Victoria is heading back into stage 4 coronavirus lockdown at midnight tonight in what's being described by the Premier Daniel Andrews as a five-day "short, sharp circuit breaker".
Health authorities are dealing with the UK strain of the virus which they say is hyper-infectious and moving quickly.
Many Melburnians who endured last year's gruelling 111-day lockdown may well be asking, why is this happening again?
What are the reasons for leaving home?
The state is headed back into stage 4 restrictions, which means people must remain home and only leave for these reasons:
- Essential shopping for food and medical supplies
- Essential work and education
- Exercise for two hours per day with one other person not from your household or your partner.
People must remain within 5 kilometres of their homes and mask wearing will be essential everywhere outside the home, including indoors and outdoors areas.
But unlike the previous stage 4 lockdown, a curfew will not be in place.
Can I go to school, work or shopping?
Schools will be closed, but will remain open for vulnerable children or those whose parents cannot work from home.
Tertiary education facilities will be closed.
Food and hospitality venues will close except for takeaway service. But supermarkets will remain open, with the Premier warning people not to panic-buy.
Non-essential retail stores will shut their doors, as will libraries.
Other businesses and facilities to close from midnight are hairdressers and real estate inspections.
Can funerals and weddings go ahead?
Funerals will only be allowed to have 10 people.
Weddings will be banned unless they are on compassionate grounds, and will only be able to go ahead with five people in that case — including the two people being marries, two witnesses and the celebrant.
No visitors will be allowed into aged care centres, except for end-of-life reasons.
No visitors will be permitted into hospitals except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for a birth or as a parent to accompany a child.
What does this mean for sport and play?
Indoor recreation and sport, outdoor physical recreation and community sport facilities will all close. That includes swimming pools.
Outdoor playgrounds are allowed to remain open.
Accommodation providers are to close unless for "shelter in place" reasons and are not to take new bookings.
Tourism centres and tour transport services are not allowed to operate.
What will happen to international flights?
International flights will not be accepted into Victoria unless they are already en route.
"If they're in the air we'll still receive those, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to have flights arrive in the five-day period," the Premier said.
Mr Andrews said there would be a discussion about the future of bringing Australians back to Victoria given the UK and South African variants.
When will the lockdown end?
The five-day lockdown is set to begin at 11:59pm Friday and end at 11:59pm on Wednesday.
That will be subject to public health advice, and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he hoped to see several days of zero new cases emerging, or new cases only in people who are already quarantined.
"I do not want to be here either, come Wednesday, not having done this and talking about 10, 15, 20, 30 new cases a day, including mystery cases, or including cases that we can't chase down," he said.
"We need to be able to chase each and every case down so that we can get back that precious thing of no community transmission."