Victorians remain in the grips of an ongoing lockdown, after Premier Daniel Andrews announced a roadmap to recovery and extended stage-four restrictions for residents of Metropolitan Melbourne, with more lenient restrictions for regional Victoria.
Below, we've answered some commonly asked questions about Melbourne's latest coronavirus lockdown rules and how they pertain to drivers. If we've missed anything, let us know in the comments section.
NB: CarAdvice is continually seeking clarity on these recent changes and how they specifically apply to the automotive industry.
This article will continue to be updated as new information on restrictions comes to hand. The most recent updates will be highlighted in red below.
What are the new restrictions for metro Melbourne?
LATEST UPDATE, 19/10/20: From 11.59pm on October 18, those in metro Melbourne can travel up to 25km from their homes.
There is no curfew, and no time limit on leaving home to exercise or see friends and family outdoors. There is also no limit on the amount of times you can leave home in a day.
However, you can still only leave home for four permitted reasons: shopping for food or essential items, exercise and outdoor social activity, permitted work or education and caregiving or seeking medical treatment.
You can gather or exercise outdoors in a public place in a group of up to 10 people from a maximum of two households.
Some outdoor sport and recreation facilities are permitted to reopen, groups of up to five workers who work outside can return to work in certain industries, hairdressers can return to work and commercial real estate inspections and real estate auctions can recommence.
More detailed restrictions can be viewed here.
What are the acceptable reasons for leaving home?
LATEST UPDATE, 19/10/20: There are still four approved reasons for leaving the house in place:
- Shopping for food or other essential items
- Exercise and outdoor social activity in a public place
- Permitted work, and for the purposes of education. That includes taking children to school, childcare or outside school hours care service in which they are enrolled.
- Caregiving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
Can I drive into regional Victoria from metro Melbourne if its within my 25km radius?
LATEST UPDATE, 19/10/20: Only if it's for one of the permitted reasons to leave home.
"Travel to regional Victoria is still only allowed for permitted purposes even if this is within 25 kms. This means you cannot travel into regional Victoria for exercise or recreation," the DHHS says.
What changes on November 1st for metro Melbourne?
LATEST UPDATE, 19/10/20: Dependent on case numbers, from November 1st, the four reasons to leave home will be removed, two people plus dependents will be allowed to visit others at home once a day, retail and hospitality will reopen and limits for religious gatherings, weddings and seated outdoor entertainment will increase.
What are the new restrictions for regional Victoria?
LATEST UPDATE, 19/10/20: Regional Victoria is still under third step restrictions, but they have been eased.
You can have up to two people from different households visit you at home each day (infants under 12 months are not included in this cap).
Limits for outdoor gatherings and people in cafes and restaurants have been eased. More details here.
"Businesses must continue to ensure people from metropolitan Melbourne do not eat-in," the DHHS says.
How far can I travel from my home in metro Melbourne?
LATEST UPDATE, 19/10/20: You can travel anywhere within a 25km radius of your home.
Can I visit my holiday house or second property in regional Victoria?
LATEST UPDATE, 19/10/20: If you have a second property that is in regional Victoria or is more than 25km away from your place of residence, you may be able to go there if it is for bushfire or flood preparation.
From Wednesday October 21st, regional councils can begin issuing fire prevention notices to Melburnians who need to travel to their regional properties to prepare them for bushfires or floods.
They will still have to comply with metro Melbourne rules, meaning they cannot dine-in at restaurants, take a holiday or access beauty services.
Those from metro Melbourne can only travel to their property if they have a lawful reason and relevant council permit, otherwise they could face fines of just under $5000.
Can I get my car washed in metro Melbourne?
LATEST UPDATE, 19/10/20: Yes, automated car washes have reopened and non-automated external car washes are permitted to return to work provided they are contactless and administration offices remain closed.
Do I still have to wear a face mask in regional Victoria?
LATEST UPDATE, 19/10/20: Yes, face masks are mandatory for all Victorians when they leave home, regardless of whether they're in regional Victoria or metro Melbourne.
Can I take a driving lesson?
Professional driving lessons are not permitted and you are not allowed to leave the house purely for the purpose of having a driving lesson or practice.
However, licensed drivers who share a household with a learner driver are permitted to take that learner driver out on the road to practise while carrying out one of the permitted reasons to leave the house.
For example, when heading to the supermarket, a learner driver is permitted to use this as an opportunity to practise driving.
A learner driver is also permitted to drive further than 5km from home with supervision, provided they are carrying out a essential activity, such as travelling to work.
Can I get a lift to work or to the supermarket from a friend?
If you do not have a driver's licence and don't have access to other forms of transport, you are permitted to accept a lift from someone within your household in order to carry out an essential activity or service.
People are able to accept a lift from someone outside their household only if both people are leaving home for a permitted reason, like one person is providing caregiving to an elderly relative by driving them to a medical appointment.
Can I buy a new car from a dealership in metro Melbourne?
"Yes, car dealerships and caravan sales yards are permitted to operate under a contactless click-and-collect model only, but test driving, inspections and demonstrations are not permitted," the DHHS says.
"However, if you are buying a car you can only leave home if it is necessary to buy the car at this time e.g. if you are a permitted worker and need the car to get to work."
If you have already placed an order prior to the lockdown, dealers have been permitted to stay open to fulfil these existing orders.
What is the penalty for disobeying restrictions?
Fines for unlawful gatherings have risen from $1650 to $5000.
Individuals face on-the-spot fines of up to $1652, or up to $9913 for businesses, for refusing or failing to comply with the emergency directions, a public health risk direction or 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," the DHHS says.
The penalty for failing to wear a mask in public is a $200 fine.
Can I leave home to inspect a house?
Yes, private real estate inspections are permitted to take place provided only one client attends (dependants and partners are also allowed) and no residents are home.
Additionally, people inspecting a home to rent or buy are not required to obey the 5km rule, but travel into regional Victoria is not permitted.
Can I drive to exercise in metro Melbourne?
Yes, you can drive to a location such as a park or running track within 25km of your home to exercise.
Can I drive to go shopping with someone from my household?
Yes, people in metro Melbourne are permitted to drive to go shopping for food or essential items provided you remain within 25km of your home.
There are no longer limits on one person per household going shopping, with multiple members of the same household now permitted to go shopping together.
How do I know if I'm a permitted worker?
Permitted workers need to carry a Permitted Worker Permit at all times in order to travel for work.
A list of permitted workers by industry can be accessed here.
What happens if I'm importing a car from overseas?
You can still have your vehicle inspected and registered, even if it's coming from overseas.
"Vehicle inspections are being carried out contact free and additional cleaning measures are in place to protect staff and customers," a Department of Transport spokesperson said.
"Once an imported vehicle clears customs it will need to undergo certification by recognised automotive engineer who is a member of VicRoads’ Vehicle Assessment Signatory Scheme (VASS).
"This is required to ensure that the vehicle meets our Vehicle Standards (incorporating the Australian Design Rules). When a VASS certification, as well as a certificate of roadworthiness is obtained, the vehicle can be presented to VicRoads for a registration inspection.
"The majority of VicRoads Customer Service Centres are conducting vehicle inspections, including in metropolitan Melbourne. The wait time for an appointment is generally approximately one day but some sites have longer wait times of around three days.
"If you are unwell please do not attend a VicRoads Customer Service Centre – stay home and get tested."
Can people in regional Victoria travel through metro Melbourne if they don't stop?
Yes, regional Victorians can travel through metropolitan Melbourne on their way to another location in regional Victoria.
If you stop in metropolitan Melbourne, it must be to obtain essential goods and services, to provide care or for work or study purposes.
Can people in regional Victoria travel to their holiday homes?
"Yes, if you live in regional Victoria and your second home or property is in regional Victoria then you can travel to your second home and stay there," the DHHS says.
"If you live in regional Victoria and your second home or property is in metropolitan Melbourne then you cannot travel or stay at your second property in metropolitan Melbourne. You can only travel to metropolitan Melbourne to carry out emergency maintenance."
Can people in regional Victoria go for a drive?
Yes, you can go for a drive if you live in regional Victoria. However, "where possible, carrying passengers in your car should be avoided, unless they live in your household or are part of your bubble," the DHHS advises.
Can I get my car serviced or repaired if I live in metro Melbourne?
Yes, from September 16, any vehicle can be booked in for a scheduled or logbook service, as well as for emergency repairs and recall work in metro Melbourne.
Those having their vehicle serviced should still observe the 25km radius rule.
For more information on scheduled servicing and repairs, read this article.
Can people in regional Victoria travel into metro Melbourne?
"You can only travel to metropolitan Melbourne for permitted work, care and compassionate reason, or shopping for food and necessary goods and services," the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) says.
"You can only shop in metropolitan Melbourne to buy necessary goods and services such as groceries. If you go to metropolitan Melbourne for shopping for food and necessary goods and services, then the other restrictions that apply to people in metropolitan Melbourne will also apply to you.
"You may also travel to metropolitan Melbourne in an emergency or as required by law."
Can people in metro Melbourne form a social bubble with people in regional Victoria?
No, but if your partner lives in metro Melbourne and you live in regional Victoria, you are permitted to visit each other.
"However, if you are visiting your partner in metropolitan Melbourne, you must abide by the First Step restrictions. And if your partner lives in metropolitan Melbourne and visits you in regional Victoria, they must still abide by the First Step restrictions," the DHHS explains.
When can I take a road trip or drive for a weekend away?
Non-essential travel within Victoria is not permitted and will remain restricted under both the Step One restrictions in place from September 13 and the Step Two restrictions in place from September 28.
However, the Third Step in the plan will allow for travel across Victoria – except to any areas with higher restrictions.
There is no set date for this Third Step and it will only be introduced if the average number of new cases across Victoria over the last 14 days are fewer than five per day, and the total number of new cases with an unknown source in the last 14 days is zero.
From November 23, provided there are zero new cases state-wide for 14 days, Victoria can move to the Last Step of the plan, which allows all intrastate travel with accommodation permitted to reopen without restrictions.
Can I drive from metro Melbourne to regional Victoria to visit someone in my social bubble?
"If you live in metropolitan Melbourne you can only form a bubble with someone in metropolitan Melbourne, not regional Victoria," the DHHS explains.
Can I drive my partner to work if they are an essential worker?
Yes, if the partner is unable to drive themselves.
"The worker needs to have an essential worker permit with them and the person driving them can only go from home to drop them off directly, without stopping anywhere in between," the DHHS says.
Given Victoria Police are enforcing restrictions, drivers are encouraged to have a copy of their partner's permit with them in order to prove they are carrying out this essential activity.
Can I buy a used car?
Yes, if the car is a necessary purchase to enable you to work or access essential goods and services.
"If you are buying a car through a private sale you can only leave home if it is necessary to buy a car at this time e.g. if you are a permitted worker and need a car to get to work," the DHHS says.
"You may be able to purchase a used car if it is necessary to do so, subject to restrictions (e.g. 25km radius from home; only one household member leaving home to obtain necessary goods and services once per day). Otherwise, purchasing a car should be postponed until Stage 4 restrictions ease," the DHHS says.
Furthermore, "if you propose to purchase a car from an individual, you must carefully consider whether it is necessary and if so, comply with Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions such as social distancing and wearing a face covering".
"You should not test drive a car if that involves you travelling in a car with someone you do not ordinarily live with," the DHHS adds.
Can I book a mobile mechanic?
Yes, if they are conducting essential repairs. "VACC’s interpretation of the rules would suggest mobile mechanics can operate if they are carrying out repairs to vehicles where those repairs maintain the health and safety of Victorians at home or work," the VACC says.
"They will need a Travel Permit, have a COVID Safe Plan in place and a copy in the vehicle, and the work would have to be undertaken without contact with the customer. They should also sanitise the inside of the vehicle before working on it and again when they have finished working on it."
Can I test drive a car?
Unfortunately, for the time being, test drives are not permitted under DHHS restrictions.
Are parking restrictions still being enforced?
Yes – for the most part, parking restrictions such as clearways, permit zones and timed zones are still being enforced by officers.
There are some exemptions for certain busy shopping streets in some council areas and for essential healthcare workers.
It's best to contact your local council for updates. More details here.
Can I drive to collect takeaway food?
Yes, but only if you are collecting it from a location within 25km of your home.
Can I drive to visit my partner?
"Yes. If you and your partner live in different homes, you can still visit your partner," the DHHS says.
Can I drive my children to another home as part of a shared custody arrangement?
"You are permitted to leave the house to take children from one parent’s home to the other parent’s home," the DHHS says.
Do I have to wear a mask in the car?
"If you are in the car alone or with someone from your household, you do not need to wear a face covering," the DHHS says.
However, "you should put your face covering on before you leave your car. If you are driving your car for work, such as deliveries, or with people from outside your household then you are required to wear a face covering."
Can I have passengers in my car?
"Where possible, carrying passengers in your car should be avoided, unless they live in your household. The enclosed space of a car presents a heightened risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)," the DHHS says.
Can I drive to the supermarket with someone in my household?
No. "Only one person per household can leave home to get necessary goods and services and only once a day (this means you can’t do multiple shopping trips in a day," the DHHS says.
"You should limit the time you spend away from home. If you are unable to leave home because it would mean leaving a young child or at-risk person at home unattended then they may accompany you."
Can I drive to get fuel?
Yes. Fuel is classified as a "necessary good or service" under restriction guidelines.
"You should get petrol as close to home as possible. If you are travelling beyond 25km from your home for a permitted reason, such as work, care or caregiving or medical care you can attend the nearest petrol station," the DHHS says.
If you're worried, some fuel stations are providing driveway service, meaning you can fill up without leaving the car. You can find your closest fuel station offering this service by heading to the VACC website here.
Can I travel over the NSW border by car?
No. NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said roads will be monitored at all NSW border crossings using both police road blocks and drones or other aerial surveillance measures.
The penalty for disobeying the border restrictions is an $11,000 fine and six months in jail.
Can I travel over the South Australia border by car?
No. As of midnight on July 8, 2020, South Australia's border with Victoria was closed to anyone other than returning residents or those granted a special exemption for essential travel.
Can I take public transport?
Yes, if you're travelling to complete an essential service or activity.
"Stay 1.5 metres from others you don’t live with where possible while using public transport and wash or sanitise your hands before and after using public transport. If you travel on a busy route, consider travelling outside of peak times to reduce crowding," the DHHS advises.
Can I take an Uber or Taxi?
Yes, but only if you're carrying out one of the four approved activities.
"Where possible, maintain physical distancing by sitting in the back seat, and wash or sanitise your hands before and after getting in the vehicle," the DHHS says.
Where are the drive-through coronavirus testing sites?
Pop-up testing sites change regularly. You can find an up-to-date list of all locations here.