Your Victorian coronavirus restriction questions answered on work, JobKeeper, surgery, masks, travel and kids
It’s a plan with a lot of details.
Victoria’s restriction roadmap for regional Victoria and Melbourne cover everything from who you can see and how, when people can return to work, when holidays might be allowed, and how long you will have to wait to have a haircut.
We’ve received a lot of questions from you, the ABC audience.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, answered.
When will I be able to return to the office?
In Melbourne, only permitted workers can attend worksites during stages one and two (with more worksites permitted in stage two).
These additional worksites will largely be across construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade and warehousing, and postal distribution centres.
For people working from home, the Melbourne roadmap says they should continue to do so if they can during the third and fourth stage of the recovery, with a phased return to many workplaces only beginning once the city reaches a ‘COVID normal’ level.
Victoria will only reach a COVID normal phase once it has gone 28 days with no new cases across the state. If the state reaches all of its targeted dates, and then doesn’t see any new cases, this could occur in late December.
In regional Victoria, only permitted workers will be able to attend worksites during the first stage of the roadmap restrictions.
From stage two to stage four, the Victorian Government will ask regional residents working from home to continue to do so if they can.
Like Melbourne, there will be a phased return to offices once the state reaches a COVID normal level.
Can I still get JobKeeper during Victoria’s extended lockdown?
Federal Parliament passed an extension to the JobKeeper program at the start of the month.
It means JobKeeper will continue until March next year, with some changes to payments and eligibility.
The $1,500 fortnightly payment will be reduced to $1,200 in late September, and to $1,000 in early January for full-time workers.
Businesses will need to prove they’re still in financial distress each quarter, and are down at least 30 per cent on pre-pandemic levels, to remain eligible for the program after September.
When will elective surgeries begin again?
The Victorian Government is yet to announce when elective surgeries will recommence.
Across the state, all category three and two elective surgery has been suspended to ensure hospitals have the beds, equipment and staff needed to treat coronavirus patients.
Urgent surgeries are still taking place and IVF treatment has been exempt from restrictions.
Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday told media the State Government would outline its plan for elective surgery when it was safe for these procedures to restart.
“That will also include a really significant blitz so that we can catch up on the time we have lost,” he said.
“So that we can get back into that position where we are doing more surgery than we have ever done.”
Do we still have to wear masks?
Masks remain compulsory in Victoria, outside of your own property.
Mr Andrews said masks were playing a part in the state’s effort to bring down coronavirus case numbers.
“Yes, it’s a pain, no-one enjoys it,” he said.
“But compared to being locked at home, compared to people becoming gravely ill … I think masks are something we should continue to do.”
When will country Victorians be allowed to travel domestically?
For residents in regional Victoria, travel to other parts of the state outside of Melbourne will be allowed once they reach stage three.
Accommodation businesses will be able to open, with caps on bookings in line with social bubble restrictions.
Once regional Victoria reaches stage four at the end of November at the earliest, residents will be able to travel throughout the state and accommodation businesses will be fully open.
For those keen to see family and friends in other states, the wait will likely be a bit longer and depends on when state borders reopen.
Last week, all states except Western Australia agreed to aim for borders to be open by Christmas, but there are no guarantees at this stage.
When will Melburnians be able to travel to regional Victoria?
Residents of Melbourne will have to wait until the city reaches stage three before being able to leave the city.
That’s when accommodation businesses will be able to reopen, too.
By the final stage of the plan, Melbourne residents will be able to travel the state without any restrictions, and accommodation businesses will be fully open.
What care is allowed for children in the home?
Mr Andrews said for Melbourne residents, in home care would be allowed for children from September 28 if the city reached the second stage by that date.
“There won’t be a need for a permit — it will mirror, in essence, the arrangements that are going to apply in childcare in broader settings,” Mr Andrews said.
Residents in regional Victoria will move to the second stage of recovery on September 13, with childcare and early education open from that date.
Can we go to skate parks after September 13?
Mr Andrews said skate parks in Melbourne wouldn’t reopen until the city entered stage three of the recovery, which will be from October 26 at the earliest.
It will be an earlier reopening for outdoor gym equipment.
He said outdoor gym equipment in parks would reopen from the first step on September 13.