What the latest COVID-19 rules mean for restaurants

Published on 23 March 2020

Photo: New restrictions affect how restaurants can trade (credit: Mia Mala McDonald)

Restaurants and cafes are limited to takeaway-only trade in Victoria as of today, as the federal and state governments introduce greater restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. Here’s the state of play.

On Sunday and Monday, a raft of new measures to curb COVID-19 was announced by the Commonwealth and the Victorian government. These include an enforced shutdown of businesses from midday Monday 23 March including: 

  • Pubs, bars, clubs and nightclubs

  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues

  • Places of worship

  • Cinemas

  • Crown Casino 

  • Entertainment venues. 

Restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to provide home delivery or takeaway services – a move which many businesses had already made. Essential services including supermarkets, convenience stores, banks, petrol stations and pharmacies will remain open, as will bottle shops. 

The purpose of the shutdown - it’s being called a Stage 1 shutdown - is to limit contact between people as Australia’s reported cases of COVID-19 continue to increase significantly each day.

In Victoria, anyone not following the rules faces a hefty fine: nearly $100,000 for businesses and nearly $20,000 for individuals.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews was quick to point out that gathering at a friend’s house instead of a pub or restaurant is just as counter-productive.

“All it will do is spread the virus. This spreads rapidly. If people simply behave as normal, if they don’t take this seriously, if they act selfishly, then people will die.”

The restrictions will last until midnight 13 April 2020 - for now. The Prime Minister and others have stated that life could be like this for much longer.

“There is no three- or four-week shutdown that makes it all go away,” said Mr Morrison today.

Got excess stock? Read our guide to getting good food to the right food waste organisation.

Looking to support your favourite Victorian businesses? Here are some suggestions.