COVID-19 Stay At Home Directions - What you can and cannot do in Victoria.
Many people are confused about the extent of restrictions imposed by the Stay At Home Directions. Here I provide a non-exhaustive list of what you can and cannot do in Victoria since midnight 30 March 2020. But before that, I outline the background of these directions.
1. What? There are 'Directions'?
Yes. On 30 March 2020, the Deputy Chief Health Officer on behalf of the State of Victoria (let's call it the State for now) gave the Stay At Home Directions. It's official now.
You can download the Directions here: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/202003/Stay%20at%20Home%20Directions%20.pdf
2. What about our human rights?
The State can act against your rights by using its exceptional power called the 'emergency power', and by declaring the State as a State of Emergency.
The State can detain people, restrict people's movement, prevent entry to people's houses or give other directions to combat a serious risk to public health.
So don't complain about having no freedom of movement now. You're saving lives by not enjoying your human rights.
3. Can they actually punish me if I don't follow
Hell yes. Here's the law --- Section 203 of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 says:
Compliance with direction or other requirement
(1) A person must not refuse of fail to comply with a direction given to the person or a requirement made of the person, in the exercise of a power under an authorisation given under section 199.
Penalty: In the case of a natural person, 120 penalty units.
In the case of a body corporate, 600 penalty units.
1 penalty unit is currently $165.22 (as at 1 July 2019). So if you are a natural person, be prepared to pay $165.22 x 120 = $19,826.40 and if you are a company, be prepared to pay $99,132.00.
4. And what can be my defence?
Only if you 'had a reasonable excuse for refusing or failing to comply with the direction or requirement'.
But chances are you didn't.
5. Must I stay home?
Yes you must stay home.
6. When can I leave home?
First of all, you need to define your 'home' - what is the address of your usual home, if you have two, for e.g. one in the city one in the outskirts then you can have two homes.
You can leave home only if:
You need to buy food or drink.
You need to buy medicine or other things for health/medical purposes.
You need to seek health or medical services like doctors (but now we have Tele-health).
You need to obtain other 'necessary goods and services', such as: go to the bank, go to Centrelink or other government body, post office, pharmacy, hardware store, petrol station, pet store or vet.
You need to get something from a retail facility that is not prohibited from operating by the Restricted Activity Directions, i.e. places other than --- beauty therapy salon, tanning salon, waxing salon, nail salon, spa, massage parlour, tattoo parlour, auction house (except virtual auction), market stall (except take away food/drink market stall). Sounds like Louis Vuitton can still operate.
You need to pick up or drop off your child as part of a shared parenting arrangement.
You need to visit a child who's in detention, or in the care of another person, and to meet any obligations in relation to care and support for that child.
You need to care for/support a relative or other person who is old, disabled, ill, or have chronic health condition.
You need to attend hospital if your attendance is not prohibited.
You wish to attend a funeral or wedding
You wish to donate blood.
You need to flee from harm or risk of harm (such as family violence).
There is a compassionate reason that you must leave home.
You need to exercise - but only if you're alone, or with one other person, and maintain 1.5 m distance from others.
You need to go to work or school, only if it is not practicable to work or learn from home.
You need to leave home for emergency purposes such as going to police station or court.
You need to leave home if that home becomes unsuitable or unavailable for you to live in.
You need to move to your new home.
You need to leave Victoria or Australia.
7. Can I invite my someone else to my home?
You need to invite another person for the purpose of care or work or education.
Private inspection of your home.
For medical or emergency purposes.
8. Are there any loopholes to allow me to go out?
No, and we should be ashamed if we asked this question.
We should all work together and Stay At Home. There's no easier contribution than this simple thing that every single one of us can do.
Stay At Home, you'll save lives.