Regional Victoria has now moved to step three of the state’s roadmap out of lockdown.
Stage three restrictions were previously in effect across all of regional Victoria from Thursday 6 August. Metropolitan Melbourne entered stage four from Sunday 2 August and you can find out all about those restrictions here.
A statewide mandatory mask policy has also been in effect since Monday 3 August.
Here are the main things you need to know about the step three restrictions in regional Victoria:
When can I leave my house?
The only restriction on leaving home is that you cannot travel into areas with higher restrictions, which includes metropolitan Melbourne.
Otherwise, there are no restrictions on reasons for leaving your house or on where you go within the state.
People can gather in groups of up to 10 people outdoors.
What are the rules for wearing masks?
People must still wear a mask or covering whenever leaving the house. 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?
Step three has relaxed some restrictions on visitors, with the government introducing the idea of a “household bubble” to allow people to visit each other again.
The household bubble allows up to five people to visit your home from a nominated household. Children under 12 months are not included in the cap.
The bubble is a mutual arrangement – so each household can only pair up with one other household. This also applies to share houses.
Can I now dine in at a restaurant or cafe?
Hospitality businesses can serve patrons outdoors with a cap of 50 seated patrons per venue and an updated “two square metre” per patron limit in place.
Indoors, venues can open with a limit of 10 seated customers per space – with up to two spaces per venue – and in line with the existing “four square metre” density rule.
Tables must be spaced at least 1.5m apart, cleaned after every customer and the details of all patrons must be kept.
There is a two-hour limit on bookings for groups of less than 10 people.
Will the shops be open?
Yes, all shops can open.
Hairdressers, tattoo parlours and beauty servers are also open, but only where a mask can be worn for the duration of the service.
What about other businesses and services?
Similar to dining out, entertainment venues and events that are predominantly outdoors are now open.
Real estate inspections are still by appointment only, but outdoor auctions can return, subject to gathering limits.
What are the rules for exercise?
All community sports have resumed for children in regional Victoria, but only non-contact sports are allowed for adults outdoors, within gather and density limits.
Outdoor exercise is also now allowed for groups of up to 10 people. Outdoor skateparks have also opened. Indoor gyms and sports facilities are still closed, however.
What is happening with schools?
All students in regional Victoria will now be expected to return to onsite learning.
The return will be staggered and will apply when term four begins during the week of 12 October.
Childcare centres remain open while adult education remains restricted, with students encouraged to learn from home if they can.
What happens to weddings, funerals or religious services?
Weddings can now have up to 10 people, including the couple, two witnesses and a celebrant.
Funerals are now allowed to have up to 20 people, not including children under 12 months and people required to conduct the funeral.
Outdoor religious gatherings can also include up to 10 people, plus a faith leader.
Where can I travel?
Restrictions on travel within regional Victoria have been eased, with people now allowed to travel within the state, with the exception of areas with higher restrictions.
In this case, that means everywhere except metropolitan Melbourne.
Tourist accommodation is open, but exclusively for regional Victorians travelling and holidaying within regional Victoria. Caps and density limits still apply, however.
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.