stage three restrictions in regional Victoria:
When does the lockdown start?
The stage three restrictions covering regional Victoria come into effect from 11.59pm on Wednesday 5 August.
When can I leave my house?
As during the previous stage three lockdown, the four reasons to leave the house are: shopping for food and essential items, care and caregiving, daily exercise, work and study. But if you can work or study from home, you must. Employers must support you to work from home.
Caregiving includes managing shared custody arrangements, using a babysitter, leaving home to care for animals housed elsewhere, visiting someone in an aged care home, and visiting someone in hospital. Specific directions apply.
You can leave your house if you are at risk of family violence or to apply for an intervention order, and to attend court or a police station.
You can also leave your house to access medical services. This time around, that explicitly includes leaving your house to give blood. Access to medical services is unrestricted: you can access them anywhere in Victoria.
What are the rules for wearing masks?
It has been mandatory for people in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell shire to wear face coverings in public since midnight on Wednesday 22 July. That rule is extended to the entire state from midnight Sunday 2 August.
People must wear a mask or covering whenever leaving the house during the state’s second lockdown. There are a few exceptions. People with a medical reason are exempt, as are children younger than 12. Those who have a professional reason “or if it’s just not practical, like when running” are also exempt, but those people will still be expected to carry a face covering at all times “to wear when you can”.
In schools, teachers will not need to wear a face covering while teaching, but students attending classes will. Both teachers and students will need to wear a mask on the way to and from school.
Andrews said “common sense” would guide how the new rules are enforced. People would not be required to wear one when it was impractical, such as when exercising or visiting a bank.
Breaking the rules is punishable with a $200 fine.
Can I have visitors to my house? Can I see my partner?
You cannot have visitors or go to another person’s house unless it is for the purpose of giving or receiving care. You can leave your house to visit a person if you are in an “intimate personal relationship” with them. That is, there is no “bonk ban”.
Can I still dine in at a restaurant or cafe?
No. Restaurants and cafes will only be able to trade as takeaway and delivery businesses.
Will the shops be open?
Shopping centres, markets and other retailers will be allowed to trade but subject to density rules limited by people per square metre. Strictly speaking, you will only be allowed to go to the shops to buy food and essential items. If you need help with shopping, or need to help a friend or family member, you can go shopping together but remain 1.5m apart.
What about other businesses and services?
Pubs, bars and nightclubs will be closed and bottle shops will be takeaway only. Beauty services will be closed, but hairdressers can stay open.
Entertainment and cultural venues such as music venues, museums, indoor and outdoor cinemas, and the casino will be shut. Brothels and strip clubs will also shut. Libraries and community venues can only stay open for essential services, or to host weddings and funerals.
Real estate inspections will be by appointment only and auctions will be conducted remotely.
What are the rules for exercise?
Exercise is still a permitted reason to leave your house.
Swimming pools, playgrounds and gyms will be shut, and community sport will also stop. Sports like golf, tennis and boating can continue.
You can exercise with members of your household or one other person. You can also hire a personal trainer.
What is happening with schools?
Year 11 and 12 students, along with all other students, will return to remote learning from Wednesday across Victoria, except for children of permitted workers and vulnerable children.
Specialist schools, childcare and kinder will remain open for all children.
What happens to weddings, funerals or religious services?
Religious services will need to be broadcast online. Weddings will be able to include five people (couple, two witnesses and the celebrant) while the limit will be for 10 people at funerals (not including those conducting the service).
Holiday accomodation and camping venues must close. Travel within Victoria is allowed only for work and education, and only if necessary.
Where can I travel?
Travel within regional Victoria is allowed for work or study, medical care and caregiving, shopping for food or supplies. Exercise is not a valid reason to travel.
Holiday accommodation and camping is closed except for resident, emergency accommodation and work purposes.
You cannot visit a second place of residence, with limited exceptions, such as in an emergency, for maintenance or shared custody, or to stay with an intimate partner who does not live with you.
Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that 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.