CENTRAL Victorians travelling to restricted areas should self-isolate to avoid risk to their home community from COVID-19, rural doctors have warned.
Victoria's rules permit people to travel to restricted areas for several reasons, including work and education that cannot be done at home, care, and to visit their intimate partner.
But Rural Doctors Association of Victoria president Megan Belot urged regional Victorians to have a common sense approach to managing exposure risk in unrestricted areas if they visited Melbourne.
Those visiting restricted areas for legitimate reasons are not required to self-isolate on their return to central Victoria.
But Dr Belot said just because the government hadn't banned something, didn't mean you should be trying everything.
She said it was commonsense for people travelling to Melbourne to self-isolate where possible on their return.
Dr Belot said she hoped rural and regional Victorians were only travelling to Melbourne where necessary.
She urged even those in regional Victoria to avoid travelling outside their district where possible.
"We need to find the new normal," Dr Belot said.
"I would love to be able to go and meet up with a friend every day ... go back to the way life was, but that's not a reality."
Dr Belot said in the case of people with partners in restricted areas it might be wise to choose to live with their partner in Melbourne, or choose their regional community.
The Australian Dental Association Victorian branch has recommended regional practitioners screen patients before treatment, including travel to a restricted area among their criteria.
President Angelo Pacella said the ADA Victoria had recommended practitioners continue all treatments, but to risk assess patients beforehand.
Dr Pacella said the ADA Victoria recommended dentists postpone non-urgent treatment if a patient was unwell, or had travelled to a restricted area.
A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson urged regional Victorians - in unrestricted areas - to follow the rules where they lived.
"Regardless of where you live, until there is a vaccine, there is no such thing as "normal"," they said.
"For every restriction that you break and all the health advice that you ignore - the consequence could be someone's life. Now more than ever, we need Victorians to play their part. Lives are counting on it."
Restrictions are based on residential address, so those working in Melbourne but living in central Victoria are not required to self-isolate.
People who live in regional Victoria are required to work from home if they can.
If the work cannot be done at home, regional Victorians may travel to restricted areas.
But these people should make sure they physically distance, wear a face covering, and practise good hygiene.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.