How many people can gather indoors?
The number of visitors permitted in a household is now 15, a decrease from the previous limit of 30. It excludes children under 12 months of age. Front and backyards are considered part of the home.
The restrictions on outdoor gatherings have not changed. Up to 100 people are still able to gather outside from any number of households.
Where do I have to wear a mask?
Masks are mandatory in all public indoor spaces. They must be worn at all times, except when eating or drinking.
According to the Chief Health Officer’s directions published on Wednesday, masks must be worn in all indoor spaces except for premises where a person ordinarily resides, or while they are visiting a person with whom they are in an intimate personal relationship.
While masks are not mandatory during visits to another household for a social gathering within the permitted limit of 15 people, the Health Department says it is “strongly recommended that masks are worn during the visit”.
Masks are also still mandatory on public transport, when in a taxi or rideshare vehicle, on domestic flights to and from Victoria, at airports, or when working in or visiting hospitals and care facilities.
You must take a mask if you are planning on leaving home.
What about at school?
Students in secondary schools must now wear masks indoors. However, students in primary schools are not required to wear masks.
Education Minister James Merlino announced the changes just before 8am on Thursday.
“Teachers do not need to wear masks while teaching, however they can if they choose to,” he said.
“Teachers should wear masks at all other times while indoors. Changes like this can be challenging but this is all about keeping every one of us safe.”
What will happen with the planned return to work?
A 75 per cent capacity cap in both public and private sectors was scheduled to come into effect on Monday but will now be paused. The current cap of 50 per cent capacity will remain in place.
Can I keep my restaurant booking?
There has been no change to the existing restrictions for restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars.
They are open for seated and unseated service, must use electronic record-keeping and apply the two-square-metre rule.
There are no other limits on the number of customers. Venues can accommodate up to 25 people before the two-square-metre rule is applied.
What about weddings, funerals and religious gatherings?
There are no limits on the number of guests allowed at weddings, funerals and religious gatherings, however, the two-square-metre rule applies and if a service is at a private home, there is a limit of 15 visitors.
Dance floors remain open, but a four-square-metre rule applies and a maximum of 50 people are allowed on the dance floor at one time.
Have any travel restrictions been put in place?
A number of states and territories have implemented requirements for travellers arriving from Victoria. Here is a list of those that have been announced:
- NSW: Health authorities are screening passengers arriving on flights from Melbourne. Anyone who has been in Melbourne since January 30 is being asked to check the Victorian Health Department website to see if they have attended a public exposure site. If they have, they should get tested immediately and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result. Anyone else in NSW who has recently been in Melbourne should monitor the website for additional venues of concern and updated health advice.
- Queensland: Anyone who has entered Queensland from Melbourne since January 29 is required to isolate and get tested. Acting Premier Steven Miles said there were no plans to close the border to Victoria. However, he said it could close in coming days if there was a rapid escalation of cases.
- South Australia: Anyone who arrived from Greater Melbourne since January 28 is now required to get a COVID-19 test and isolate until they receive a negative result. They have to test on day one, day five and day 12, and isolate after the first test until they receive a negative result, South Australian Premier Steven Marshall says. Anyone who has been at the Grand Hyatt quarantine hotel in Melbourne will be required to enter hotel quarantine in South Australia.
- Western Australia: Travellers from Victoria will need to self-quarantine for 14 days and undergo a test on their 11th day in quarantine. If visitors have a suitable premise, they can self-quarantine for 14 days. If not, they will be directed to enter a government-approved quarantine facility at their own expense for 14 days.
- Australian Capital Territory: People travelling from Victoria can travel to the ACT, but only if they haven’t been in a COVID-affected area in the last 14 days. If they have visited an exposure site listed by the Victorian Health Department and are now in the ACT, they must check the health advice and get tested if necessary.
- Tasmania: Unless you have been at a “high-risk premises” – one of the exposure sites listed by the Victorian Health Department – there is no requirements to quarantine when you arrive. If you have been at one of the sites and are already in Tasmania, you must self-isolate and call the public health hotline for further advice. Those who have been at one of the sites also cannot enter Tasmania without an exemption.
Who has to test, who has to isolate?
Public health teams have identified a list of exposure sites linked to the new case. Anyone who has visited exposure sites must get tested and self-isolate for 14 days.
A full list of exposure sites can be found on the Health Department’s website.
Health authorities said anyone who had visited one of these “tier 1” exposure sites during these specific times needed to isolate, get tested and remain isolated for 14 days.
How will this affect the tennis?
Premier Daniel Andrews said he expected the Australian Open would go ahead.
“We all understand that there are no guarantees in any of this, but, at this stage, the tournament shouldn’t be impacted by this,” he said on Thursday morning. “These things can change.”
About 520 players and staff from the Australian Open would need to be tested for COVID-19 and isolate until they got a negative test.
Victoria’s COVID-19 response commander, Jeroen Weimar, said they had dedicated test facilities for the Australian Open players and support staff but because they were casual contacts with the positive man, they were “not as concerned about them”.
The Health Department has contacted all Australian Open players, officials and support staff who were staying at the Grand Hyatt from January 29 to February 2.
“They are considered casual contacts. They must immediately isolate and get tested,” the department said.
Authorities have also contacted all staff at the Grand Hyatt who are considered primary close contacts. The department says these staff members must immediately isolate and get tested and remain isolated for 14 days. Hundreds of Australian Open players, officials and support staff have been told to isolate and get tested in the wake of the new case.
For more information on where to get tested, call the 24-hour Coronavirus Hotline at 1800 675 398 or visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au.If you have been at an exposure site, isolate and get tested. If you have symptoms, isolate and get tested.
Simone is a crime reporter for The Age. Most recently she covered breaking news for The Age, and before that for The Australian in Melbourne.