Melbourne’s four-step plan from stage 4 lockdown to ‘COVID normal’

The Victorian Government has released a four-step plan to ease Melbourne out of its tight coronavirus restrictions.

The plan shows stage 4 restrictions will remain in place for another two weeks, with some minor changes.

Restrictions will start to ease further from September 28, moving towards a final step by late November, if the city reaches a targeted drops in coronavirus cases.

First step

This stage will begin on September 13 and will see most restrictions continue, with a small number of alterations.

Residents will need to stay within 5 kilometres of their homes and will still only be able to leave home for shopping, exercise, care-giving purposes or permitted work.

The city’s night curfew will come into place at 9:00pm rather than 8:00pm, and residents will be able to exercise for up to two hours a day, up from one hour.

People living alone and single parents with children under the age of 18, will be able to nominate one visitor to their homes.

Childcare will remain the same.

Only those on permitted lists will be able to attend schools or adult education in person.

Work, hospitality and retail restrictions will stay in place.

Some real estate activities to be allowed but auctions must remain online only.

Elective surgery decisions have not been finalised yet.

Man walks past a Melbourne alley. He is wearing a puffy jacket and a mask. A sign near him reads 'closing down'.
Stage 4 restrictions were initially due to end of September 13.(ABC News: Simon Winter)

Second step

From September 28, Melbourne will move to a second stage if the city reaches an average daily case rate of 30-50 cases over the previous 14 days.

If the city does achieve this, it will still have a night-time curfew.

Residents will still have to remain within 5 kilometres of their homes and will only be allowed to leave home for the permitted four reasons.

Outdoor public gatherings of up to five people from two households will be allowed, with infants under the age of one not included in this number.

Childcare and early education will reopen.

Schools will remain in remote learning, with a phased return of onsite learning for prep to grade two, VCE and VCAL students and specialist schools in term 4.

Only permitted workplaces will continue operating.

Hospitality, retail and real estate restrictions will continue.

Third step

Melbourne can move to this stage from October 26, if the state records an average of fewer than five new daily cases and five “mystery cases” with unknown community transmission, on average over a two-week period.

There will be no curfew, and no restrictions on reasons to leave home.

There will be no limits on the number of people allowed to leave a household to go shopping.

Up to 10 people will be allowed to gather outside.

Melburnians will be able to make a social bubble with another household, allowing up to five people from that household to visit their home.

Retail will reopen, as will hairdressing, but beauty parlours and other personal care providers will remain shut.

Cafes, restaurants and bars will reopen for on-site dining, but this will mostly be outdoors, with density limits and group limits capped at 10.

Melburnians will be allowed to travel across the state, except to places with a higher level of restrictions.

People will still work from home if they can. For schools, remote learning will continue, with potential staged return to school for grades 3 to 10, based on public health advice.

There will be a staged return of outdoor non-contact sport for adults, while outdoor sports (both contact and non-contact) will resume for under 18s, with density limits.

Outdoor fitness will be capped at 10 people, and outdoor skateparks will be open.

Up to 10 people will be allowed at weddings, up to 20 at funerals, and up to 10 people at outdoor religious gatherings.

For real estate, private inspections will be available by appointment, and auctions outdoors will have gathering limits.

A dark bar in a pub can be seen, a bartender has his back to camera, with empty glasses and lots of bottles in picture.
Up to 50 people will be allowed to dine outside at bars, restaurants and cafes.(Di Martin)

Last step

If there are no new cases across the state for two weeks, Melbourne will move to the fourth step on November 23.

Up to 50 people will be allowed to gather outside, and up to 20 visitors will be allowed to a home.

Adult education will return on site with safety measures in place, but people will still work from home if they can.

There will be no exercise limits, and all sports will resume with spectator limits.

In hospitality, group limits will be capped at 20, with 50 seated diners allowed inside.

All retail will be open, including beauty parlours.

Real estate will be open with record-keeping and safety measures.

Weddings will be allowed to host up to 50 people, or 20 in a home.

Up to 50 people can attend a funeral, or 20 in a private residence.

Religious ceremonies like bat mitzvahs and baptisms can resume with density limits.

People will be allowed to travel across the state.

For entertainment, there will be density limits and a staged return of events with seated spectators.

Large events will be assessed on an individual basis based on the epidemiology of the day.

COVID normal

If there are no new cases for 28 days, no active cases and “no outbreaks of concern” in other states and territories, restrictions will be relaxed further.

There will be no limits on outdoor gatherings or visitors to the home.

All students will return to school.

Workers will return to workplaces.

No restrictions on hospitality, but patrons’ records will be kept by venues.

There will be no limits on weddings and funerals.

Entertainment venues will be open.

When it comes to travel, Melburnians will still be subject to international border controls.

State borders could be closed in case of outbreaks.