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Regional Victoria Stage 3 restrictions business FAQs

Frequently asked questions on Stage 3 restrictions for businesses in regional Victoria.

From 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August, face coverings must be worn by all Victorians when they leave home, unless they have a lawful exception.

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August, Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions apply in regional Victoria and remain in Mitchell Shire.

Do I have to close my business?

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August, Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions apply in regional Victoria and remain in Mitchell Shire. These restrictions have been introduced to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Indoor sports centres including gyms, training facilities and pools will be closed.

Entertainment and cultural venues will also close, including:

  • galleries, museums, national institutions and historic sites
  • zoos, wildlife parks, petting zoos, aquariums and animal farms
  • outdoor amusement parks and outdoor arcades
  • indoor cinemas and drive-in cinemas
  • concert venues, theatres and auditoriums.

Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, spas, tattoo parlours and massage parlours must not operate.

Restaurants and cafes can open for take away and delivery only. Food courts will continue to be closed but restaurants and cafes within the food court can open for take away and food delivery.

Pubs, bars, clubs, and nightclubs will be closed. They can offer take away or home delivery of food and alcohol only.

Bottle shops are allowed to remain open.

Hairdressing businesses can operate, provided they comply with requirements for record keeping.

The only markets that are permitted to operate are food and drink market stalls.

Am I required to close my factory/warehouse?

From 11:59 pm on Friday 7 August the following changes will need to be adopted by Victorian warehouse and distribution centres.

Each warehouse and distribution centres will:

  • enact a High Risk COVID Safe Plan focused on safety, prevention and response if coronavirus cases are linked to their workplace
  • reduce the number of people in the workplace
  • increase the regularity of deep cleaning
  • enforce the wearing of face coverings by staff on site
  • where practicable COVID Safe Plans should be designed with input from employees and their representatives

Employees will be:

  • prohibited from car-pooling to and from work
  • able to work at only one premises
  • required to inform their employer if they share accommodation with anyone working at another high-risk workplace.

This applies to all warehouses across Victoria except supermarket businesses and businesses supplying medicine, pharmaceuticals and personal protective equipment, who are under different requirements.

My business is in regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire and offers services to people inside their home (e.g. in-home care, cleaning services). Can I continue to offer these services?

Yes, in-home care and in-home services, such as cleaners or tradespeople, are permitted to continue to visit homes in regional Victoria and Mitchell Shire.

Always maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres between you and other people, especially when paying and accepting delivery of a package.

Try to use contactless payment or pre-pay online if possible.

I run a business from home in regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire (such as hairdressing, private tutoring or music lessons) - can I continue to have clients on premises?

If you run a business in regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire that has been directed to close (e.g. beauty therapy, waxing, massage parlour), you cannot operate from home.

If you run a business in regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire that is allowed to remain open (such as a hairdresser) you can continue to operate from home, although there are strict hygiene precautions in place.

Always maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres between you and other people, especially when paying and accepting delivery of a package.

Try to use contactless payment or pre-pay online if possible.

Staff travel

Can staff who live in regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire travel outside of these areas for the purposes of work?

You must not travel into metropolitan Melbourne under Stage 4 restrictions, except to buy necessary goods and services, for care and compassionate reasons or permitted work, and provided you comply with the Stage 4 restrictions.

Employers whose employees must travel to metropolitan Melbourne for work must ensure they are issued with a Permitted Worker Permit under the Permitted worker scheme.

For an employer with multiple work sites, they may decide to designate an authorised person at each work site. Employers should minimise any requirement for employees to work at different sites.

An employee working at more than one site must keep a log of the places visited including date, time and place of attendance.

Employers must not permit an employee to perform work at the employer’s premises where it is reasonably practicable for the employee to work from home.

When at work, you should maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between you and others and practise good hygiene by washing your hands regularly and coughing or sneezing into your elbow. If you are sick, stay home and get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Will I need to provide my staff with documentation if they are travelling outside of regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire

You must not travel into metropolitan Melbourne under Stage 4 restrictions, except to buy necessary goods and services, for care and compassionate reasons or permitted work, and provided you comply with the Stage 4 restrictions.

Employers whose employees must travel to metropolitan Melbourne for work must ensure they are issued with a Permitted Worker Permit under the Permitted Worker scheme.

For an employer with multiple work sites, they may decide to designate an authorised person at each work site. Employers should minimise any requirement for employees to work at different sites.

An employee working at more than one site must keep a log of the places visited including date, time and place of attendance.

Shopping, retail and personal services

Are auctions or inspection of real estate still allowed in regional Victoria and Mitchell Shire?

Real estate inspections are allowed by private appointment only and are subject to the public gathering limit of two people unless all people are members of the same household.

Face-to-face auctions are not allowed – they can be conducted remotely via telephone or online.

People living in regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire cannot leave the area for the purposes of attending a private inspection of real or attend auctions. Auctions must be attended remotely via telephone or online.

Are dental services in regional Victoria and Mitchell Shire allowed to stay open?

Dental services can continue to operate.

I am a psychologist in regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire. Can clients from outside metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire travel to me to attend a session?

No. Psychology services may continue to operate, but they cannot accept who live outside of regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire.

If you are unwell it is important that you see a healthcare professional. You may leave your home for any of the following personal reasons:

  • to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • to visit a doctor or other health professional or care service, or to obtain medicine and medical supplies
  • to donate blood.

Hospitality

Can a function centre in regional Victoria and Mitchell Shire host a wedding for a couple who reside in metropolitan Melbourne?

No. If the couple, the witnesses or the celebrant live in regional Victoria and Mitchell Shire they cannot travel outside of regional Victoria and Mitchell Shire for the purposes of the wedding. The location of the wedding determines what restrictions apply.

From Wednesday 5 August Stage 3 restrictions will be in place for regional Victoria and Mitchell Shire. Weddings in these areas will be limited to five people (the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant).

I am a café owner in regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire. What are my responsibilities?

Business owners in regional Victoria and Mitchell Shire are subject to Stage 3restrictions and have additional responsibilities.

These business owners will continue to be required to record the name and phone number of customers and staff who stay longer than 15 minutes.

These businesses must undertake reasonable endeavours to satisfy themselves that their customers do not live in metropolitan Melbourne. This can be confirmed by requesting a driver’s license or other relevant forms of ID.

In addition, business owners will need to check a customer is not from metropolitan Melbourne. Checks may be undertaken by asking customers where they live or using other reasonable efforts.

Further advice for cafes and restaurants can be found on the DHHS website.

I’m a cafe owner in regional Victoria. Can I be fined if I unintentionally serve someone who is from metropolitan Melbourne?

Yes. If you are a business owner regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire you must comply with Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions.

Victoria Police can issue on the spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses for:

Refusing or failing to comply with the emergency directions

Refusing or failing to comply with a public health risk power direction

Refusing or failing to comply with the Public Health Directions to provide information.

Fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for businesses are possible through the court system.

Additionally, individuals who do not wear a face covering and do not have a lawful reason can be fined $200.

Further advice for cafes and restaurants can be found on the DHHS website.

I am a hospitality business outside of regional Victoria and Mitchell Shire. Am I required to check the ID of patrons wishing to dine in, and can I be fined for serving them?

Under Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions, pubs, bars, nightclubs and hotels in regional Victoria (including Mitchell Shire) are closed. These services can still operate if serving as:

  • Bottle shops
  • Takeaway or home delivery of food and drink for people to consume off premises
  • Accommodation purposes.

My catering business is based in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, can I continue to deliver or serve clients outside of metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire?

Yes, you can continue to deliver or supply clients that are located outside metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Continue to practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands regularly and coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and ensure staff keep 1.5 metres between them and others when receiving or making deliveries.

For businesses operating outside restricted areas

I am a hairdresser outside of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, can I accept appointments from clients who live in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire?

Hairdressers and barbers can continue to operate and people from metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire can leave their home to attend the hairdressers. You should travel no further than necessary to access shopping and essential services.

Hairdressers and barbers must comply with the four square metre rule and must request contact details of customers for contact tracing, if required.

I am a gym or fitness club owner operating outside of regional Victoria or Mitchell Shire, but I have members who are registered with addresses in metropolitan Melbourne. Will I be required to prevent these members from using my facility?

Yes.

These businesses must undertake reasonable endeavours to satisfy themselves that their customers do not live in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. This can be confirmed using a driver’s license or other relevant forms of ID.

Stage 4 restrictions are now in place for metropolitan Melbourne and you should also inform all members that, if they live in metropolitan Melbourne, they cannot attend the fitness club or gym.

Enforcement and compliance

How will the Directions be enforced for businesses and organisations in restricted areas?

Directions will continue to be enforced through spot checks by Victoria Police and use of emergency powers by Authorised Officers to ensure compliance with the directions of the Deputy Chief Health Officer.

Industry bodies, Victoria Police, WorkSafe and Authorised Officers will work together to inform Victorians about the directions, as well as undertake enforcement and compliance activities as needed.

Community members can raise concerns about compliance with directions through the Police Assistance Line (PAL) on 131 444. Workers can raise concerns via Worksafe on 03 9641 1555. And employers can talk to their industry regulator or peak body for specific industry related support.

A Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Joint Intelligence Unit has been established to support comprehensive preparedness and responses to outbreaks and identify and manage outbreak risks.

The Department of Health and Human Services and WorkSafe will coordinate intelligence and information on businesses that are non-compliant.

What are the penalties for noncompliance?

Victoria Police can issue on the spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses for:

  • Refusing or failing to comply with the emergency directions
  • Refusing or failing to comply with a public health risk power direction
  • Refusing or failing to comply with a direction by the Deputy Chief Health Officer to provide information

Fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for businesses are possible through the court system.