Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice

Updates

While COTA Tasmania is doing its best to provide up-to-date, accurate information, it is essential that you check an official source before taking any action. These include

You will find the following news and information on this page. Click the link to go straight to the section you want:

Updates

Important Information

Tasmanian Government advice

Latest Border Restrictions and Requirements Coming to Tasmania

Getting and Giving Support (updated 29 June)

Updates

5 October

16 September

7 September

20 August

18 August

17 August

12 August

3 August

27 July

22 July

20 July

16 July

15 July

13 July

8 July

6 July

29 June

25 June

23 June

22 June

18 June

17 June

15 June

3 June

2 June News

30 May news

28 May news

27 May news

26 May news

25 May news

20 May news

12 May news

8 May news

6 May news

5 May news

29 April news

27 April news

22 April news

16 April news

8 April news

7 April news

6 April news

1 April news

31 March news

30 March news

29 March news

26 March news

24 March news

23 March news

22 March news

20 March news

19 March news

Elder Abuse information

Jobseeker payments

Additional data allowance

 

Important Information

COTA Tasmania is taking the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic very seriously and encourages everyone to follow advice from Government and other reputable sources.

If you source details from unofficial sources, please be wary of misinformation.

  • Stay informed. Download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join our WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.
  • The Department of Health Tasmania Facebook page has regular updates.
  • Call the National COVID Older Persons Information Line for personal support, questions and up-to-date information about COVID-19: 1800 171 866
  • The World Health Organization has more general information about COVID-19 here.
  • Information about restrictions on visits to residential aged care facilities is available here and here.

Return to the top

 

Tasmanian Government advice

The Tasmanian Government is providing regular and updated advice about COVID-19 as changes happen. You can find their Fact Sheets here.

For the latest information about Government announcements and restrictions, visit the Tasmanian Government Coronavirus website here.

Return to the top

 

Latest Border Restrictions and Requirements Coming to Tasmania

For the latest information about border restrictions and requirements when coming to Tasmania, visit the Tasmanian Government website here.

As of Monday 5 October, the following requirements apply:

  • All travellers to Tasmania (including residents and essential travellers) need to complete a G2G PASS before entering Tasmania. This should be completed at least three days (but no more than 14 days) before you plan to arrive in Tasmania.
  • All travellers arriving in Tasmania will need to answer questions about their health and have a temperature check as part of COVID-19 screening measures. Find out more here.

Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania who have not been in an Affected Region (Victoria) in the previous 14 days to arrival.

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in their residence.

Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania who have been in an Affected Region in the previous 14 days to arrival (unless only transiting through a Victorian port or airport).

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation.
  • Must pay a quarantine fee to cover costs of this accommodation. This cost is capped at $4,800.
    • Single person: $2,800
    • Per additional adult: $1,000
    • Per child: $500
    • Per child under 3 years: No fee

Non-Tasmanian and non-essential travellers to Tasmania who have not been in an Affected Region in the previous 14 days to arrival.

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation.
  • Must pay a quarantine fee to cover costs of this accommodation. This cost is capped at $4,800.
    • Single person: $2,800
    • Per additional adult: $1,000
    • Per child: $500
    • Per child under 3 years: No fee

Non-Tasmanian and non-essential travellers to Tasmania who have been in an Affected Region in the previous 14 days to arrival (unless only transiting through a Victorian port or airport).

  • Will not be allowed to enter Tasmania or will enter government approved accommodation until they are able to leave Tasmania, unless given prior approval from the Deputy State Controller.

Non-Tasmanian essential travellers to Tasmania:

  • Find out more here.

International arrivals to Australia

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation at their port of arrival into Australia. This may include a quarantine fee (check government details of the state/territory in which you arrive).
  • Once this initial quarantine is complete, non-essential travellers continuing on to Tasmania will need to quarantine for an additional 14 days upon arrival to Tasmania. Whether this is in government-mandated accommodation or in their residence will depend on the conditions above.

For more information about coming to Tasmania, click here.

For more information about quarantine requirements in Tasmania, click here.

Return to the top

 

Getting and Giving Support

A Tasmanian Lifeline: 1800 98 44 34

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36

#checkin (MHCT website)

Suicide Call Back Service1300 659 467

MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

QLife (LGBTI peer support and referral): 1800 184 527

Relationships Australia Tasmania: 1300 364 277

Baptcare Mental Health TasConnect: 1800 290 666

Elder Abuse Helpline: 1300 353 374

Advocacy Tasmania (understanding your rights): 1800 005 131

Life in Mind (resources and support groups)

COVID-19 Community Activities and Support

Fact Sheets

Responding to uncertainty and monitoring your responses to COVID-19.

Supporting others and starting the conversation

Return to the top

 

5 October – Easing of border restrictions

The Tasmanian Government has announced that it will look to easing border restrictions with low COVID-19 risk Australian jurisdictions from Monday 26 October. Further information about the requirements and restrictions that will change with easing of border restrictions will be provided closer to the date.

At this stage, low risk states include South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, the ACT and possibly NSW. The COVID-19 risk of all jurisdictions will continue to be monitored and the easing of restrictions will depend on the situation in those jurisdictions closer to Monday 26 October.

Current restrictions and requirements remain in place until Monday 26 October. Find out more about these, including G2G Pass and affected regions, here.

Return to the top

 

5 October – Advice for People Experiencing Hay Fever Symptoms

Hay fever can be caused by allergies to pollen from some flowering plants and is more common in Tasmania during spring and summer.

Hay fever has the same symptoms as a cold, flu and COVID-19, so it is hard to tell them apart without testing. These can include a runny nose, sore/itchy throat, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

If you have hay fever symptoms, even mild symptoms, it’s important you get tested for COVID-19.

If your result is negative, see your GP about managing your symptoms and ask for a certificate or letter so you can go back to work or school.

For more information about symptoms that mean you should be tested for COVID-19, visit Testing for COVID-19.

Return to the top

 

16 September – Aged Care COVID-19 Videos

The Australian Government has released videos for consumers of residential aged care services about COVID-19. These include videos on:

  • How to stay safe from COVID-19
  • What to expect in an outbreak in aged care
  • Staying connected with loved ones
  • Staying active and enjoying yourself during COVID-19

You can visit the website and see the videos here.

Return to the top

 

7 September – Make Yourself At Home – Tasmanian Travel Vouchers

As of 10am Monday 7 September, all the Make Yourself At Home Travel Vouchers have been fully claimed and the program closed! 

From 9am Monday 7 September, Tasmanian residents aged over 18 years can apply for:

  • Accommodation voucher
  • Experience voucher

You can register for a voucher here. People who are unable to access the internet or do not have email can register in person at any Service Tasmania service centre during business hours.

Accommodation voucher

  • Up to $100 of accommodation for mid-week travel (Sunday to Thursday)
  • Must be applied for between 7 September and 31 October 2020
  • Must be used in September, October and/or November 2020
  • Must be used within 30 days of completing your first Eligible Activity

Tourism Experience voucher

  • Up to $50 for a tourism experience any day of the week
  • Includes tours or attractions that have a fee for entry
  • Does NOT include
    • Events
    • Parks and Wildlife park passes, entry fees or campground fees
    • Fuel, vehicle or equipment hire (that are not part of recognised experience)
    • Alcohol, food or drink (that are not part of recognised experience)
    • Retail goods
    • Information, general or transport services (that are not part of recognised experience)
    • Sport participation fees
  • Must be applied for between 7 September and 31 October 2020
  • Must be used in September, October and/or November 2020
  • Must be used within 30 days of completing your first Eligible Activity

You can apply for both an Accommodation and Tourism Experience voucher, for a total amount of $150. Vouchers can be used during school holidays and public holidays.

Voucher types include:

  • 1 adult registration
  • 2 adult registrations
  • Family of 2 adults
  • Family of 1 adult
  • Children (capped at three or $150)

You must redeem the full amount of each voucher. For more information, registration, and terms and conditions, visit the website here or call Service Tasmania on 1300 135 513.

Return to the top

 

7 September – COVD-19 Rent Relief  for Tenants and Landlords – Update

The COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund that was established in May 2020 will remain available until 1 December 2020. The Fund provides up to $2,000 or four weeks rent for tenants experiencing extreme hardship.

Tenants who have already received financial help to pay their rent can apply for a second rental extra support payment if their circumstances have not changed.

A new Landlord Support fund has also been established for landlords who have a current residential lease with tenants who have fallen behind in paying rent due to COVID-19. Landlords can receive a one-off payment to the value of rent owing (at one or more properties), up to $2,000. This support is also available until 1 December 2020.

For more information and to apply for either the Tenant or Landlord Rent Relief, visit the Communities Tasmania website here.

Return to the top

 

20 August – COVID-safe Behaviour Resources

The Tasmanian Government has released resources to help remind Tasmanians about how we can keep each other safe using COVID-safe behaviours. They remind us that our everyday actions and choices determine how well we managed the ongoing risks of COVID-19.

Resources include videos, audio, graphics, and talking points.

Five key COVID-safe behaviours are:

  1. Stay at least 1.5 metres away from others when you go out.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser when out and about.
  3. Stay at home if you are unwell and always cover coughs and sneezes.
  4. Get tested for COVID-19 if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms.
  5. Be aware of, and follow, current gathering, business and travel restrictions.

Visit the Tasmanian Government website for more information here.

Return to the top

 

18 August – Updated – Border Restrictions Extended to December 1

The Tasmanian Government has announced that current border restrictions will remain in place until at least 1 December 2020. This is updated from the last announcement that borders would reopen on August 31.

The current border restrictions will remain to allow sufficient time for the COVID-19 situation in Victoria to be controlled, ensure all required planning, monitoring and response capabilities are in place, as well as to allow Tasmanian communities and local businesses to prepare for possible border relaxations.

Border re-openings will continue to be dependent on the situation in other jurisdictions and further information will be provided when it is available.

Current requirements when entering Tasmania are as follows:

All travellers entering Tasmania (including residents) must complete an application through G2G PASS at least 3 days before you plan to arrive in Tasmania.

Affected Region refers to Victoria. Affected Premises refers to food and retail outlets in Queensland and New South Wales in which known cases of COVID-19 have been present. Find more details here.

International arrivals to Australia

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation at their port of arrival into Australia. This may include a quarantine fee (check government details of the state/territory in which you arrive).
  • Once this initial quarantine is complete, non-essential travellers continuing on to Tasmania will need to quarantine for an additional 14 days upon arrival to Tasmania. Whether this is in government-mandated accommodation or in their residence will depend on the conditions below.

Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania who have not been in an Affected Region or Affected Premises in the previous 14 days to arrival.

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in their residence.

Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania who have been in an Affected Region or Affected Premises in the previous 14 days to arrival (unless only transiting through a Victorian port or airport).

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation.
  • Must pay a quarantine fee to cover costs of this accommodation. This cost is capped at $4,800.
    • Single person: $2,800
    • Per additional adult: $1,000
    • Per child: $500
    • Per child under 3 years: No fee

Non-Tasmanian and non-essential travellers to Tasmania who have not been in an Affected Region or Affected Premises in the previous 14 days to arrival.

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation.
  • Must pay a quarantine fee to cover costs of this accommodation. This cost is capped at $4,800.
    • Single person: $2,800
    • Per additional adult: $1,000
    • Per child: $500
    • Per child under 3 years: No fee

Non-Tasmanian and non-essential travellers to Tasmania who have been in an Affected Region or Affected Premises in the previous 14 days to arrival (unless only transiting through a Victorian port or airport).

  • Will not be allowed to enter Tasmania.

Non-Tasmanian essential travellers to Tasmania:

  • Find out more here.

For more information about coming to Tasmania, click here.

For more information about quarantine requirements in Tasmania, click here.

Return to the top

 

17 August – 5 Ways to Keep Yourself and Others Safe

While COVID-19 may seem to be well under control in Tasmania, the situations in Victoria and NSW are good reminders that we have to keep being careful to stop future outbreaks. Five things we can keep doing to keep ourselves and others safe are:

1. Stay at least 1.5 metres away from others when you go out.

Whether you are getting the groceries or meeting a friend for coffee, space saves lives. If everyone in the community practises physical distancing it will dramatically reduce the chances that any new cases will have had the opportunity to spread.

2. Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser when out and about.

Hand washing can make a huge impact – the trick is to make sure you do it several times a day especially before and after eating, before you leave home and as soon as you return home. Virus particles stick to our hands and can be passed onto other people or objects we touch. Thoroughly lathering soap on your hands and wrists for 20 seconds before washing it off under running water gets the virus off your hands most effectively, but hand sanitiser is recommended for when you are out and don’t have access to soap and water. There are common spots we miss when washing our hands so check out this handy (pun intended!) guide to hand washing procedure.

3. Stay at home if you are unwell and always cover coughs and sneezes.

It’s very important to make sure we don’t pass illness on to other people, particularly those who are most vulnerable to getting infections. COVID-19 spreads when people are unwell and don’t take self-isolation seriously. If you feel sick or have cold or flu-like symptoms, stay at home until you are healthy again. Keeping our communities and workplaces safe relies upon people staying at home when unwell and them safely accessing healthcare options when needed.

4. Get tested for COVID-19 if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms.

As well as staying at home when if unwell, you should get tested for COVID-19 when you have cold or flu-like symptoms. Early detection of new cases of COVID-19 in Tasmania will keep us safe by preventing further spread in the community.  If lots of people with symptoms get tested it’s more likely that we will catch any new cases quickly. This protects everyone because anyone with the virus will get diagnosed quickly and their close contacts can be quickly identified. Testing is easy. Call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to request a test or call your own GP for further advice.

5. Be aware of, and follow, current gathering, business and travel restrictions.

Information about Tasmania’s situation and restrictions is updated every day. Knowing what is happening will help us all to make informed decisions for ourselves and our families. We can protect the health and the livelihoods of businesses, staff, customers, friends, and family in our community by being aware of our obligations and making sensible choices. Visit the Tasmanian Government COVID-19 website or call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738. for the latest updates.

For more information on the Tasmanian Government COVID-19 website, click here.

Return to the top

 

12 August – Extension of Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants

The Tasmanian Government has announced the extension of the Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants from 8 August 2020. These grants are for casual and low-income workers who are unable to work while awaiting a COVID-19 test result.

A one-off payment is available to those eligible ($250 per adult, $125 per child, with a maximum of $1,000 per household).

Applications can be made through the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline 1800 671 738.

Return to the top

 

3 August – UPDATED: Current Border Restrictions Remaining in Place Until August 31

The Tasmanian Government is keeping current border restrictions with mainland states and territories in place until Monday 31 August.

Border restrictions with South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory were set to ease on Friday 7 August, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 concerns on the mainland, these changes have been delayed until Monday 31 August.

From now until Monday 31 August, all non-resident, non-essential travellers to Tasmania will be required to quarantine in government-mandated accommodation for 14 days. Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania from SA, WA or NT will be required to quarantine at their residence for 14 days.

Current requirements when entering Tasmania are as follows:

All travellers entering Tasmania (including residents) must complete an application through G2G PASS at least 3 days before you plan to arrive in Tasmania.

Affected Region refers to Victoria. Affected Premises refers to food and retail outlets in Queensland and New South Wales in which known cases of COVID-19 have been present. Find more details here.

International arrivals to Australia

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation at their port of arrival into Australia. This may include a quarantine fee (check government details of the state/territory in which you arrive).
  • Once this initial quarantine is complete, non-essential travellers continuing on to Tasmania will need to quarantine for an additional 14 days upon arrival to Tasmania. Whether this is in government-mandated accommodation or in their residence will depend on the conditions below.

Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania who have not been in an Affected Region or Affected Premises in the previous 14 days to arrival.

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in their residence.

Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania who have been in an Affected Region or Affected Premises in the previous 14 days to arrival (unless only transiting through a Victorian port or airport).

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation.
  • Must pay a quarantine fee to cover costs of this accommodation. This cost is capped at $4,800.
    • Single person: $2,800
    • Per additional adult: $1,000
    • Per child: $500
    • Per child under 3 years: No fee

Non-Tasmanian and non-essential travellers to Tasmania who have not been in an Affected Region or Affected Premises in the previous 14 days to arrival.

  • Must quarantine for 14 days in government-designated accommodation.
  • Must pay a quarantine fee to cover costs of this accommodation. This cost is capped at $4,800.
    • Single person: $2,800
    • Per additional adult: $1,000
    • Per child: $500
    • Per child under 3 years: No fee

Non-Tasmanian and non-essential travellers to Tasmania who have been in an Affected Region or Affected Premises in the previous 14 days to arrival (unless only transiting through a Victorian port or airport).

  • Will not be allowed to enter Tasmania.

Non-Tasmanian essential travellers to Tasmania:

  • Find out more here.

For more information about coming to Tasmania, click here,

For more information about quarantine requirements in Tasmania, click here,

Return to the top

 

3 August – Updated Border Restrictions: Qld and NSW

Border restrictions have been updated to include premises in Queensland and New South Wales that pose a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. Travellers to Tasmania must declare if they had visited any of the ‘Affected Premises’ in Qld or NSW in the 14 days before their arrival to Tasmania.

Non-Tasmanian and non-essential travellers who have spent time in an Affected Premises are not permitted to enter Tasmania and will be turned back at their own expense.

Click here to view the affected premises, which include restaurants, hotels and shopping centres, and dates at which risk of infection was high in these premises.

Restrictions continue for the whole of Victoria, excluding travellers who transit directly through Victorian ports or airports. Non-Tasmanian and non-essential travellers from Victoria are not permitted to enter Tasmania and will be turned back at their own expense.

For more information about coming to Tasmania, click here.

Return to the top

 

 

27 July – Border Restrictions from 7 August

From Friday 7 August, there will be no quarantine requirement for Tasmanian residents and non-Tasmanian residents travelling from:

  • South Australia (SA);
  • Northern Territory (NT); and
  • Western Australia (WA).

Public Health advice has identified that these jurisdictions have low to no risk as there are currently no outbreaks and low case numbers that are being managed.

Quarantine requirements will remain in place for Tasmanian residents and non-Tasmanian residents who have spent time in the 14 days prior to travelling to Tasmania in:

  • New South Wales (NSW);
  • Queensland (QLD); and
  • Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

All non-essential, non-Tasmanian travellers from Victoria will continue to not be permitted to enter Tasmania. Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania after spending a period during the last 14 days in Victoria will meed to enter 14 days quarantine upon their return.

Health screening including temperature check and answering health questions will be introduced at Tasmanian airports and ports, including on King and Flinders Island, from Friday 7 August.

All travellers will still be required to provide travel details on arrival. The most effective way of doing this is via the G2G PASS online system.

For more information, click here.

Return to the top

 

27 July – Quarantine Fee From 31 July

Non-Tasmanian and Tasmanian resident non-essential travellers to Tasmania who enter mandatory government–designated 14-day quarantine will be required to pay a fee of $2,800 per person from 31 July 2020. A reduced rate will be available for couples and families.

Tasmanian residents undertaking quarantine at their private residence are not affected by the change.

People who are already undertaking 14 days quarantine in Government-appointed accommodation before 31 July will not be required to pay.

Provision will also be provided for people to apply to have the fee waived in limited specific circumstances such as travellers entering the state following essential travel for medical treatment.

Further details will be provided on Tasmanian Coronavirus website when available.

Return to the top

 

22 July  – #checkin Website Launch

Mental Health Council Tasmania has launched its #checkin website that provides support and resources during COVID-19 for people to check in with their own mental health, with someone they care about, or with what’s happening in their community as restrictions ease.

It’s natural and normal for many of us to feel anxious, stressed, lonely or depressed during COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainty. There’s never been a better time to check in with yourself and people you care about.

Visit the #checkin website here.

Return to the top

 

20 July – Registering to Travel to Tasmania

Register with G2G PASS here.

G2G PASS is a new online travel registration system that all people will need to complete to travel to Tasmania, including Tasmanian residents and essential travellers. Each person in a travelling group will need to register, with dependent children included with parents on the same G2G PASS. G2G PASS replaces the existing paper-based and online processes, such as the Tasmanian Arrival Form and Essential Traveller application forms.

G2G PASS registrations are created and managed via the website and app. Once you have registered, you’ll receive a QR code, a type of barcode, that you will need to enter Tasmania. Processing time is at least three business days, so make sure to register at least three days before you plan to arrive in Tasmania.

If you enter Tasmania without a G2G PASS, border processing at arrival ports will be delayed as you will have to register on arrival. Biosecurity Tasmania officers can assist you with this process on arrival. You may have to quarantine until your application can be processed. Processing time is at least three business days.

Click here for more information.

For information about current Tasmanian border restrictions, click here.

Return to the top

 

16 July – New Information for People at Risk of Severe COVID-19 Infection

Recommended restrictions for people at high risk of severe COVID-19 infections have been updated. The Tasmanian and Australian Governments recommend that, if you are at high risk category (aged over 70, living with chronic health conditions, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, immune suppressed) you should:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser often
  • Keep at least 1.5m away from other people
  • Practice good cough and sneeze hygiene
  • Stay home and get tested if you develop any (even mild) cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Download the COVIDSafe App
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest public health advice and local COVID-19 situation
  • Get a flu shot
  • Take extra precautions to avoid contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms, including children
  • Talk to your GP about how you can stay safe

The risk of exposure to COVID-19 in Tasmania is currently low regardless of age or health conditions but it is still important for us to manage our own health and risk and to be even more vigilant if the situation changes.

For more information on how to make safe decisions read this Living Well in the COVID-19 Pandemic document.

Return to the top

 

15 July – Staying Home When At-Risk

While COVID-19 restrictions are easing in Tasmania, some of us may still feel uneasy about going out – particularly those who are more vulnerable to severe infections including people aged over 70, those with chronic health conditions, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples, or those who are immune suppressed.

It’s important to keep accessing medical appointments and medicine, food assistance, and wellbeing support if you feel safer staying at home.

Medical appointments can be done via telehealth – either over the phone or video call – or from your car in your doctor surgery’s car park. Contact your doctor’s surgery about options and whether they bulk bill. Doctors can send prescriptions directly to your local pharmacy so all you have to do is call your pharmacy to check that they have the prescription and pop in quickly to pick it up, or you can talk to your pharmacy about whether they can organise home delivery.

Food and meal assistance is available through community organisations like Meals on Wheels. People who are registered with My Aged Care can also access priority online and telephone grocery ordering. Have your My Aged Care ID number handy when you call up your local supermarket to find out if they offer this service and can prioritise your grocery delivery. You can also call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 for more information about this service.

Wellbeing support is available through the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line on 1800 171 866. You can also call a Tasmanian Lifeline on 1800 98 44 34 or visit websites with resources and information like Beyond Blue, Life in Mind, or MensLine Australia. See more support services in our Getting and Giving Support section above.

Make sure to keep in contact with family and friends. Maybe organise a time each day to chat with someone to stay connected. Stay safe, stay connected, stay healthy during COVID-19.

Find out more advice for older Australians during COVID-19 on the Australian Government website here.

Return to the top

 

13 July – State of Emergency and Border Restrictions Extended

Tasmania’s State of Emergency has been extended to August 31. A State of Emergency means that the State Controller (Commissioner of Police, Darren Hine), in cooperation with the Director of Public Health (Mark Veitch), can use emergency powers to limit the risk and spread of COVID-19 in Tasmania.

Find out more about the State of Emergency here.

Tasmania’s Border Restrictions will remain in place until July 31, with an update as to whether and when borders will reopen on July 24. Current restrictions include:

  • Any visitor who has been in Victoria in the last 14 days will not be allowed to enter Tasmania, unless they are Essential Workers, granted entry on compassionate grounds, or have travelled directly through a Victorian airport or port without leaving the airport or port.
  • Non-essential visitors from other Australian jurisdictions must enter quarantine for 14 days in government provided accommodation when they arrive in Tasmania.
  • Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania will be able to quarantine at their home provided they:
    • can give evidence of residency
    • do not have COVID-19 symptoms
    • have not spent time in Victoria, travelled overseas or disembarked from a cruise ship in the last 14 days.

Find more information about border restrictions here.

Return to the top

 

8 July – Border Restrictions for Victoria

Due to the current outbreak of COVID-19 in Victoria, new Tasmanian border restrictions are being implemented from 12am Thursday 9 July 2020. These restrictions will occur at Tasmanian borders and apply to people travelling from Victoria:

  • Any visitors/non-Tasmanian residents who have spent time in Victoria in the 14 days prior to travel are not permitted to travel to Tasmania – they will be turned back.
  • This does not apply to essential travellers (Specified Persons) from Victoria, who will still be able to apply to travel to Tasmania for a specified purpose.
  • Any person granted essential traveller status who has spent time in Victoria in the last 14 days will be required to wear a face mask and limit their movement when not in the workplace.
  • While Victorians can apply for a compassionate exemption to travel to Tasmania, these exemptions are unlikely to be granted in the short term due to rapidly changing circumstances in Victoria.
  • Tasmanian residents who have spent time in Victoria in the 14 days prior to travel will be required to quarantine in government-provided accommodation.
  • People coming to Tasmania from other jurisdictions will be allowed to transit through a Victorian airport or port, provided they do not leave the airport/port while in Victoria, and meet relevant quarantine requirements upon arrival in Tasmania.

For more information, click here.

Return to the top

 

8 July – COVID-19 Testing Locations

For the latest testing sites in Tasmania, click here. Sites are located in Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Burnie, and Smithton (mobile). Some sites do not require bookings and offer drive-up testing.

Anyone with any of the following symptoms is encouraged to be tested:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore/itchy throat
  • Shortness of breath

Return to the top

 

6 July – Free Bus Rides Ending Sunday 5 July

Free rides on Tasmania’s buses end on Sunday 5 July 2020, with regular fares returning Monday 6 July. Regular passengers are urged to make sure they have, and top-up, a smartcard where available to help reduce person-to-person contact when handling cash.

Passengers should contact their bus operator to enquire about cashless ticketing options such as smartcards. Using a smartcard will also save you 20 per cent on regular fares.

Where only cash tickets are available, passengers are asked to purchase 10-ride tickets to reduce the number of transactions.

Drivers will accept cash fares but passengers are encouraged to have the correct fare ready when boarding.

Fares are listed on the Transport Tasmania website here.

Return to the top

6 July – Essential Travellers from Greater Melbourne area

New requirements are in place for specified Essential Travellers who have spent time in the Greater Melbourne area (except to transit from outside the Greater Melbourne area directly to Melbourne Airport or the Spirit of Tasmania Terminal) in the last 14 days.

In addition to current requirements for all Essential Travellers to comply with, any person with Essential Traveller status who has spent time in the Greater Melbourne Area in the last 14 days, must:

  • Wear a surgical mask when in public, and whilst undertaking work or official duties;
  • Remain in, or at, the premises that are your ordinary place of residence within Tasmania unless undertaking activities identified in the Direction (Emergency Management Act)

For more information about areas included in Greater Melbourne and Essential Traveller requirements, click here.

Return to the top

29 June – Tasmanian Borders Reopening

The Tasmanian Government will reopen Tasmania’s borders on Friday 24 July, pending a review of public health advice at the time. If circumstances change (such as the COVID-19 risk of other states and territories) and public health advice suggests that it is not safe to reopen borders, the date of border reopening will be postponed.

When borders are reopened, measures will be put in place at airports and seaports to collect detailed information about who is entering Tasmania and how to contact them. This will include the use of an App and manual recording system.

Once borders are reopened, interstate travellers and Tasmanian residents will not need to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in Tasmania.

For more information, click here. You can also read the Premier’s media release here.

Return to the top

25 June – Further Easing of Restrictions

From midday Friday 26 June, COVID-19 restrictions in Tasmania will continue to ease. This includes:

  • Household visitors remains at a maximum of 20 visitors in addition to household members
  • Outdoor gatherings increase to a maximum of 500 people
  • Indoor gatherings increase to a maximum of 250 people
  • Maximum density limits decrease from 4sqm to 2sqm (except for transport and health facilities)
  • Businesses and services can reopen including:
    • Stadiums
    • Garage sales, car boot sales, and second-hand goods sales
    • Saunas, spa baths, flotation tanks and bath houses
    • Casinos and gaming venues
    • Markets and food vans at markets
    • Food courts
    • Night clubs (seated patrons, dancing and is not permitted)
    • Pools (indoor and outdoor)
    • Outdoor and indoor community sport and training

Continue to practice good hygiene through hand washing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and keeping a safe distance from others (1.5 metres).

More information is available here.

Return to the top

 

25 June – Testing Locations for COVID-19

While Tasmania is doing a great job to stop the spread of COVID-19 infection, it is important that people continue to be tested if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore/itchy throat
  • Shortness of breath

Testing sites are located across Tasmania and some offer drive-up testing without bookings.

Find information about testing sites near you here.

Return to the top

 

25 June – Residential Tenancy Protections Extended

Protections for residential tenants in response to COVID-19 that were due to expire on June 30 have been extended to 30 September 2020. Protections include:

  • A notice to vacate issued by the owner to a tenant is of no effect (exceptions apply)
  • Rent increases cannot occur
  • Owners and tenants can agree to reduce rent
  • Tenants or owners can apply to break a fixed term lease if continuation would cause severe hardship
  • Suspension to evictions specifically related to rent in arrears
  • General repairs and maintenance will not be required to be done (emergency or urgent repairs must still be done)
  • Property inspections are limited
  • Tenants still have a responsibility for cleanliness and maintaining property condition while renting

For more information, click here.

Return to the top

23 June – Concerns About Aged Care Facility Visiting Arrangements: What To Do

It can be difficult to keep up-to-date with all the changes in visitor access to aged care facilities during COVID-19. While these measures were put into place to protect residents from being infected with COVID-19, there has been concern from people about not being able to visit their loved ones in aged care facilities. If you are concerned about your ability to visit someone you care about, here is some information about what you can do next.

First, find out about current restrictions and the responsibility of providers, residents and visitors:

If you are concerned about arrangements with the age care provider of your loved one, you can take the following steps:

  1. Raise the issue with the facility. Make sure to record information about this communication (e.g. who you spoke to and when, copy of an email or letter) and its outcome. If you want to take your complaint further, you will need to have talked with the provider first.
  2. Get support from an advocate. Advocacy Tasmania can support you to work with the provider to resolve the issue if you feel that they have not addressed your initial complaint. You can call them on 1800 005 131 or email helpline@yoursaytas.org.
  3. Submit a complaint through the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission requires you to have attempted to resolve your complaint with the provider directly (see 1 above), before they will be able to step in. Visit the website here, call 1800 951 822, or read this fact sheet to find out about the complaints process.

Let COTA Tasmania know

COTA Tasmania is also interested in hearing your concerns. While we cannot advocate for individuals, we can report your concerns to government and COTA Australia to lobby for systematic reform. Call us on 6231 3265 or email suel@cotatas.org.au.

Return to the top

 

22 June – Changes to Aged Care Restrictions

From Monday 22 June, restrictions for visiting aged care facilities will ease. This includes:

  • Up to two people per visit with unrestricted visit times and multiple visits allowed in one day (subject to facility policy)
  • People aged under 16 years will be allowed to visit an aged care facility
  • Services such as hairdressers and allied health professionals will be able to visit aged care facilities
  • Residents will be able to leave the facility, for example, with friends and family

All other restrictions remain in place, including:

  • All visitors must be screened before entering an aged care facility
  • Visitors must have an up-to-date influenza vaccine
  • People who have been overseas in the past 14 days, display symptoms of respiratory infection or fever, or have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days are not allowed to visit

Restrictions do not apply:

  • For the purpose of end of life support
  • If requested by the facility to provide essential support to a resident

For more information, click here.

Return to the top

22 June – Changes to Hospital Visits

Hospital visiting hours remain between 2pm-6pm daily.

Up to four people can visit a patient receiving end-of-life care, and one visitor can stay overnight. Pets can visit where appropriate.

Up to two people, including the partner if present, can visit to support mothers in the maternity unit.

Other restrictions remain in place, including:

  • People with a fever or cold/flu-like symptoms, or who have been advised to self-isolate, cannot visit a patient in a hospital
  • Visitors must be screened on arrival to a hospital
  • Visitor restrictions vary for specific hospital units and wards. Click here for more details.

Exemptions can be sought from the Nurse Unit Manager of the unit you want to visit.

For more information, click here.

Return to the top

 

18 June – Free Energy Advice

TasNetworks has partnered with the Australian Energy Foundation to provide free, over-the-phone, home energy consultations. Call 1300 23 68 55 or book online here.

These consultations will help customers understand:

  • Simple ways that they can save power and lower their electricity bills.
  • More about electricity bills and tariffs.

Understanding your electricity use is particularly important as winter is well and truly underway and people may be experiencing financial insecurity during COVID-19 restrictions.

If you are concerned about how you will pay your electricity bills, call Aurora on 1300 122 003 or visit their website here to discuss payment plans and hardship programs that could help you take back control.

If you feel financially insecure, call Anglicare’s free Financial Counselling Helpline on 1800 007 007 to give you information, help you organise your budget, suggest ways to manage debt, and refer you to other useful services.

Return to the top

17 June – Further Easing of Restrictions

Full details of what Tasmanians can now safely enjoy are outlined below, subject to density requirements and that businesses have COVID Safety Plans in place:

  • 20 visitors to a home in addition to household members
  • Groups of 20 at gyms and other indoor sports facilities per separate room, up to a total of 80 attendees in each building
  • Groups of 20 participating in social sports activities, including activities such as boot camps and personal training
  • 20 attendees per pool
  • 80 attendees at community facilities
  • 80 attendees in libraries
  • 80 attendees at auction premises and real estate services
  • 80 attendees at amusement parks, arcades, play centres or similar if primarily an outdoor space
  • 80 attendees in hospitality venues, with seated service to continue
  • 20 attendees at bed and breakfast accommodation and short stay accommodation, consistent with residential premises.
  • 80 attendees at camping grounds
  • No limit on the number of people who can stay at accommodation venues, such as a hotel, but restricted to 80 attendees in communal areas
  • 80 people at religious services, including funerals and weddings
  • 80 attendees per cinema
  • 80 attendees at concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums, with an additional number of people specified for performers
  • 80 attendees at zoos
  • 80 attendees at museums, national institutions, historic sites and galleries
  • Beauty services are open and maximum density limits apply
  • Markets will continue to be for fresh food and produce only

Stage 3 restrictions have been brought forward to June 26, subject to public health advice and that virus situation at that time.

For more information, click here.

Return to the top

 

17 June – Libraries Tasmania reopening

From Thursday 18 June, all Tasmanian libraries will be open during their regular weekday hours for browsing, borrowing and public computer and internet access. Members will continue to have access to the Click and Collect catalogue and the Home Library Service.

Modified one-on-one and small group adult learning, Rock & Rhyme, and  Storytime programs will soon be offered again in selected libraries.

Book groups will recommence in July.

For more information, visit the Libraries Tasmania website here.

Return to the top

 

15 June – Increases in indoor and outdoor gatherings

From midday Wednesday 17 June, indoor and outdoor gathering limits will increase to 80 people, with physical distancing and density limits still applying. Up to 20 people can visit a household at any one time, in addition to the household residents (indoor and outdoor).

Visit the Tasmanian Government website here for more information.

Return to the top

 

15 June – King, Flinders and Furneaux Group Islands Travel Restrictions Lifted

Mainland Tasmanian residents can now travel to King Island, Flinders Island and the islands in the Furneaux Group for any reason, without needing to quarantine for 14 days on their arrival. Island residents can fly for the islands to mainland Tasmania without needing to quarantine on their return.

Residents of the islands or Tasmanian residents who return to or visit the island via mainland Australia will still need to quarantine for 14 days at their residence.

Return to the top

 

3 June – Information Regarding Older People, Aged Care Facilities and Community Organisations in Stage 2 of the Roadmap to Recovery

The Tasmanian Government has provided the following additional advice for Stage 2 of the Roadmap to Recovery, which starts at 3pm on Friday 5 June. It must be read in conjunction with the 2 June post that follows this one.

Older People
  • Some people are at greater risk of developing more serious illness in connection with COVID-19, including people 70 years and older, people in aged care facilities, people 65 years and older with chronic conditions, and people with disability.
  • Vulnerable people are encouraged to stay home to protect their health. This does not mean that people over 65 years with chronic conditions, or those over 70 years cannot leave their home or have visitors, but they should take extra precautions.
  • Where vulnerable people have to leave their homes, they are encouraged to practise physical distancing and adopt strong hygiene practices.
  • Those over 65 years with chronic conditions, or those over 70 years are encouraged to speak with their GP or health provider. They are best placed to explain the current COVID-19 situation, and what precautions individuals should take to protect themselves, their family and friends.
Aged Care Facilities
  • A resident may receive one visit per day, by up to two visitors, for no longer than two hours.
  • If two people are visiting the same person, but arriving separately, the two hour period for both persons commences when the first person arrives.
  • Visits must be confined to the resident’s room, outdoors or a designated area within the aged care facility.
  • Children under the age of 16 are not allowed to visit, unless the visit is for end of life support, or unless they are a significant person (for example a child of a resident) and they have been authorised to visit by the Director of Public Health.
  • All visitors must have an up to date flu vaccination or medical recommendation against administration of vaccine.
Community Sector Organisations
  • The changes to gathering limits will result in an increase in the delivery of community services as some business and facilities such as Neighbourhood Houses may choose to re-open or increase their hours of operation (where they have been operating on reduced hours).
  • It may also see an increase in face-to-face contact between staff and clients rather than online.
  • More staff may begin to resume working on site although organisations will need to develop and have their COVID-19 Safety Plans in place before this occurs.
  • Although the level of service availability is likely to increase, some clients may continue to be hesitant to access services in the current environment.

2 June – Further Easing of Restrictions as Stage 2 of Roadmap to Recovery Brought Forward to 3pm 5 June

From 3pm on Friday 5 June, Stage 2 of the Tasmanian Government’s COVID-19 Roadmap to Recovery will take effect. This means 20 people at a time will be able to gather indoors and outdoors, as long as people stay 1.5 metres apart where practicable and there is a maximum of one person per 4 square metres.

People designated as vulnerable, which includes all people aged over 70, are still encouraged to stay home and protect their health.

For more information see the list below and visit the Roadmap to Recovery.

Return to the top

 

30 May – Hospital Visitor Restrictions Eased

From 1 June 2020, one visitor per patient at a time will generally be able to visit hospitals. The visits must take place between 2pm and 6pm. To keep Tasmanians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, you must complete the visitor screening tool when you arrive at a hospital to visit a patient. Importantly, you can get assistance with these processes if you need it. You must not visit a hospital, outpatient department or clinic if you have any symptoms. These include a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose or gastrointestinal symptoms. You should also not visit a hospital if you’ve been advised to self-isolate. Full restriction details are available here.

Return to the top

 

28 May – Port Arthur Historic Site and Female Factory to Reopen on 3 July

Unless Public Health advice dictates otherwise, the Port Arthur and Cascades Female Factory Historic Sites will be open daily from 10am to 4pm from 3 July, with the Coal Mines Historic Site set to re-open from Monday, 15 June.

You can read the Government’s media release here.

Return to the top

 

28 May – Mobile Testing Clinics Continue

The next round of rural mobile testing clinics will be at:

  • Rosebery 29-30 May
  • Dunalley 30-31 May
  • Triabunna 30-31 May
  • Deloraine 30-31 May
  • Queenstown 31 May-1 June

Bookings are strongly encouraged for these clinics. Any Tasmanian with cold or flu-like symptoms such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose, or fever should contact their GP or call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738. However, community members who simply arrive on the day will not be turned away.

Next week’s drive-up clinics at Prospect Vale and Sorell will be located at the Prospect Laboratory Government Offices and the Sorell Market area in front of the Council Chambers. These clinics will run from Tuesday to Thursday in line with this week’s clinics at Glenorchy and Mowbray.

More information is available here.

Return to the top

 

27 May – Rent Relief Fund Update

Residential tenants eligible for rent relief under the Government’s Rent Relief Fund who are unable to gain agreement from their landlord should contact the Office of the Residential Tenancy Commissioner. The Commissioner will work with both parties to help them reach agreement. In the event that an agreement cannot be reached with the landlord, there is flexibility to make the payment directly to the tenant.

The rent relief payment is a one-off payment usually made directly to a landlord after they have entered into an approved temporary rent reduction arrangement with a tenant who is in rental stress and is experiencing COVID-19 related hardship.

Landlords are strongly encouraged to negotiate in good faith regarding rental reductions for those tenants seeking assistance through the Rent Relief Fund.

Fact sheets about the Rent Relief Fund are available for tenants and landlords.

You can read the Government’s media release here.

Return to the top

 

27 May – Advice for Men’s Sheds Opening Their Doors

The Tasmanian Government advises men’s sheds to consult the Roadmap to Recovery if they are opening their doors during the COVID-19 recovery phase.

Under current Public Health advice, vulnerable people such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions, people aged 70 years and older, people with compromised immune systems, and people with disability are still encouraged to stay home and protect their health.

Men’s Sheds that are reopening in this first stage of recovery need to ensure they have their Worksafe COVID-Safety plans in place to keep everyone safe which includes abiding by the social distancing rules, staying home if you’re unwell and practicing good hygiene at all times.

You can read the Government’s media release here.

Return to the top

 

27 May – Support Services for Tasmanians Who May Be Drinking or Smoking More Due to COVID-19

Tasmanians may be feeling particularly anxious or vulnerable, drinking or smoking more, as a result of COVID-19.

Anyone who needs help can call support services any time:

  • National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline 1800 250 015
  • Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 811 994
  • Family Drug Support 1300 368 186
  • A Tasmania Lifeline 1800 98 44 34

You can also access the Tasmanian Alcohol and Drug Services on 1300 139 641.

A full list of alcohol and other drugs services across Tasmania is available from the Primary Health Tasmania Health Directory Tasmanian Health Directory – Primary Health Tasmania and from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Council Tasmania website ATDC – Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania

Return to the top

 

26 May – Cashless Bus Fares and Fare Amnesty Extended

The Tasmanian Government has extended cashless buses and the bus fare amnesty for general access services until Sunday 5 July 2020.

The extension will provide extra time for passengers to access a smartcard and non-cash credit top up arrangements (where available), or other options for cashless payment.

Passengers who still do not have a smartcard should apply for one from their bus operator where available during the fare amnesty.

Find our more here.

Return to the top

 

25 May – Aged Care Facility Visits Changes

From Monday 25 May, restrictions on visitors to aged care facilities will change.

Residents at aged care facilities can now have one visit a day from up to two visitors, for no longer than two hours. Visitors must have had an up-to-date influenza vaccination to visit an aged care facility.

Visits should continue to be either in the resident’s room, outdoors or a designated area in the facility – they should not be in common areas.

Find out more here.

Return to the top

 

25 May – More Testing Locations and Information for COVID-19

Additional mobile testing sites are now available across Tasmania. Some sites offer drive-up testing and do not require bookings. If bookings are requires, call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Find out where the latest testing sites are here.

You should be tested for COVID-19 if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore/itchy throat
  • Shortness of breath

Call triple zero (000) if you have an medical emergency, are very unwell, or have difficulty breathing.

Testing is also being done for the following people:

  • Hospital patients being discharged to residential aged care facilities (mandatory)
  • Healthcare workers displaying symptoms (mandatory)
  • Healthcare workers without symptoms or household members of health workers with symptoms (voluntary but encouraged)
  • Close contacts of confirmed cases (voluntary but encouraged)
  • Non-essential travellers during day 10-12 of quarantine period (voluntary but encouraged)
  • People living in current low test rate metropolitan suburbs

Find out more about testing and what’s involved here.

Return to the top

 

25 May – COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework

As part of the Tasmanian Government’s ‘Rebuild a Stronger Tasmania’ plan, all workplaces are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that complies with minimum COVID-19 safety standards. These Standards will be introduced by 15 June 2020.

The Minimum Standards and Safety Plan templates are available now. A workplace toolbox and helpful resources include:

  • A checklist to keep workers safe
  • Safe Workplaces Guidelines
  • Safety Plan templates for small and medium-sized businesses
  • COVID Ready stickers and posters
  • A fact sheet about COVID-19 Safety Plans

Click here for more information or contact WorkSafe Tasmania or the Business Tasmania Hotline on 1800 440 026.

Return to the top

 

25 May – COVID-19 Resources for Community Groups

The Australian Government has a range of resources for community groups to help people affected by COVID-19. A COVID-19 eKit includes fact sheets to help direct people to appropriate services in your community. Fact sheets are available in a range of languages, by audio, and video.

Click here for more information.

Return to the top

 

20 May – Lifting of COVID-19 Restrictions

Tasmania has moved to Stage 1 in the lifting of restrictions. Changes to restrictions include:

  • Gatherings increase to 10 people for indoor and outdoor gatherings.
  • Up to 5 people can visit a household at any one time, in addition to residents of the household.
  • Outdoor park exercise equipment, skate parks, and playgrounds are open for up to 10 people at a time.
  • Groups of up to 10 people can gather in large parks for recreational activities.
  • Sporting and exercise groups can meet outside with up to 10 people.
  • Tasmanian residents returning to Tasmania can complete their 14 days quarantine at their home.

People must continue to practice physical distancing (keeping 1.5m from each other) and practice good hygeine.

More information is available here.

You can find the full timeline of easing restrictions here and a graphic of this timeline below.

Return to the top

 

20 May – COVID-19 Rent Relief Fund

Rental tenants who are experiencing extreme financial hardship can apply for up to $2,000 or four weeks rent to support them during COVID-19. This includes renters who:

  • Are paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent, and
  • Have less than $5000 in savings.

The Fund will also be made available to migrants and temporary visa holders subject to them meeting all other eligibility criteria.

This support is in addition to a Government halt on rental evictions, restrictions on inspections to support social distancing and a ban on rental increases during the emergency period.

Payments will be made to landlords of eligible tenants and it will be a requirement they pass on this level of assistance to their tenant via rent reductions.

For more information, click here.

Return to the top

12 May – Industry Code for Visiting Aged Care Homes

The ‘Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19’ has been released by 13 aged care peak bodies and consumer advocacy organisations. The Code includes the rights and responsibilities of aged care providers, residents and visitors. It explains that aged care homes should allow residents to meet their visitors in way sthat minimises the risk of COVID-19’s introduction to, or spread within, a residential care home.

More information about the Code is here and you can access the full Code document here.

Visits to aged care homes are to be negotiated with residents, their visitors and aged care staff. Resident’s wishes and preferences will be at the centre of decision making regarding who visits them and how. Some options for visits that reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection include

  • Using technology (video calling)
  • Window visits
  • Meeting in courtyards or balconies

Some of these types of visits may not be appropriate for all residents, and aged care staff will explore other options in these cases.

The Code includes information about making complaints if you feel that an aged care provider is not meeting their responsibilities.

Visitors need to

  • Be healthy and well. People who are unwell or have cold or flu-like symptoms are not allowed to visit in case they passing on an infection.
  • Have evidence of an up-to-date flu vaccination.
  • Follow visitor requirements including practising good hand hygiene, being temperature checked on arrival, wearing personal protective equipment if required, maintaining social distancing requirements, and remaining in the visiting area during the visit.

Some circumstances allow longer and in-room visits, including

  • Visiting residents who are dying. The number of visitors, length, frequency and nature of visits should reflect what is needed for the person to die with dignity, comfort and support.
  • Residents who have a clearly established and regular pattern of involvement from visitors contributing to their care and support, such as visitors who assist the resident with their meals or behavioural support for someone living with dementia.
  • Visits from family, families of choice and friends who travel extensive distances to visit the resident, with prior agreement from the aged care home.

Return to the top

 

8 May – Tasmanian Government Announces Roadmap to Recovery

The Tasmanian Government has announced a three-stage Roadmap to Recovery as it slowly relaxes restrictions introduced in response to the COVID-19 emergency.

The changes will be gradual, with careful monitoring of each stage to ensure safeguards are working in reducing the risk of outbreaks and enabling health authorities to respond if needed.

The following changes will be introduced on 11 May, before the three-stage Roadmap begins:

  • Funerals – increase from 10 to 20 attendees.
  • Aged care visits – one visit per week and no more than two visitors, managed by the facility.
  • National parks and reserves – open to residents for exercise within 30km of their home.
  • TasTAFE campuses and training facilities open for invited small groups of students only attending practical learning and assessment sessions.

Stage One will start on 18 May, with gatherings increased to 10 people in specified instances.

Vulnerable people, such as those aged over 70, are still encouraged to stay home to protect their health.

Stage Two will start on 15 June and Stage Three on 13 July.

The timing of all stages will be subject to Public Health advice.

For full details of what each stage covers, visit the Tasmanian Government’s Roadmap to Recovery webpage here.

Return to the top

 

6 May – Advocacy Tasmania – Is Your Voice Being Heard?

Advocacy Tasmania is available to support people to have their say and work out ways to fix problems or concerns during COVID-19. No issue is too big or small for Advocacy Tasmania to work on and they can help on all the things they usually do as well as COVID 19 issues. Independent advocates will give you information, options and support for any issues you are experiencing.

If something is worrying you or just doesn’t feel right, you would like something to change, or you would just like some information, then contact Advocacy Tasmania on 1800 005 131, email contact@yoursaytas.org, text 0457 806 963, or visit the website https://advocacytasmania.org.au/.

Return to the top

 

5 May – 1800 98 44 34 – A Tasmanian Lifeline

Lifeline Tasmania has set up a new service for Tasmanians experiencing psychological distress during COVID-19 – call 1800 98 44 34. Available 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Being in psychological distress means that a person feels unhappy, anxious, worried, angry, sad, scared, or grief-stricken. It is not a mental illness but a normal human response to a situation that is frightening, confusing or upsetting, like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tasmanians who may not need a Lifeline service in normal times will find themselves experiencing psychological distress during COVID-19 and are strongly encouraged to find support and assistance through the Tasmanian Lifeline, which offers three types of support:

  • Call in: Tasmanians receive psychosocial support from a trained support workers to discuss concerns and be redirected where appropriate to a referral service.
  • Call out: Contact socially isolated older Tasmanians identified through existing services, family and friends who are concerned, or by other health professionals.
  • Reach out: Identify at-risk members of industries significantly impacted by COVID-19 and reach out for psychosocial support, counselling or employee assistance programs.

Return to the top

 

5 May – Respiratory Clinic Now Open in St Helens

Ochre Health, in partnership with the Health Department, has opened a GP-led Respiratory Clinic at the old St Helens District Hospital, 8 Bowen Street. Appointments can be booked by calling 6351 0007 or online at ochrehealth.com.au/sthelens and select “Respiratory Clinic appointments”.

It is recommended that people aged over 70 years consult via phone or video with their regular GP before booking to make sure an in-person assessment is needed.

The clinic will treat and test people suffering from any mild to moderate respiratory symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat, and/or
  • Tiredness.

The clinic allows people to receive care separately from others’ at GP practices and health facilities, keeping everybody safer. It also means greater numbers of people can be tested for COVID-19 and positive cases can be identified and isolated quickly to minimise the spread of the virus in our community.

Return to the top

 

5 May – Hospital and Aged Care Visitor Restrictions Extended

Restrictions on visitors to hospitals and residential aged care facilities have been extended to ensure the safety of patients and residents.

Hospital visitor restrictions will be in place until midnight 18 May 2020.

Aged care visitor restrictions will be in place until midnight 11 May 2020.

No patient visits will be permitted to hospitals except for:

  • a parent or legal guardian visiting a child who is a patient at the hospital
  • a support person to attend the birth of a child
  • to provide end-of-life support to a patient
  • to provide a patient with physical assistance, communication or comprehension assistance, or assistance with legal or administrative requirements.

Visitors are not permitted to residential aged care facilities, except:

  • to provide end-of-life support to a resident
  • if the person is a key support person for a resident, and the aged care facility requests that person provide support to reduce distress or confusion as a result of a resident’s medical condition.

Visitors to hospitals and aged care facilities must not be unwell and must comply with screening requirements.

Click here for more details from the Tasmanian Government.

Return to the top

 

29 April – Grants for Be Connected Network Partners

The Australian Government has funded Be Connected to support Network Partners with up to $5,000 to purchase loan digital devices and sim cards to Australians aged over 50 years. More information about the grants is here and to find out more about Be Connected Network Partners, click here.

The Be Connected has a range of resources to support older Australians to improve their digital skills or learn new ones. These resources are also handy if you want to help someone else get online. Find out more here.

Return to the top

 

29 April – It’s OK to Have Home Care

The Australian Government has an information sheet for older people who may have an aged care worker visiting them at home. Visit the website here or download the information sheet directly here: It’s OK to Have Home Care.

Aged care workers visiting people at home have been told by Australia’s Chief Medical Officer to take necessary measures to make sure you stay safe. This may include the use of personal protective equipment if you have, are suspected of having, or are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

For further advice, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

Return to the top

 

27 April – Keep Your Health On Track

Have you been putting off a regular medical appointment? What about a prescription, or session with a psychologist?

While it may seem that illnesses other than COVID-19 may not be as important to get on top of at the moment – they still are! Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep your health and wellbeing on track, whether you have COVID-19 or not. Primary Health Tasmania has some tips about how to do that during current restrictions including information on:

  • Appointments
  • Telehealth
  • Prescriptions
  • After-hours care
  • Health emergencies – always call 000 (triple zero) if there’s a medical emergency

More information is here.

Return to the top

 

27 April – COVID-19 Testing Criteria Expanded

Testing for COVID-19 in Tasmania has expanded to include anyone with any of the following symptoms:

  • a fever
  • runny nose
  • cough
  • sore/itchy throat, or
  • shortness of breath.

Call your GP or the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 if you have any of the above symptoms to be tested. Testing is only available with a referral from a GP or the Public Health Hotline.

Testing clinics do not take walk-ins as you must have a referral to be tested. Clinics are located in:

  • Hobart
  • Launceston
  • Devonport
  • Smithton (mobile clinic)
  • Parkside – Burnie
  • North West Regional Hospital (for NWRH and NWPH staff only) – Burnie

Click here for more information.

Return to the top

 

27 April – Updated Aged Care Visitor Restrictions

From Friday 1 May, anyone working in or visiting an aged care facility must have had their flu shot (influenza vaccination). Aged care providers will seek evidence of immunisation from people wanting to visit. This may be:

  • A statement or record from a health practitioner;
  • An immunisation history statement available from Medicare online or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

As previously reported, visitors are only allowed to Tasmania’s residential aged care:

  • To provide end-of-life support to a resident
  • If you are a key support person for a resident with a diagnosed medical condition and, at the request of the aged care facility, you are requested to provide essential support to a resident to reduce distress or confusion as a result of the medical condition.

You will not be able to visit residential aged care at all if you:

  • Have been interstate or overseas in the past 14 days
  • Are displaying symptoms of respiratory infection or has a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees
  • Have had contact within the past 14 days with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, or reasonably suspected of having COVID-19.

Click here for more information.

Return to the top

 

22 April – National COVID Older Persons Information Line

National COVID Older Persons Information Line: 1800 171 866

The new National COVID Older Persons Information hotline will help older Australians get the critical information they need to stay healthy and safe during the pandemic. The hotline provides an access one-stop source for:

  • Personal support
  • Questions
  • Up-to-date guidelines

Older people, carers, people living with dementia and their families are encouraged to call the hotline to speak to friendly, specially trained staff from a senior’s advocacy organisation.

Return to the top

 

22 April – Supermarket Priority Delivery and Community Boxes

Supermarkets have set up priority online delivery services for customers who have trouble getting out to shop. Boxes with basic essentials are also being put together to help.

Return to the top

 

22 April – Important information for people in North West Tasmania

Additional measure have been put in place in Tasmania’s North West to protect the community from COVID-19. This includes:

  • Staying home except for essential reasons
  • Non-essential businesses and services have been restricted to online services only
  • Service Tasmania Centres have been closed until Sunday 26 April. Services can be access at service.tas.gov.au or by calling 1300 13 55 13
  • Essential local government services are continuing but, where possible, will be delivered online or by telephone
  • The North West Regional Hospital (emergency department now open) and North West Private Hospital have been closed for a comprehensive deep clean, and staff required to quarantine for 14 days
  • Hospital services will be provided at alternative hospitals

For more information, visit the Tasmanian Government website here.

Return to the top

 

22 April – Stay Healthy, Stay Connected

Stay Healthy, Stay Connected is a Tasmanian Government online initiative that has information about how to stay healthy and connected at home during COVID-19 restrictions. It’s a place for Tasmanians to come together, connect and share, providing information, ideas and tips.

Return to the top

 

16 April – Small Grants for Community Video Conferencing

Primary Health Tasmania is offering small grants of up to $230 for community groups to support them to purchase annual video conferencing subscriptions. This could be to
– continue regular activities online
– hold a special online activity, event, performance or guest speaker
– provide training to volunteers or members
– check in with people are isolated.

Click here for more information or to apply.

Applications close on 30 June 2020. To be eligible, groups need to be:
– Tasmanian-based, non-profit community group, club or organisation
– have access to the internet
– have an ABN or be auspiced by an organisation that had an ABN.

Return to the top

 

16 April – COVID-19 Information in Different Languages

Health Translations is a Victorian government initiative which provides free, multilingual health and well-being resources. It has health and wellbeing information about COVID-19 including critical fact sheets, videos, and posters currently available in 70 languages. These can be accessed here.

SBS also reports COVID-19 news and information in over 60 languages here.

A range of Fact Sheets translated into multiple languages are available on the Migrant Resources Centre Tasmania website here.

Return to the top

 

8 April – Physical Distancing at Supermarkets

Woolworths, Coles and IGA have introduced new physical distancing requirements for shoppers. To reduce contact between shoppers and staff, they have introduced:

  • Limits to the number of people in the store at any time.
  • Enforcing physical distancing between customers and staff (1.5 metres minimum).
  • Signs to direct movement around stores.
  • Packing your own bags at the checkout.
  • Using tap and go/PayWave whenever possible.

Check where you normally get your groceries to see if restrictions apply and if they have allocated times for people who are at greater risk of getting COVID-19.

Only visit the supermarket if you need to. If you are at greater risk of getting COVID-19 or unwell, ask family, friends or neighbours to shop for you. Check with your local shop whether they do online delivery.

Return to the top

 

7 April – Restrictions to Aged Care Facility and Hospital Visits

Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the North West Regional Hospital, the Tasmanian Government has taken measures to avoid further outbreaks in hospitals and aged care homes.

Hospital visits are now banned except for:

  • Support person at the birth of a child;
  • A parent, carer or guardian for an ill child or dependent person;
  • End of life support for patients.

Aged care home visits are now banned except to for:

  • End of life support;
  • Essential visits by doctors and medical staff.

More information about these bans can be found here.

Return to the top

 

7 April – Changes Over Easter

The Tasmanian Government is encouraging people to stay home this Easter to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Tasmanian Government asks you follow these simple rules:

  • Keep Easter local.
  • Keep Easter to one or two.
  • Keep Easter connected.

Remember that you are unable to:

  • Have more than two visitors at your home;
  • Meet more than one person in a public place;
  • Visit shacks (you must stay at your primary residence);
  • Visit National Parks or camp;
  • Launch recreational boats from certain areas.

More information, ideas about activities to do, and services available during Easter are here.

Return to the top

7 April – Looking after your and others’ mental health during COVID-19

It’s natural to feel anxious, overwhelmed, uncertain, confused or angry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some fact sheets with practical tips about how to look after your mental health, and support others, during COVID-19.

Responding to uncertainty and monitoring your responses to COVID-19.

Tips include:

  • Be aware of your thoughts and feelings – recognise triggers and seek support when needed.
  • Keep informed via official sources – not social media – and take a break from this regularly.
  • Focus on things you can control.
  • Stay connected with others via phone, email or video.

Supporting others and starting the conversation

Tips include:

  • Keep connected with others by scheduling phone calls, video calls or messaging.
  • Recognise changes in behaviour in others that may indicate that they are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, angry etc.
  • Help others focus on what they can control.
  • Show support and acknowledge their experience without judgement. Listen, and ask what you can do to help them feel more supported.
  • Know your boundaries and when to seek professional support.
  • Check in with and take care of yourself.

Return to the top

 

6 April – Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet

What are essential supplies?

Should I be using public transport?

Can I check on my neighbours?

Should grandparents be looking after grandchildren?

If you’re unsure about what you’re able to do during the COVID-19 pandemic, have a look at the Tasmanian Government’s Frequently Asked Questions fact sheet, with these answers and more.

Return to the top

 

1 April – Supporting Vulnerable Tasmanians in our Community

The Tasmanian Government has recently updated information on their website about how they are supporting vulnerable Tasmanians. This page includes information about how to find assistance, and the community, mental health, family violence and child organisations that have been funded to provide additional support during COVID-19. The website is here, and a Fact Sheet is available here.

Return to the top

 

31 March – Emergency Support for Vulnerable Tasmanians

This Fact Sheet provides an update on Emergency Support available to Tasmanians as part of initiatives announced in the Tasmanian Support Measures & Stimulus Packages. It includes types of emergency support:

  • Accommodation support for Tasmanians living on low income and or in homelessness who are required to self-isolate.
  • Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants: one-off payments for people on low income required to self-isolate.
  • Emergency Relief.

Find out more here.

Return to the top

 

31 March – Financial Assistance Supporting Individuals and Households

The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians to support them through the Coronavirus. This assistance includes income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation. Click here for more information and fact sheets. These include:

  • JobKeeper payment for households
  • Income support for individuals
  • Payments to support households
  • Temporary early release of superannuation
  • Temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates
  • Reducing social security deeming rates

Return to the top

 

30 March – Vulnerable people in the workplace

Vulnerable people who are at higher risk of erious illness if they are infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) are:
  • All people aged over 70 years;
  • People aged over 65 with chronic conditions;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 50 years with a chronic medical condition;
  • People with compromised immune systems.

These people should stay home wherever possible. Where they undertake essential work, a risk assessment must be undertaken. More information about this is available here.

Return to the top

 

30 March – Increase in JobSeeker Payment partner-income threshold

The government has substantially increased the amount an eligible person’s partner can earn before they lose the JobSeeker Payment. For the next six months, an eligible person can receive the JobSeeker Payment and associated Coronavirus Supplement if their partner earns less than $3,068 per fortnight, which is around $79,762 a year. Find more information here.

Return to the top

 

29 March – Older Australians support Government’s “strong advice” for vulnerable Australians to remain indoors as far as possible

Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia today advised all older Australians to heed government advice, announced by the Prime Minister tonight, to stay home to the maximum extent practicable and to take very careful precautions when outside their home. You can read COTA Australia’s media release here.

The Australian Government has announced that public gatherings, excluding household members, have been reduced to a maximum of two people and advised people to check State and Territory websites for further enforcement information. It has also advised everyone to  stay home unless you are: shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising or travelling to work or education. For more information, visit the Australia.gov.au.

Return to the top

 

29 March – Rents

The Australian Government has put evictions on hold for 6 months by the states and territories. Landlords and renters are encouraged to talk about short term agreements. More information will be provided this week. For more information, visit Australia.gov.au.

Return to the top

 

29 March – Measures to tackle isolation of older people and domestic violence, safeguard mental health and provide Medicare at home.

With restrictions in place on physical visits to aged care facilities, the Australian Government is providing funds to train volunteers to connect with aged care residents online and by phone. The Community Visitors Scheme will receive money to employ staff to train the volunteers, who will also help older Australians to keep in touch with the community and loved ones. Other measures announced on Sunday 29 March target mental health, domestic violence and medical health at home. You can read the Government’s media release here.

Return to the top

 

26 March – State Government stimulus

You can find information about new social and economic support measures announced by the Tasmanian Premier on 26 March here and fact sheets about State Government stimulus measures here.

Return to the top

 

26 March – Rents

You can find information about changes to residential tenancies here.

Return to the top

 

24 March – Aged Care Royal Commission

The deadline for submissions to the Aged Care Royal Commission has been extended to 30 June, due to the effects of the COVID-19 situation. You can find more information about making a submission here.

Return to the top

 

23 March – Community noticeboard

The Tasmanian Council of Social Services (TasCOSS) has developed a COVID-19 Community Services Noticeboard where you can keep up to date with changed service arrangements and closures due to increasing precautions taken in response to COVID-19. You can access the noticeboard here.

Return to the top

 

22 March – Australian Government income measures

The Federal Government will drop the deeming rate and provide new payments to people on income support, as well as time limited measures to support self-funded retirees. Read COTA Australia’s media release here.

Return to the top

 

20 March – Aged Care Royal Commission

The Aged Care Royal Commission has suspended all hearings and workshops for the time being, subject to ongoing review. The decision was made by Commissioners in response to the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. You can read the Royal Commission’s media release here.

Return to the top

 

20 March – Aged care funding

Also on Friday 20 March, COTA Australia welcomed an Australian Government injection of aged care funding in response to challenges COVID-19 poses for aged care providers and unmet needs of older Australians. You can read COTA Australia’s media release here.

Return to the top

 

19 March – Coronavirus (COVID-19) fact sheet for older people

COTA Australia and the Australian Government have released a COVID-19 Fact sheet for older Australians providing authoritative advice to promote clarity and avoid confusion for those at risk. View the COTA Australia media release here and download the fact sheet from the Australian Government Department of Health website here.

Return to the top

 

Elder abuse

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency, some older people will become even more isolated than at other times. Community awareness of elder abuse is always vital but especially when we are experiencing social disruption and financial stress. If you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, ring the Elder Abuse Helpline on 1800 353 374 for free, to talk to someone you can trust. You can find out more about elder abuse here.

Return to the top

 

JobSeeker payments

The Australian Government has suspended mutual obligation requirements for JobSeeker Payment until 31 March 2020 and removed the liquid assets waiting period from 25 March 2020 due to coronavirus (COVID-19). More information for people who need a Services Australia payment because they have been affected by coronavirus is available here.

Return to the top

 

Additional data allowance for internet and mobile phone services

A number of internet and mobile phone service providers have announced that they will be providing additional data allowance to their customers, at no extra cost, to help facilitate remote work, study or self-isolation. You may need to activate the offer to receive the additional data from your service provider. For further information, please see the service provider announcements:

Return to the top

SHARE THIS CONTENT: