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The who, what, when, where and why of the Melbourne shutdown

Image of Melbourne tram


Retail and hospitality businesses in metropolitan Melbourne that can remain open to the public after the stage 4 restrictions take effect include:

  • supermarkets and grocery shops, including all food and liquor shops
  • convenience stores and newsagents
  • fuel retailing
  • pharmacies
  • post offices
  • hardware, building and garden supplies (for tradespeople only)
  • specialist stationery services for business use
  • disability and health equipment, mobility devices
  • maternity supplies
  • motor vehicle parts (emergency repairs only)
  • agricultural retailers (drive-through only)
  • locksmiths
  • laundry and dry cleaners
  • cafes and restaurants (takeaway and delivery only)

All of the above businesses are required by law to have a Covid Safe Plan in place by 11:59pm on Friday, August 7, addressing capacity limits, cleaning, record collection for the purposes of contact tracing in the event that a customer or team member tests positive and other steps they’re taking to prevent the spread of the virus.

Retail and related businesses in metropolitan Melbourne that will be able to keep sites open under significantly different conditions in stage 4 include:

  • shopping centres, but only to provide access to the permitted retail businesses listed above
  • markets, but only for food and with strict enforcement of density obligations
  • retail stores, but only to operate click and collect and contactless delivery and with strict safety protocols in place
  • hardware, building and garden supplies, but only for tradespeople
  • warehouses and distribution centres, but only a High-Risk Covid Safe Plan in place and a maximum of two thirds of their normal workforce onsite at any one time

These businesses must abide by workplace directions coming into effect at 11:59pm on Friday, August 7. This includes face coverings, record collection for the purposes of contact tracing and cleaning processes.

All other retailers in metropolitan Melbourne must cease onsite operations by 11:59pm on Wednesday, August 5. They may continue to operate online, fulfil online orders and offer click and collect if they’re able to do so in a contactless way and have a Covid Safe Plan in place.


Under the new business restrictions, all workplaces in metropolitan Melbourne are closed by default, unless they are part of a permitted industry as set out above.

The restrictions are expected to impact 250,000 jobs and result in around one million fewer Victorians moving around for work.

The restrictions are on top of the existing requirement that everyone in Victoria must work from home if they can. This has been in place since the beginning of the state’s pandemic response.

The restrictions on businesses are in addition to new rules limiting the movement of people in metropolitan Melbourne, which took effect at 6pm on Sunday, August 2.

Under these restrictions, only one person from each household in metropolitan Melbourne is allowed to leave their home to go shopping once per day, outdoor exercise is limited to one hour per day and all shopping and exercise must occur within 5km of the home.

Schools and childcare centres are shut, except to vulnerable children and children of permitted workers, university and TAFE study is all online and everyone must work from home if they can. In addition, there is a nightly curfew from 8pm to 5am.


The business restrictions take effect at 11:59pm on Wednesday, August 5, and are expected to remain in place for the next six weeks.


The stage 4 restrictions for people and businesses apply to 31 local government areas in metropolitan Melbourne, including: Banyule, Hume, Moreland, Bayside, Kingston, Mornington Peninsula, Boroondara, Knox, Nillumbik, Brimbank, Manningham, Port Phillip, Cardinia, Maribyrnong, Stonnington, Casey, Maroondah, Whitehorse, Darebin, Melbourne, Whittlesea, Frankston, Melton, Wyndham, Glen Eira, Monash, Yarra, Greater Dandenong, Moonee Valley, Yarra Ranges, Hobsons Bay.

Outside of these areas, stage 3 restrictions will take effect across the state from 11:59pm on Friday, August 5. This means there are only four reasons for residents to leave their home: to shop for food and other essential items; to provide caregiving, seek medical treatment or for compassionate reasons; for exercise outdoors; and for work or study that can’t be done at home.

As of 11:59pm on August 2, face coverings are now mandatory across the state.


The aim of the shutdown is to severely limit the movement of people in metropolitan Melbourne, where there is now a high level of community transmission of Covid-19. This occurs when someone contracts the virus, but a direct source cannot be identified.

On August 4, Victoria reported 380 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases in the state to 11,937. There have been 5,111 recoveries and 136 deaths.

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