News & Insights

What Victoria’s stage 4 restrictions mean for businesses

Published 05 August 2020

Gallagher is continuing to support our Victorian clients through this crisis. In response to increases in COVID-19 cases the Victorian government has declared a state of disaster and introduced new lockdown laws, including stage 4 restrictions applying in metropolitan Melbourne and stage 3 restrictions in regional areas. The following guide provides a quick reference to what this means.

The stage 4 restrictions apply from Sunday 2 August for 6 weeks until Sunday 13 September, with further controls for businesses mostly coming into effect midday on Thursday 6 August.

Stage 3 restrictions apply to regional Victoria from Wednesday 5 August.

The state borders are closed and travel within Victoria is allowed only for work and only if necessary. Police are monitoring restrictions the metropolitan areas as well as traffic seeking to leave Melbourne. On-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 to businesses may be imposed.

How businesses in Victoria are restricted by the lockdown

Workplaces in metropolitan Melbourne are closed unless the business is part of a permitted industry. Examples of industry sectors and restrictions have been published by the Victorian government.

All Victorians are required to work from home, except where it is not practical. Small business sole operators can continue to operate provided they have no direct contact with other people.


Businesses with industry specific obligations and/or restricted operations

Businesses allowed to stay open for onsite work include any ancillary operations (including IT) involved with producing, supplying, distributing, selling, repairing, cleaning of goods or services to another permitted or closed site where there are safety or environmental considerations. These ancillary operations need to have a COVID Safe Plan in place. This also applies to any services connected to animal health, including the RSPCA.

Some businesses have been identified as being high risk and are required to have a High Risk COVID Safe Plan in place and under implementation. These businesses include those operating in

  • construction
  • warehousing
  • distribution centres
  • meat processing
  • cold storage
  • aged care.

In general terms the scope of Victoria’s restrictions also apply broadly to the following sectors.

General retail trading will cease from midday on Thursday 6 August but businesses can continue to trade via contactless pick-up, delivery and click and collect with safety protocols in place. Hardware stores will be open to tradespeople only.

Supermarkets, grocery stores, bottle shops, local bakers and butchers, pharmacies, petrol stations and banks are able to trade subject to distancing of one person per 4 square metres. If you need help with shopping you must remain 1.5m apart from the person accompanying you.

Personal services
Personal services such as hairdressing, beauty and personal care, spas and saunas must suspend trading.

Private construction projects will be limited to 25% of the normal workforce onsite from Thursday 6 August. Small construction, such as home renovations or new homes, will be limited to 5 people onsite.

Government construction projects have already halved the number of people onsite, and the government is looking to reduce them further.

Restaurants and cafes can only trade as takeaway and delivery businesses. Bottle shops are takeaway only. All other food and liquor service or entertainment businesses must close.

Manufacturing and food production
Melbourne manufacturers are limited to two-thirds of their normal workforce onsite at any time from Thursday 6 August.

Victorian abattoirs statewide can continue to operate with two-thirds of their normal workforce and with strict safety measures in place.

Primary producers
Farming will continue across the state, including support businesses such as on-farm consultants, agronomists, shearing contractors and trades services.

Saleyards, livestock transportation, animal feed production and veterinary clinics will also continue operating.

All childcare, kinder, primary and secondary students across Victoria must return to remote learning, except for children of permitted workers and vulnerable children.

Support for affected businesses

For businesses forced to close or sustaining considerable financial losses as a result of the current restrictions, the Victorian government has broadened the terms of its Business Support Fund.

Businesses in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire can apply for up to $10,000 in recognition of spending longer under restrictions. Businesses in regional Victoria can apply for a $5,000 grant.

What the stage 4 restrictions are in Victoria

People must remain in their homes. There are only 4 acceptable reasons for leaving your home

  • shopping for food or essentials
  • work
  • daily exercise
  • caregiving (includes shared custody, babysitting, caring for animals, visiting someone in aged care or hospital).

People may only travel up to 5 kilometres for shopping or exercise. Some exceptions apply to specific cases.

A curfew between 8pm and 5am applies in the Melbourne metropolitan area as specified above.

Wearing masks in public is mandatory statewide

People in the entire state of Victoria must wear face coverings outside of their homes for the duration of the lockdown. Some exceptions may apply in specific cases. Fines of $200 may be imposed for failure to comply.

How we can help

If your business is affected by the restrictions talk to your insurance broker about whether your business insurance and risk management plans need to be reviewed or adjusted. Working with closely with a Gallagher specialist may help you to manage the complexity during these uncertain times.

Our Workplace Risk team can also help with formulating and implementing a COVID Safe Plan. We’re here to support our Victorian clients.

Connect with an expert


Further reading

Pandemic preparedness

Workplace Risk services

Workplace safety compliance under renewed scrutiny: 4 key updates


Additional information

Victorian government stage 4 restrictions COVID-19

Victorian government stage 3 restrictions COVID-19

Victorian government COVID-19 restrictions Victoria

Victorian government COVID-19 coronavirus business support


Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and benefits consulting services for clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance and/or risk management perspective, and offer broad information about risk mitigation, loss control strategy and potential claim exposures. We have prepared this commentary and other news alerts for general information purposes only and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal or client-specific risk management advice. General insurance descriptions contained herein do not include complete insurance policy definitions, terms and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for coverage interpretation. The information may not include current governmental or insurance developments, is provided without knowledge of the individual recipient’s industry or specific business or coverage circumstances, and in no way reflects or promises to provide insurance coverage outcomes that only insurance carriers’ control.

Gallagher publications may contain links to non-Gallagher websites that are created and controlled by other organisations. We claim no responsibility for the content of any linked website, or any link contained therein. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement by Gallagher, as we have no responsibility for information referenced in material owned and controlled by other parties. Gallagher strongly encourages you to review any separate terms of use and privacy policies governing use of these third party websites and resources.

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