Hygiene and physical distancing

Information about good hygiene, physical distancing and advice about how you can stay well.

Key points

To keep yourself, your friends and your family safe there are four key actions that Victorians are being asked to continue:

  • Stay at home and get tested if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild.
  • Practise good hygiene – wash your hands and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Keep your distance – stay 1.5 metres away from people where you can.
  • Wear a face mask when required.

Stay home if you have symptoms

It is more important than ever to stay home and get tested if you have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild.

  • Do not go to work or school.
  • Do not visit anyone, especially older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Wash your hands

Good hygiene is critical for slowing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Everyone should be taking the following hygiene actions:

Wash your hands

  • Wash your hands regularly with for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water or use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Wash your hands when you get home, arrive at other people’s homes, at venues or at work.
  • Wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, or using the toilet.

Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands

  • Cover your nose or mouth with a tissue, then throw it away and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper sleeve.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you are wearing a face mask, leave it on.
  • Do not share drink bottles, glasses, crockery or cutlery other than with people you live with.

Further information

Keep your distance – stay 1.5 metres away from people you don’t live with

  • Greet people with a smile or wave - don’t shake hands, hug or kiss as a greeting.
  • Stay 1.5 metres away from people where you can.
  • Avoid crowds, especially indoors.
  • When waiting in line or walking through busy areas, be patient, give others space so they can give you yours.

Wear a face mask

Wearing a face mask protects you and your community by providing an additional physical barrier to coronavirus (COVID-19).  

Everyone must wear a face mask when required, unless a lawful exception applies.

For more information visit face masks.

Stay healthy

  • Keep eating a balanced diet.
  • Get regular exercise and sleep.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake.
  • If you’re a smoker, think about and try quitting. Call the Quitline on 13 78 48.
  • Get vaccinated for flu (influenza). This will help reduce the demand on the healthcare system as it deals with coronavirus (COVID-19). Vaccines are now available from your GP and pharmacy.

Stay connected and support each other

It is important to keep connected as a community, even while physically distancing. You can support your friends and family by continuing these key actions:

  • If you or a loved one is feeling anxious or concerned at this time, help and support is available.
  • Where possible, keep connected to your family, friends and work colleagues through video conferencing, phone, email and social media.
  • Look out for your neighbours and family members.
  • Stay informed. Seek information from reputable sources, for example the coronavirus (COVID-19) section on this site.


Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces regularly (for example phones, keyboards, door handles, light switches, bench tops) can help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  • First step is cleaning, which means wiping dirt and germs off a surface. You can use common household detergent products stocked at supermarkets for cleaning.
  • Second step is to disinfect the surface. Supermarkets stock common household disinfection products – it is important to use products that are labelled "disinfectant" and to follow the instructions on the label.
  • Further information for businesses is available at the Business sector page.

Actions for parents and guardians

If you are a parent or guardian, make plans in case your child becomes unwell and cannot attend childcare or school. Discuss with your employer if necessary.

If your school-aged child is unwell with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) you should:

  • Seek medical advice and get them tested.
  • Keep them at home unless they need medical assistance. Do not let them go to the shops, a friend’s house, childcare or school. Keep them away from elderly grandparents and people with underlying medical conditions.
  • If your child or young person is regularly cared for by grandparents or elderly family members, consider alternative options to reduce the risk of vulnerable people being exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Reviewed 07 February 2021

Coronavirus Victoria

24/7 Coronavirus Hotline

If you suspect you may have COVID-19 call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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