Melbourne is all the three Tuhi sisters know, having been born and bred there.

But their Kiwi parents are preparing to move back to New Zealand with their youngest daughter as Covid-19 ravages Victoria and effectively kills off their livelihood.

Jae Tuhi, 43, and Haunui Te Arihi, 40, are among an expected influx of Kiwis returning to their home country from the state.

The couple stuck it out during the first lockdown in April but say they can't continue to trade either of their two businesses which will be forced to close due to the second lockdown which kicked in late on Sunday.

Victoria Premier Dan Andrews announced alert level 4 restrictions for Melbourne's metropolitan area on Sunday afternoon.

A state of disaster was also announced, on top of the state of emergency already in place, forcing the state into the toughest lockdown rules in the world, as it battles hundreds of new cases each day.

The restrictions include a curfew from 8pm to 5am and residents are only allowed to leave home for one of four reasons: a grocery run, medical needs, exercise or work. Exercise is limited to just one hour per day within 5km of home.

Rule-flouters breaching the strict lockdown directives now face a $5000 on-the-spot fine, Andrews announced yesterday.

Victoria had 439 new cases of coronavirus yesterday and 11 deaths - all of them people living in aged care.

Tuhi was only three when he moved to Melbourne with his family in 1979. Te Arihi moved to Melbourne, where the couple met, in 1999.

Originally from Mahia, he and Te Arihi now own two businesses - NZ Street Food and Jae Tuhi Māori Carving.

Their three daughters, Shadae, Destiny and Sienna, were born in Australia.

Tuhi said the family relied on their kai shop - which they have built up from a food van to a standalone store over the past five years - as their main source of income.

"We run this four days a week at the Dandenong Market which is Melbourne's second biggest fresh food market and usually sees five million visitors through each year," he told the Herald.

"Our business has done well over the past five years but the pandemic has seen it come to a halt."

During the first lockdown, the shop was allowed to remain open and continue preparing all its food on-site, but foot traffic dwindled sharply so they were forced to close for four weeks.

More time was being poured into the kai shop to try and keep it afloat, meaning Tuhi had little time to continue carving.

"Sales have dropped immensely, as well as my time has been turned to the food business to try and salvage this to keep the family afloat," he said.

Averaging $10,000 a week from the kai shop alone, Tuhi said sales plummeted by 80 per cent.

With the second lockdown and more stringent rules, the couple won't be able to trade at all for at least for the next six weeks, Tuhi said.

"I can't see the businesses recovering any time soon and am afraid I'll have to close the doors as a result."

The couple had been eligible for JobKeeper payments and a couple of small business grants but the funds have almost been exhausted.

The financial worries have increased stress and anxiety levels due to the "massive sense of uncertainty" and they have decided it's best they move home.

"I am planning on moving back to New Zealand as things have changed so much over here in the past few months and the way the government here has dealt the pandemic makes me feel unsafe and insecure," Tuhi said,

There was a lot of confusion about restrictions in the last lockdown, and he said the government should have gone harder the first time which would have left them in a better position.

"If they had locked down as Jacinda did in the first place it would have saved thousands of businesses like us. I have no confidence being here anymore and cannot wait to come home."

Tuhi said he would likely return to Mahia, where some of his family is and continue his whakairo (carving) business, which he has built up over the last 10 years.

One of his sisters moved home around five weeks ago, and his parents in Melbourne are thinking of selling their home and moving back to New Zealand.

"I do have quite a few friends who are making the move [back to New Zealand] later in the year," he said.

"One friend sent her 80-year-old mother to family back in NZ to keep her safe from Covid back at the end of March and she will be going back when she can."

But he expected that he would initially be apart from two of his older daughters, aged 19 and 18, who weren't as keen to move countries just yet.

"My youngest is keen to move, but the older two have built a life here," he said.

Former South Islander Vicki Atkinson is an administrator in a Melbourne aged-care facility in which they recently had a confirmed case of Covid-19.

While there are safety precautions in place, those not affected were also working in a different area.

However, living alone, together with family illness and trips back home cancelled due to Covid-19, it was now taking a toll on her wellbeing.

"This was and still is very difficult for me as due to Covid and quarantining and being stuck in Melbourne ... I felt so removed from it all and completely alone and helpless. I never want to be in this position again.

"I always thought I was never far from home but it may as well be on the moon at the moment."

"I just want to be home in NZ with family and freedom."

A former Pukekohe woman, who didn't want to be named as she worked for the Victoria State Government, was feeling isolated as she also lived alone and her Kiwi partner lived in New Zealand.

"Essentially I am living here by myself so the isolation is hard going some days, as I only moved to this area last year so have no friends or family close by.

"I have been considering returning home to live over the past 18 months but the housing and employment situation, especially now, makes that less likely."