This Is What You Can and Can't Do in Victoria from Midnight on May 31
The message has changed from "stay home" to "stay safe" and a number of everyday activities are back on the cards — here's what you need to know.
With COVID-19 testing ramping up in Victoria over the past few weeks, the state is relaxing some coronavirus-related restrictions from 11.59pm on Sunday, May 31 — just in time for the upcoming long weekend. From then, a selection of normal, everyday activities that have been off the cards since March will be permissible once again.
Premier Daniel Andrews says the message has changed from "stay home" to "stay safe", with overnight trips allowed and dine-in service at restaurants, pubs, cafes, bars and clubs back on the cards from midnight on May 31. Galleries, museums, zoos and outdoor amusement parks will reopen then, too.
You can also have up to 20 people in your home and outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people, which is a step up from the current five visitors and ten-person gathering restrictions. But there are, of course, some rules.
These new restrictions are set to remain in place until at least 11.59pm on Sunday, June 21.
So, what exactly can you do? We've broken it down.
The below information is correct as of Monday, May 25. We'll update as any new announcements are made.
Can I see my friends and family?
Yes, visiting your friends and family has been considered a valid reason to leave your home since May 12. Under the new restrictions, you'll also be able to have 20 people in your home, including those you whom live with. Gatherings of up to 20 people outdoors, which includes picnics, yoga sessions and non-contact sport, will also be permissible. Social distancing measures should be followed at all times and 1.5 metres should be kept between you and other people.
Can I have a dinner party?
Yes, you can. At the moment you can have no more than five guests from outside your home, but from midnight on May 31, you'll be able to have up to 20 people in total.
What about going out to restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes?
Yep, parmas and pints are back on the table. From June 1, you can dine at Victorian bars, restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs, but according to the Department of Health and Human Services website, they will be required to take your name and details for possible contact tracing. Twenty patrons will be allowed indoors at once and the move only applies to food service, which means pubs and clubs can only reopen their dining areas. Bars and gaming facilities in general will remain closed — including standalone bars — and so will food courts.
Provided all goes well, 50 people will be allowed in each establishment from 11.59pm on June 21. Then, come mid-July — with a specific date yet to be revealed — 100 people will be allowed inside.
You can check out all the Melbourne venues that are reopening for dine-in service over here.
Can I exercise in a park?
Yep, outdoor communal gym equipment and playgrounds will be open from 11.59pm on Monday, May 25, with a maximum of ten people. From June 1, you can exercise with a maximum of 19 other people as long as you keep your distance (at least 1.5 metres apart). Competitive sport is not allowed, but not-contact sport — such as kicking the footy, yoga, tai chi and bootcamps — are. All the City of Melbourne's parks and the Royal Botanic Gardens are currently open.
Or taking my pet out for a walk in the park?
You sure can. Taking your pet for a walk is considered exercise.
What about going to the gym?
Not yet. Gyms, health clubs and fitness studios will be open from Monday, June 22, with up to 20 people allowed per separate enclosed space. A four-square-metre rule and a limit of up to ten people per group will apply. Showers and change rooms will remain closed.
What other exercise can I do?
Canoeing, kayaking, SUP, rowing and surfing are all allowed, as is golf. Swimming pools — including ocean pools — will be open to a maximum of 20 people from June 1, with a limit of three people per lane. Saunas and spas will remain closed.
What about driving to go for a hike or bike ride?
Yes, you're currently allowed to travel to national parks for hiking and other recreational activities. From June 1, you'll be able to go with up to 19 other people and on overnight trips, too. We'll get to that next.
Before you embark on a road trip, though, check what's open. Most of Parks Victoria's parks, reserves and historic places are now open for day-use activities. Some sites remain closed, including Buchan Caves Reserve, William Ricketts Sanctuary, Lower Glenelg National Park, Point Nepean National Park, Serendip Sanctuary, St Kilda Pier, State Coal Mine, Twelve Apostles lookouts and Werribee Park. Check for updates here.
Can I go on a holiday to a coastal/regional town?
Yes — and just in time for the Queen's Birthday long weekend, too. With the new eased restrictions from 11.59pm on May 31, there will be no limit on the distance you can travel and overnight stays will be permitted. So, Melburnians can now book an Airbnb, go camping or spend a night at a caravan park, provided these accommodations don't have shared facilities (bathrooms and kitchens). There are no restrictions on leaving or entering Victoria, but many borders remain closed so be sure to check before booking.
What about a trip to the snow?
Snow sports are allowed and the Victorian ski season will open from midnight on Sunday, June 21, but you should avoid sharing equipment where possible.
Will art galleries and museums be open?
Yep, galleries, museums, national institutions and historic sites will be allowed to have up to 20 customers per separate space and ensuring the one person per four-square-metres rule is applied. Also allowed to reopen: outdoor amusement parks, zoos, arcades and libraries. From June 22, these places will be allowed to have up to 50 patrons per separate space.
What about going to the cinema?
Drive-in cinemas will be able to operate from Monday, June 1 and, from 11.59pm on Sunday, June 21, cinemas can reopen with a maximum of 50 people allowed to watch a movie. Those who are not from the same household will be seated at least 1.5 metres from others.
Can I go shopping?
Yes, you can go shopping. That said, not all shops are open and some have changed their opening hours, so we suggest giving them a call before you head out. The four-square-metre rule will apply to all retail spaces, with patrons advised to keep a 1.5-metre distance.
Can I get my hair cut?
Hairdressers and barbers are open, but under the new restrictions there'll be a maximum of 20 people allowed at any one time. They will be required to take your name and details for possible contact tracing, adhering to the Department of Health and Human Services website's guidelines.
What about other beauty services?
Beauty therapy, spray-tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo and piercing parlours will be allowed to open, as will spas and massage parlours.
Can I go back to work?
In short, no. Premier Daniel Andrews advises that if you can work from home — and have been doing so — you should not be going into the office until at least the end of June. "I understand there'll be questions about why you can go to the pub or the park – but not the office," he said in a statement. "We just can't afford to have millions of people moving around our state – taking public transport or using the communal kitchen. Let alone when you think about the logistical challenges of getting people in and out of lifts or lobbies."
I'm on my Ls, how about a driving lesson?
Going for a drive, or a motorbike ride, are considered acceptable recreational and educational activities. Flying lessons are now even allowed.
Can I go to church?
Yes, all places of worship are now allowed to open for small religious ceremonies of up to 20 people. Weddings can also have up to 20 people, in addition to the couple and the celebrant. Funerals can have up to 50 mourners. If held in a home, a maximum of 20 people can be present.
If you have more questions, the Victorian Government has an extensive list of FAQs on its website.
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.
Top image: Firebird by Parker Blain
Published on May 25, 2020 by Samantha Teague