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Visit Victoria is monitoring the rapidly changing situation with regard to COVID-19 in Victoria and its impacts on the tourism and events industries and will continue to share information and updates as they come to hand.

The following information is correct as of 19 March 2020. For the latest information, visit Victoria's Department of Health and Health Services website.

State of Emergency

A State of Emergency lasting four weeks has been declared in Victoria, from midday Monday 16 March, to combat COVID-19. This is to help enforce the various measures in place by government to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 and give our health system the best chance of managing the virus.

Ban on organised events and public gatherings

New legal directions were issued on Wednesday 18 March which confirm the ban on outdoor gatherings of 500 or more people, and introduce a new ban on indoor gatherings of 100 or more people, in Victoria. This includes, among other activities, creative and cultural events and festivals, and events at indoor venues such theatres, cinemas and pubs.

Under these bans, people are prohibited from organising and attending mass gatherings. People are also banned from allowing mass gatherings to occur on premises they own, control or operate.

The bans have the force of law, and penalties apply if they are breached. They are in place from 5pm on 18 March 2020 to midnight on 13 April 2020. Certain gatherings are excluded from the operation of the ban. View the Victorian Government media release for more detail.

Self-quarantine following overseas travel

A new legal direction was also issued which confirms the requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival from a place outside of Australia.

The self-quarantine requirement has the force of law, and penalties apply if it is breached. This requirement also operates from 5pm on 18 March 2020 to midnight on 13 April 2020.

Guidance on overseas travel

The Australian Government has advised all Australians not to travel overseas at this time.

For Australians who are already overseas and wish to return, it is recommended that they do so as soon as possible.

For the latest travel advice, visit Smart Traveller

Temporary closure of Victoria’s state-owned cultural institutions

Victoria’s state-owned cultural institutions have announced the announced temporary closures of their venues from Monday 16 March and the cancellation of programs and events in response to COVID-19.

Arts Centre Melbourne, Museums Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, State Library Victoria, Melbourne Recital Centre and Geelong Arts Centre have all announced temporary closures as a precautionary measure to help slow the transmission of the virus in Victoria and help protect Victorians.

More detail on the closures and these impacted venues.

A large number of other creative and cultural venues, festivals and organisations have also announced temporary closures, event cancellations and program changes.

Reducing exposure, social distancing and staying healthy

Take the following steps to reduce your exposure and chances of getting ill with COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly.
  • Stay home if you are sick and don’t expose others. If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, do not go outside your property or home, do not go to work, school or shops unless it is essential.
  • Get vaccinated for flu (influenza) when available in April. It is not yet known whether COVID-19 could significantly increase the risks of influenza infection.
  • Ensure you have enough supply of any medications being taken by you or your family.
  • Stop shaking hands or kissing as a greeting.
  • To minimise contact, and where possible, use debit and credit cards instead of cash and make use of online and self-serve transactions (for example, Myki top ups).
  • Use public transport in less busy periods if you can, or avoid it altogether if you are vulnerable.
  • Sit in the back of taxis and ride shares
  • Consider whether future travel plans are sensible and necessary.

In addition to the above, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website also contains transmission reduction tips for organisations, workplaces and employers and information on caring for sick family members.

The Australian Government’s social distancing fact sheet contains information what social distancing means in the workplace, in public, at home or in schools.

Further information and resources