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clock iconPosted Wednesday, 16 June 2021

COVID-19 Restrictions: Guidance for Complementary Therapists in Australia

By Lawrence Taylor Ellyard

We will be updating this blog regularly on how to move forward in response to COVID-19. Or stay up to date by visiting the Australian Government website by clicking here

Please note the information contained on this page is general in nature and does not contain professional IICT advice or recommendations, nor does it take into account your personal situation. If you require further information, seek professional advice from the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is operated by the Australian Government. 

10th June 2021

Victoria's Updated COVIDSafe Settings

Following the advice of the Chief Health Officer, the Acting Premier released an update on the easing of restrictions from 11:59pm on 10th June 2021 - read the statement by clicking here.

Metropolitan Melbourne - 

From 11:59pm Thursday 10 June, the five reasons to leave home will no longer apply in metro Melbourne, and the existing 10-kilometre limit will be increased to 25 kilometres. People are asked to stay local and travel into regional Victoria to visit family and friends or take a holiday is still not permitted.

Cafes, restaurants and pubs will open – with strict safety measures like density limits, seated service and QR codes in place. Remaining retail will also open. Hairdressing, beauty and personal care can resume, but only for services where masks can be kept on. 

Read the details on current restrictions here: How we work metropolitan Melbourne

Regional Victoria

Allied Health providers are now able to return to providing routine care in metropolitan Melbourne, with the exception of indoor group classes which are still not permitted.

In regional Victoria, restrictions will also ease. Visitors to the home are allowed – limited to two people and their dependants – once per day. Public outdoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people. Indoor group classes with a maximum capacity of 10 people (incl practitioner) and density quotient of 1:4sqm.

Read the details on current restrictions here: How we work regional Victoria

Restrictions for the operation of Allied Health practices from residential premises:

  • The person operating the service must comply with any other obligations that apply to workplaces, such as having a COVIDSafe Plan and complying with requirements around density limits, cleaning and face coverings.
  • Other COVIDSafe principles should also be applied to the work premises including maintaining physical distance where possible and encourage regular hand hygiene
  • Clients must be made aware not to attend their appointment if unwell, and if they do, there must be a process in place to manage this.
  • It is also recommended that the practice:
    • should have a separate entry/exit point from the home residence, and
    • should have a separate space from their place of residence for the business to operate from, with no shared facilities.

Please refer to the Table of Restrictions effective from 11:50pm, Thursday 10th June for Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria. Stay up to date on the latest COVID-19 restrictions, by visiting www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

 

3rd June 2021

Restrictions continue in metropolitan Melbourne with some changes. Eased restrictions for regional Victoria.

With 60 local cases and more than 350 exposure sites, and a variant of the virus that is quicker and more contagious, the Chief Health Officer has given the advice for the current restrictions to remain in place in Melbourne for a further seven days, with some small changes.

For metropolitan Melbourne, there will still be only five reasons to leave home: shopping for food and supplies, authorised work and study, care and caregiving, exercise, and getting vaccinated. People will be able to travel further for exercise and shopping, with an expanded 10km radius.

Restrictions in regional Victoria will be eased from 11:59pm, Thursday 3rd June, which means business can return to providing routine care, with the exception of group classes which are not permitted at this time. Outdoor group classes are permitted to a maximum of 10 people and a density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies. Masks must be worn indoors at all times.

In regional Victoria if you can work from home, you should continue to work from home. Capacity limits in workplaces such as offices are capped at 50% or 20 people, whichever is greater.

Please be aware of the restrictions that apply to you, and sticking to them to help in stopping the spread – and getting the state of Victoria back to normal.

Click on the following links for full details of the Statement from The Acting Premier and the Table of Restrictions for Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria.

 

17th May 2021

Victoria 7-day Lockdown

From 11:59pm tonight AEST Thursday 27th May 2021 to 11:59pm Thursday 3rd June 2021, Victoria will move to circuit breaker restrictions. You must stay home unless:

  • shopping for necessary goods and services (one person per household, once per day, a support person can accompany if required)
  • caregiving or compassionate reasons
  • authorised work or permitted education, or work interstate
  • exercise (up to two hours, with one other person or members of your household)
  • receive a vaccination
  • other specified reasons (specific exemptions apply)
Exercise and shopping will be limited to five kilometres from home. If there are no shops in your 5km radius, you can travel to the ones closest to you. Shopping is also limited to one person per day, per household.

Face masks will also need to be worn inside and outdoors – everywhere except your own home.

Private and public gatherings will not be permitted, although visiting your intimate partner continues to be okay. Single person bubbles will also be allowed.

Childcare and kinder will remain open, but schools will need to close other than for the children of authorised workers and vulnerable kids.

Shops like supermarkets, food stores, bottle shops, banks, petrol stations and pharmacies will also remain open. Cafes and restaurants will be able to offer take-away only. Gyms, hairdressers, community facilities and entertainment venues will all close. Non-essential retail may only open for click and collect.

Hotels and accommodation can only stay open to support guests already staying onsite. No new bookings can be made – unless it’s for a permitted purpose, like authorised work.

Please click on the links for full details of the Acting Premier’s statement and the 7-day Circuit Breaker Restrictions.

Definition of Authorised Workers

Authorised workers pertains to work considered essential and includes:

  • the continued operation of Allied Health students on placements, when undertaking critical training and examinations
  • Allied Health working in private or public community services, whether clinic or home-based, providing essential clinical care where telehealth services are not clinically appropriate. e.g orthotists and prosthetists providing services such as fitting a brace post-surgery
  • immunisation and vaccination providers including pharmacy immunisers and Aboriginal Healthcare Workers.

For this purpose, essential clinical care is defined below:

  • to prevent a significant change/deterioration in functional independence which would result in an escalation of care needs (e.g. an increase in frequency of treatment needed, an increased need for prescription medication due to a significant increase in pain, requirement for specialist input or review, an increase in care needs, and/or a substantial increase to anticipated recovery time associated with a delay in receiving services)
  • to provide assessment and diagnostic services to clients / patients whose care have been delayed as a result of previous restrictions, with any further delay likely to result in deterioration in functional independence or adverse health outcomes (including access to diagnostic imaging services or assessment for prescription of assistive equipment and technology)
  • to provide services that are essential as part of a broader plan of care with a medical practitioner (e.g. fitting a brace post-surgery)
  • to provide services that are part of a conservative management plan to avoid or delay elective surgery (as agreed with treating team)
  • to provide services immediately following elective surgery that prevent secondary complications or aid functional recovery (as agreed with treating team).

Routine care is not permitted.


Definition of Authorised Health Services
  • Pharmacy and urgent services are permitted to open under circuit breaker restrictions.
  • Allied Health services provided by allied health professionals working as authorised workers in hospitals or in residential care facilities providing critical clinical care or as directed by the hospital; or
  • Allied Health workers professionals working in private or public community services, whether clinic-based or home-based, providing essential clinical care where telehealth services are not clinically appropriate; or
  • Allied Health services provided by allied health professionals working in private practice providing care through telehealth and other virtual care options
  • Allied Health professionals providing mental health services in hospital; or
  • Allied Health professionals providing mental health services in community settings by telehealth, or by face-to-face (but only for urgent care where telehealth is not clinically appropriate)
  • Students, medical/nursing/midwifery/allied health on placement providing authorised care in hospitals or in residential care facilities, or through telehealth.


Clinical Placements

Essential adult education services including health care worker and aged and disability care clinical placements is permitted under the circuit breaker lockdown.

For the latest COVID-19 updates please visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

 

 

1st April 2021

Restrictions for Queensland

From 12pm (midday) AEST Thursday 1 April 2021 to Thursday 15 April 2021, restrictions will ease in greater Brisbane. All of Queensland will be subject to the same restrictions:

  • you must carry a face mask at all times and wear indoors, unless you have a lawful reason not to
  • gatherings in private residences (homes and accommodation) are limited to 30 persons in total
  • you can leave your home for any purpose. You can travel anywhere in Australia. Please note other states and territories may have restrictions in place that prevent you from travelling to them
  • visitors to aged care facilities, disability accommodation services, hospitals and correctional facilities are restricted across the state
  • Retail food services, entertainment venues and high risk businesses must only open for seated eating and drinking (inside), standing to eat and drink as well as dancing (outside), takeaway and delivery. Remember to always check in when visiting a venue.

For the latest COVID-19 updates please visit www.qld.gov.au.

 

30th March 2021

DHHS Victoria Update: PPE for Allied Health services in private practice

The latest guidance for Coronavirus (COVID-19) - PPE for Allied Health in Private Practice Settings has been published. Download the PDF here.

In the changing coronavirus (COVID-19) environment, content is often being updated. To ensure you are
aware of the most recent changes, all content updates and the date the document was last updated will be
highlighted in yellow.

 

29th March 2021

Greater Brisbane 3-day lockdown

From 5pm AEST Monday 29 March 2021, greater Brisbane will enter a 3-day lockdown and mandatory mask wearing requirements will change for all of Queensland.

People who have been in the greater Brisbane region since the 20 March 2021 will be subject to home confinement restrictions. The impacted Local Government Areas are: City of Brisbane, City of Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay Region and Redland City.

If you have been in these areas on or since 20 March please ensure you follow the restrictions outlined on the Queensland Government website.

Masks for all of Queensland including Greater Brisbane

Mandatory mask wearing requirements will change for all of Queensland.  You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to.

It is strongly recommended you wear a mask when outdoors if you are unable to stay more than 1.5m distance from other people, such as busy walkways and thoroughfares. Please click here to see the guidance on wearing a mask in indoor spaces and circumstances when wearing a mask is not required.

Non-essential businesses, activities and undertakings

A person who owns, controls or operates a non-essential business, activity or undertaking in an impacted area, including operating at a private residence, must not operate the business, activity or undertaking, with limited exceptions.

  • Cafes, pubs and restaurants no dine in customers – takeaway allowed.
  • Boot camps and personal training to two people outdoors (including the trainer), with physical distancing observed.
  • Social sport is permitted, such as golf and tennis, limited to two people outdoors, with physical distancing observed.
  • Community facilities to remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services. Community facilities may continue to operate if they provide formal out of school hours care. Physical distancing must be observed to the extent possible.
  • Food markets and farmers markets to continue to operate.
  • Real estate auctions and open house inspections to private appointments only.

Queensland is continuing to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. To keep safe, it is important to know what you can and can’t do. For more information on general restrictions, please visit www.qld.gov.au.

 

26th March 2021

Victoria COVIDSafe Settings Relaxed & Update on COVID/PPE/Vaccines

Following reduced exposure risk and low community transmission, the Acting Premier James Merlino and Minister for Health Martin Foley announced that Victoria would return to COVIDSafe settings from 6pm Friday 26 March 2021.

The Acting premier provided further detail of the easing of restrictions here: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/victoria-further-relax-covidsafe-settings.

The Department of Health and Human Services Victoria (DHHS) have received a number of queries and are aware of concerns raised about when and where face masks are required to be worn in patient and non-patient facing healthcare settings and retail premises. They have been advised that updated guidance and further information is being developed which aims to address common practitioner and consumer questions, and will be available shortly. DHHS are working with the relevant areas of government and will provide further information as soon as it is available.

The DHHS are also getting an number of queries in respect of the vaccine roll out. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout will be over three phases, prioritising vaccinations for people at high risk.

These priority groups have been set by the Australian Government based on recommendations by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

Please see click here for an overview of who will be vaccinated for COVID-19 under Phase 1b, based on recommendations by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

Thank you for your understanding and patience. We will provide further details as updates are received from the DHHS.

 

17th February 2021

Victoria Returns to COVIDSafe Summer Restrictions

From 11:59pm 17 February 2021 Victoria returns to COVIDSafe Summer restrictions with some revised conditions.

For more information, please click on the following links:

 

12th February 2021

Victoria Circuit Breaker Action

From 11:59pm on 12 February new circuit breaker actions will be in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 across Victoria.

New changes have been introduced to slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people leaving their homes and moving around Victoria.

This means that you cannot leave your home unless you are doing it for one of the following four reasons: shopping for necessary goods and services; care and caregiving; exercise; and essential work.

You must stay within 5km of your home. This limit does not apply to work or when giving or receiving care.

You can leave your home in an emergency or if there is family violence.

Face masks will need to be worn indoors and outdoors whenever you leave your home.

Please find links below for more information about the new restrictions:

At this time, unless you are employed within an inpatient health service setting or residential aged care facility, it's recommended that you cancel all face to face appointments for the next 5 day period and reschedule to telehealth where possible.

 

4th February 2021

DHHS Victoria Update: Revised state-wide restrictions and impacts for Allied Health and primary care providers

In response to a hotel quarantine worker testing positive, new state-wide restrictions came into effect in Victoria as of 11:59pm on 3 February 2021, and are as follows;

  • The limit on the number of people gathering in a household has been reduced from 30 to 15.
  • Face masks are again mandatory in all public indoor spaces, apart from when eating or drinking.
  • The 75 per cent ‘return to work’ cap in both public and private sectors scheduled for Monday 8 February has been paused and the current cap of 50% will remain in place.
At this time, there is no indication as to how long these new restrictions will be required.

For Allied Health and primary care providers, industry restrictions remain consistent with the industry guidance aligned to ‘COVIDsafe Summer restrictions’; https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-sector-guidance-health-care-and-social-assistance. Requirements for physical distancing and density quotients for group interventions remain unchanged with the new state-wide restrictions. That is, physical distancing of 1.5m should be maintained wherever possible, with a density quotient of 1:2 metres2 for group interventions, meetings, etc.

Whilst the industry guidelines state that patients/clients do not need to wear a face mask unless the Allied Health practice is located in a shopping centre/retail setting, it's strongly encourage practitioners (in all private practice settings) to reinstate requirements for mask wearing by patients/clients in shared waiting rooms and other communal spaces (ie. reception areas, bathrooms).

We hope this information is of assistance to you. Fore more information, please visit the www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au website.

 

31st January 2021

Perth metro, Peel and South West to enter hard lockdown

Due to the detection of a positive COVID-19 case in a hotel quarantine worker, a lockdown has been introduced in specific areas of Western Australia - the Perth metropolitan area, Peel and South West regions. Effective from 6pm Sunday, 31 January until 6pm Friday, 5 February 2021, the following restrictions apply for the lockdown period:

  • People should not leave Perth, Peel or the South West during this period
  • People can enter Perth, Peel or the South West only to access or deliver essential health and emergency services and other essential requirements
  • Non-residents currently in Perth, Peel and the South West are required to remain until the end of the restriction period however if you must leave for serious reasons you are to then return home immediately, stay home and get tested if symptoms develop

Masks are to be worn at all times when outside of your place of residence, this includes at workplaces and on public transport. For more information about masks, see the Healthy WA website

Beauty therapy services, parlour or salon including hairdressers, barbershop, nail salon, tattoo parlour, spa or massage parlour in the Perth, Peel and South West regions will need to close.

For more information, see Five-day lockdown frequently asked questions.

 

17th January 2021

Victoria COVIDSafe Summer: Industry Restart Guidelines for Allied Health & other primary care services

Updates to reflect the COVID-safe Summer restrictions have been made to the Industry Restart Guidelines: Allied Health and other primary care services. Please click here to view the guidelines.

The density quotients for indoor groups are now confirmed as;

  • 1 to 2 square metres for services in clinical settings
  • 1 to 4 square metres for services delivered in fitness industry settings (refer to p.2 of the document)

Specific requirements for clinical services provided from a residential address are also outlined on p.3 of the document, which states services operated from a residential address can operate, subject to the following restrictions:

A fact sheet of the PPE guidance as applied to private practice allied health, which is also relevant to complementary therapists is available via the Industry Victoria website - click here to view

Checklist for business owners/managers

  • Prepare your COVIDSafe Plan
  • Ensure workplace is set up to adhere to relevant limits and density quotient
  • Prepare a cleaning schedule
  • Signage requirements
  • Establish your record keeping
  • Consult with workers

 

11th January 2021

Greater Brisbane - Restrictions for Impacted Areas

To protect the health of Queenslanders, from 6pm AEST 11 January 2021 to 1am 22 January 2021, the Greater Brisbane region will be subject to new restrictions. This includes: City of Brisbane, City of Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay Region, Redland City. 

A summary of restrictions that apply to impacted areas are available at www.qld.gov.au.

COVID Safe Businesses

Queensland is open for business, but there are still some things businesses need to do to keep COVID safe:

  • Follow the public health directions to keep your business and customers COVID Safe.
  • Ensure staff and customers observe physical distancing.
  • Collect and keep customer details (if required).
  • Don’t allow staff or customers showing any COVID-19 symptoms to enter your premises.
  • Ensure COVID Safe management plans (Work Health and Safety) are in place which detail how you, your workers and your patrons will stay COVID safe.
  • Operate under a COVID Safe Industry Plan or a COVID Safe Checklist, which detail how COVID safety is managed in specific industries.
  • Develop COVID Safe site specific plans if your business has an individual, unique and complex site (like large outdoor amusement parks, zoos etc.).
  • The COVID Safe Business Framework outlines how workplace health and safety requirements, checklists and industry and site specific plans work together to help ensure Queensland businesses continue to operate COVID safely.

Penalties - Any business found in breach of the Public Health Directions and/or Public Health Act 2005 could face a penalty of up to $6672.50 or 6 months' imprisonment. 

On the spot fines can also be issued.

To avoid this, we recommend you check back to the Queensland Government website regularly for updates to the Roadmap, plans and checklists.

Beauty and Personal Care Services

I am a massage therapist. Can I offer massage therapy?

You can provide massage therapy to clients for the management or prevention of a disease, injury or condition, if you comply with a COVID Safe Checklist or COVID Safe Plan.

If you provide massage for non-therapeutic purposes, like relaxation massage, you may operate in accordance with a COVID Safe Plan, or with a maximum of 50 people in compliance with a COVID Safe Checklist.

What is included in beauty therapy?

Businesses can operate for all personal appearance/beauty therapy and nail services including, for example, facials, makeup, waxing, laser hair removal, laser treatments and eyelash extensions. Spray tans, cosmetic injections, body piercing and micro needling and tattooing (including tattoo parlours) are also included. Water-based spa services and non-therapeutic massage may also be provided.

Beauty therapy businesses must operate in compliance with a COVID Safe Checklist or COVID Safe Plan. Beauty therapy businesses that offer water-based spa services like saunas and bathhouses or non-therapeutic massage will be limited to 50 people for their business if they are complying with a COVID Safe Checklist.

 

4th January 2021

DHHS Victoria Update: PPE guidance for Allied Health services in private practice

The Health Care and Social Assistance sector guidance page on the Victorian Government website has been updated to include a downloadable PDF about PPE guidance for Allied Health private practice. They've also included a FAQ section for practitioners and clients in this sector on the website.

  • View the updated Industry Restart Guidelines for Allied Health and other primary health services with information about PPE guidance here - Industry Restart Guidelines PDF
  • Read answers to frequently asked questions by practitioners and clients within the healthcare and social assistance sector here - www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

 

3rd January 2021

NSW Health: Restrictions for Greater Sydney, Central Coast and Wollongong

In Greater Sydney, Central Coast and Wollongong areas, it is mandatory to wear a face mask indoors.

A face mask (fitted face covering) is mandatory in the following indoor settings:
  • shopping (retail, supermarkets and shopping centres)
  • public and community transport
  • indoor entertainment (including cinemas and theatres)
  • places of public worship
  • hair and beauty premises
  • tattoo parlours
  • massage parlours
  • betting agencies
  • gaming areas in licensed premises.
Under the public health order, a "fitted face covering" means a mask or other covering that:
  • fits securely around the face, and
  • is designed or made to be worn over the nose and mouth to provide the wearer with protection against infection.
  • You may be fined $200 on the spot for not wearing a face mask.

Children aged 12 and under, are exempt but are encouraged to wear masks where practicable.

For more information on the restrictions for Greater Sydney, Central Coast and Wollongong, list of premises where a mask must be worn, please visit the www.nsw.gov.au website.

Guidelines for Gyms and Fitness Classes

Gyms must be registered as COVID Safe and have a COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshal present when there are more than 25 people using the gym at the same time.

The gym COVID Safety Plan applies to any gym that is an indoor recreation facility open to members of the public. This includes gyms that are in a hotel or workplace.

Indoor gyms are subject to the one person per 4 square metres rule.

A maximum of 30 people per class applies to gym and recreation classes such as yoga, tai chi and pilates.

If a gym is not open to members of the public – such as a gym in residential premises, a home or an apartment building – these requirements do not apply.

A gym does not include a studio for dance, yoga, pilates, gymnastics or martial arts.

See the COVID-19 Safety Plans that apply to:

 

8th December 2020

DHHS Victoria Update: Further advice on continued wear of a Tier 1 mask when providing clinical services to patients

The Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) received further advice from Public Health regarding the transition to ‘COVID-safe summer’ restrictions for Allied Health and primary care practitioners.

Public Health have confirmed that all Allied Health and primary care practitioners must continue to wear a Tier 1 mask (at minimum) when providing clinical services to patients.

Mandatory indications for mask wearing for members of the general public are now limited to public transport, commercial passenger vehicles, ride share and indoor shopping/retail. In this context, patients do not need to wear masks when been treated by an Allied Health or primary care practitioner unless the practice is located within a shopping centre/retail setting.

Further advice from Public Health is still pending regarding a potential change in density quotients. We will provide updates as soon as this information is available.

In addition, requirements for the provision of clinical services from a residential address currently remain unchanged.

 

1st December 2020

SA Health: Mandatory Mask Use

From the 1st of December, all people in health care settings must wear a single-use surgical mask (covering mouth and nose) at all times when in the physical presence of other people on the premises.

The Emergency Management (Public Activities No 13) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 includes details around mandatory mask use in health care settings.

All people in health care settings are required to wear a mask while in the physical presence of other people. This includes:

  • care providers
  • patients
  • clients
  • residents
  • administrative and other staff
  • employees
  • visitors
  • students
  • contractors and
  • any other person present on site.

Masks are also required for:

  • Employees at nail salons, tattoo parlours, hairdressers and similar businesses.
  • People who are in self-quarantine or self-isolation who need to leave their home to seek urgent medical care, seek urgent medical supplies or get tested for COVID-19 must wear a mask when in public.

For more the latest information on COVID-19 restrictions in SA, please visit www.sahealth.sa.gov.au. You can also the FAQs for the mandatory mask use in health care settings by clicking here.

 

30th November 2020

DHHS Victoria Update: Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers

Eye protection is no longer mandated for Tier 1 PPE, for patient facing health care workers providing care and or treatment to COVID negative patients and/or patients who have no risk factors for COVID-19 (e.g. clinical risk factors or epidemiological factors).

This replaces the advice in Conventional use of PPE guidance published on the 21st of October. Please note the Conventional use of PPE guidance document is currently being updated.

As yet, it's not confirmed when the revised guidance document will be endorsed, however the statement on the DHHS website should now be applied to implementation of the department’s PPE guidance.

We will share information on the PPE guidance document for Allied Health in private practice, as soon as we receive an update.

We hope the above information proves useful. To find out more about guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, click here.

 

23rd November 2020

Summary of Last Step restrictions for metro Melbourne and regional Victoria - Allied Health and Primary Care 

Following the Victorian Premier’s announcement yesterday, a summary of the Last Step restrictions for Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria (effective as of 11.59pm, 22 November 2020) has been released. Click here to download the summary.

Based on this document, there are limited changes for Allied Health and Primary Care providers, which are summarised below;

  • Indoor group therapies in clinical treatment settings and fitness industry settings may increase to a maximum cap of 20 participants (within density quotients).
  • Indoor group therapy classes conducted in a fitness industry setting may now operate with a density quotient of 1 to 4 metres square (i.e. previous density quotient was 1 to 8 metres square). This brings into alignment the density quotients for clinical treatment settings and fitness industry settings.
  • Outdoor group therapies may increase to a maximum cap of 50 participants. Owing to the proximity to other participants and potential for contact, face masks still should be worn by all participants.
  • Caps on group sizes for hydrotherapy in indoor and outdoor pools have been removed, however a density quotient of 1 to 4 metres square still applies.
  • Restrictions on the purpose, number and time limits for visitors to hospital and care facilities have been removed, but remain subject to the rules/regulations of each individual facility.
  • The conventional use of PPE guidance (upon which the Allied Health private practice PPE guidance is based) has not changed at this time. The requirement for use of a face shield remains under all three risk Tiers, noting where practicable.

The Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) are continuing to seek further guidance from Public Health regarding provisions for therapy services operating from a residential address, and will share updates as soon as they have additional detail.

For the most up-to-date information on Mapping Victoria’s path toward COVID Normal, please visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

 

2nd November 2020

Revised Industry Restart Guidelines    

An updated version of the Industry Restart Guidelines is now available on the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) website – www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au reflecting requirements for Third Step restrictions; Download the updated guidelines here. Metropolitan Melbourne has now entered the Third Step.

Updates on Group Therapy Density Quotients and Services operating from Residential Addresses

Formal confirmation has been received from Public Health that indoor therapy groups (in both clinical settings and fitness industry settings) will be allowed to recommence in metro Melbourne from 11.59pm on Sunday 8 November 2020. Please note the details provided outlining differences in the requirements for density quotients between these two settings.

  • For clinical settings, indoor groups (when permitted) will need to operate with a density quotient of 1 person per 4 square metres, maximum number of 10 people per group – practitioners excluded from the group numbers. 
  • For health professionals, that provide clinical services in a fitness industry setting (ie. public/commercial gym) a density quotient of 1 person per 8 square metres will apply with a maximum group size of 10 people – practitioners again excluded from the group numbers.

Advice for Allied Health and other Healthcare Services operating a business from home

Please find below additional information from the DHHS Public Health unit with regard to requirements for Allied Health and other healthcare services operating from a residential address.

To operate a ‘business from the home’, the owner/practitioner of the business must ensure their compliance with Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions as follows;

  • The residential premise must be registered as a business premise and have a COVID-safe plan in place
  • A separate entry/exit point must be available for patients/clients to access the premise
  • Patients/clients cannot access any shared facilities in the owner/practitioner’s place of residence – including bathrooms/toilets and foyer areas
  • Density quotients, physical distancing and PPE requirements remain applicable
  • Patients/clients must wear a face covering for the duration of the intervention/treatment – the only exception being where a patient/client is legally exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering as per DHHS directives. For more information on Exceptions for not wearing a face mask, click here. 

Departmental Guidance for Workplace Cleaning and Disinfection

Practical actions can be taken to keep your staff and customers safe by implementing hygiene and physical distancing measures. Please be aware of the guidelines and refer to the useful fact sheets below on how best to clean and disinfect to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission:

These resources are also available via the DHHS COVID-19 website; www.dhhs.vic.gov.au

 

28th October 2020

Victoria Allied Health and Other Primary Care Services Update

We are pleased to share the information that as of 11.59pm, 27th October, all allied health and other primary care services are able to resume routine 1:1 patient care with a COVID-safe plan in place. Complementary and alternate therapies are included within the definition of ‘other’ primary care services. Telehealth is the preferred method, where possible.

The only exception/restriction for metro Melbourne that remains is indoor group activity. This is still not permitted until the restrictions for metro Melbourne aligns with regional Victoria on the 8th November 2020. Any form of indoor activity that brings members of different households together is still considered the highest risk, irrespective of the reason those people might be in the indoor space.

A COVID-safe plan is a mandatory requirement

Please ensure you are aware of the six COVID-safe principles and requirements for COVID-safe plans. To view the document click here.

Further revision of the Industry Restart Guidelines for Allied Health and other primary health services is expected within the coming days. This update will be available via the Business Victoria website.   

We're waiting on further information about home based practices. However, the following rules apply: 

  • Covid-safe plan must be in place
  • Separate entry and exit point from premises
  • Must be a registered business – registered with local council with correct zoning in place (it cannot be a side business).

PPE for Allied Health in Private Practice Settings

For information on recommended PPE for allied health professionals in private practice settings, please click here.

 

27th October 2020

From Tuesday 11:59pm, 27th October changes are being made to restrictions in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. 

Following Premier, Daniel Andrews announcement yesterday afternoon, please find below updates on easing of restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. 

Metropolitan Melbourne: See the Premier's metropolitan statement here

Hair, Beauty & Personal Care Services:

  • Restricted. Hairdressers and beauty services open where a face mask can be worn for the duration of service.
  • To view the summary of the Third Step and further easing of restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne click here

Healthcare & Social Assistance:

  • Restricted. All AHPRA-registered health workers - and in addition, social work, speech pathology, dietetics, audiology, exercise physiology, orthotists, orthoptits, art therapists, music therapists. and prosthetists may provide face to face services for routine and preventative care (noting that telehealth remains preferred and indoor classes are not allowed) 
  • Any other health worker providing services required under a Chronic Disease Management Plan, a care plan endorsed by NDIS (including self-managed plans), TAC, Workcover or DVA - if care is required to prevent a significant change/deterioration in functional independence necessitating escalation of care (e.g. an increase in frequency of treatment needed, an increased need for prescription medication due to a significant increase in pain, requirement for specialist input or review, an increase in care needs, and/or a substantial increase to anticipated recovery time associated with a delay in receiving services).
  • No group classes / services to be provided (face-to-face) unless the session can be conducted safely outdoors (maximum 2 people plus health worker).
  • To view the Industry Restrictions Level for Healthcare (Allied Health and other primary health services) click here

Regional Victoria: See the Premier's regional statement here

Hair, Beauty & Personal Services:

  • Restricted. Hairdressers and beauty services open where a face mask can be worn for the duration of service.
  • To view the summary of further easing in the Third Step for Regional Victoria click here

Healthcare & Social Assistance:

  • Restricted.  For more information about health care and social assistance sector guidance click here 

We'll provide more information as we receive detailed changes to these guidelines.

 

26th October 2020

Victoria COVID-19 restrictions update

Below is an update on COVID-19 restrictions for Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria:

Metropolitan Melbourne (Currently at Second Step)

  • Personal services including massage is not permitted.

Regional Victoria (Currently at Third Step):

  • Massage & Beauty Therapy are allowed with the use of face masks. Personal services where a face mask can be worn for the duration of service is permitted, however with restrictions eg providing facials is not permitted as clients cannot wear a mask for total duration of the treatment.
  • If a service is required as part of a Chronic Disease Management Plan (as authorised/endorsed by NDIS, TAC, Workcover or DVA) then the practitioner is permitted to provide services.
  • All AHPRA registered health workers, including social workers, speech pathologists, dietetics, audiologists, exercise physiologists are permitted to provide face to face services if required to prevent significant deterioration in a patient.

For more information, please refer to the following helpful links:

 

15th October 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) roadmap for the reopening of Victoria

Regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne each have their own roadmaps, based on the number of active cases currently in the community. Each are will be able to move to the next step of the reopening roadmap subject to public health advice. 

Metropolitan Melbourne. Currently at Second Step can move to the Third Step of the roadmap to easing restrictions when the daily average number of cases in the last 14 days is less than five state-wide and when there are less than five cases with an unknown source in the last 14 days.

Regional Victoria. Currently at Third Step. The Last Step on regional Victoria's roadmap to easing restrictions can start when there have been no new cases for 14 days, across Victoria.

For further information on Victoria's roadmap for reopening, please refer to the useful links below:

On behalf of the IICT team, we encourage IICT Members to stay strong as we patiently wait for restrictions to ease in keeping with the lower case numbers across the state. Keep safe and take care.

 

16th September 2020

Regional Victoria moves to the Third Step from 11:59pm, Wed 16th Sept

IICT welcomes the announcement that regional Victoria has commenced the Third Step to reopening from 11:59pm, Wednesday 16 September 2020.

For all natural therapy practitioners in regional Victoria, you can continue to practice (as has been the case under Stage 3 restrictions). For more information and FAQs on the Third Step visit www.vic.gov.au.

For our Melbourne Metro members, we are hopeful that there will be further announcements soon that may indicate some good news for all. 

 

8th August 2020

COVID-19 Victoria Restrictions Update

To our Victorian IICT Members, below are updates on the COVID-19 restrictions in your state. Please read the guidelines below that apply for Regional Victorian and Melbourne metropolitan members:

Regional Victorian Members:
Stage 3 restrictions permit you to continue practising at this time, but we do urge you to exercise a high level of caution with regard to clients you accept, ensuring they are adequately screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to their appointment, that appropriate hygiene processes are adhered to, and that both you and your client are wearing a mask at all times.

Melbourne Metropolitan Members:
Stage 4 restrictions are aligned to Victoria’s current State of Disaster declaration and are understandably focused on saving and protecting the lives of all Victorians through restricting non-essential movement across the State.

What does this mean for you?

  • All therapeutic health services are not permitted
  • If you can conduct your services online via zoom, Skype etc, this is permitted
  • We very much appreciate that these restrictions will mean that closing your practices for now will be the only option for many Melbourne based therapists.

In addition to the above critical information, we have been advised the following:

  • You can leave home to receive health care or attend medical appointments. If you need to see a doctor or health care professional, you should do so. Do not put off getting medical care. Your doctor or health care professional can provide advice on how to stay safe.
  • You can leave home to care for a sick or elderly relative. If you are providing care for someone you should try to keep 1.5 metres between you when you can. Wear a face covering.
  • You can leave home to accompany someone for essential medical treatment only if you are a parent, guardian or necessary support person.

For further information and resources to help you create a COVID Safe Plan for your practice, click here.

 

8th July 2020

Victoria Reinstates Stage 3 Stay At Home Restrictions

To all our loyal IICT members in Victoria dealing with the second wave of Covid-19 restrictions, our heart goes out to you all as the impact of a second wave affects natural therapists across the state.

Below are all the details to assist you during this very difficult time:

Based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government announced Stay at Home directions for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from 8 July until 11.59pm on 19 August. For six weeks, people who live in these areas are only allowed to go out for: shopping for food and supplies, health care and caregiving, outdoor exercise, and study or work (if unable to work or study from home).

Indoor sports centres including gyms, training facilities and pools will be closed.

Community sport training and competition cannot occur within metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. People living in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, cannot attend or participate in community sport elsewhere.

People can only exercise or undertake sporting activities outside with one other person or household members. A 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others must be kept.

Some outdoor sport facilities will be closed. Personal training outdoors can occur but with a limit of two participants, in addition to the instructor.

For more information on Victoria's restriction levels, click here.

Business Support Package

A $534 million Business Support Package was announced on the 10th July to provide more support to help businesses and workers through these renewed restrictions. This includes:

  • The expanded Business Support Fund, that will provide more than 80,000 eligible businesses with a new $5,000 grant to support them through the renewed restrictions
  • $26 million in mental health support to ensure Victorians dealing with the compounding challenges of running a small business can get the support they need as they navigate their way through the crisis
  • A $10 million business mentoring program, pairing small business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis
  • A $20 million fund to support small businesses in Melbourne’s CBD that are faced with a large and sustained shock to their trading environments.
Get more information about the Victorian Business Support Package and view the details of each program by clicking here.

 

2nd June 2020

Gyms to Reopen in NSW June 13

The NSW Government announced restrictions on gyms to be lifted from June 13, including yoga and Pilates classes. Read the latest update here

 

25th May 2020

Further Restrictions Eased 

Yesterday, both NSW and Victoria announced an easing of restrictions to personal care services and offering treatments to clients.

In addition, six states and territories have confirmed when indoor gyms can reopen, including yoga and Pilates classes. Please find below update for both:

Personal Care Services Update

New South Wales - JUNE 1

Victoria - JUNE 1

Queensland - MAY 15 (Stage 1) & JUNE 12 (Stage 2)

  • Currently, up to a maximum of 10 clients at any one time 
  • This will increases to a maximum of 20 clients at any one time in stage 2
  • Click here for more details

South Australia - JUNE 5

Tasmania - JUNE 15

Northern Territory - MAY 15 (currently in effect)

Western Australia - To be confirmed

Australian Capital Territory - To be confirmed

Indoor Yoga and Pilates Classes and Gyms Update

New South Wales - To be confirmed

Victoria - JUNE 22

Queensland - JULY 10

South Australia - JUNE 5

Tasmania - JUNE 15

Northern Territory - MAY 15 (currently in effect)

Western Australia - MAY 18 (currently in effect)

Australian Capital Territory - To be confirmed

If you have any information to share regarding COVID-19 that you feel other members would find useful, please contact our team by clicking here.

For advice relating to your specific circumstances, seek professional advice from the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. 

 

20th May 2020

Latest State News & Updates

New South Wales

Free COVID-19 webinars for small businesses

Support and financial relief for businesses, workers and jobseekers

What you can and can't do under the easing of restrictions

Victoria

Latest business support, advice and information

Current State of Emergency in Victoria

Queensland

Roadmap to easing restrictions

South Australia

Roadmap to easing restrictions

Business restrictions and closures

Western Australia

COVID Safety Plans key to reopening WA businesses

Roadmap to easing restrictions

Tasmania

Roadmap to recovery

Northern Territory

Roadmap to the new normal

Steps to the new normal business restart

ACT

Restrictions and advice

Dates for stage two and three easing of coronavirus restrictions in Canberra announced

 

13th May 2020

Stage 2 Easing of Restrictions

Based on the new three-step framework, it appears that most therapists will be able to reopen in stage two with a maximum of 20 clients on the premises at any one time. This increases to 100 clients in stage three. However, each state and territory is different and we strongly recommend you visit your local government website (links below). For example Queensland is allowing some beauty therapies to open for up to 10 people at one time in stage one from Friday May 15.

At this stage Western Australia is planned to begin stage two on Monday May 18 (however beauty therapy and personal care services won't be permitted until stage 3), Queensland Friday June 12, Northern Territory Friday May 15, South Australia Monday June 8 and Tasmania Monday 15 June. Some of these dates are still subject to public health advice.

NSW, VIC and ACT will consider stage two restrictions in due course and have not announced any dates at this stage. 

11th May 2020

National Three-Step Plan to Relax Restrictions

A national three-step plan to relax coronavirus restrictions has been announced, with states and territories to decide when each step will be implemented locally. To read more click here.

While step one requires 'hair and beauty services' to remain closed, step two will allow allow these services to re-open with up to 20 clients in the premises and a requirement to record contact details. Step three allows all establishments to reopen with up to 100 people.  

three-step-framework-covidsafe-australia

For state and territory government information regarding stage one easing of restrictions please read below or click on your local state government for the latest responses:

New South Wales

New South Wales will start relaxing lockdown restrictions from Friday, but does not plan to implement all step one measures agreed to by National Cabinet.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Sunday that outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted and people can have five visitors at any one time.

Cafes and restaurants will also be able to have up to 10 people dining in.

Weddings will be allowed to have up to 10 guests while funerals can accommodate up to 20 mourners indoors and 30 outdoors.

The rules have also been relaxed for places of worship, where there can now be up to 10 people at religious gatherings.

Outdoor gyms and playgrounds will open and outdoor pools with restrictions.

But New South Wales does not intend to follow the National Cabinet's plan to permit local and regional travel.

From today, students across NSW will return to school at least one day a week as part of the Government's managed wind-back of coronavirus restrictions.

Victoria

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced Victorians will be able to have five guests to their home from Wednesday.

As well, groups of 10 will be allowed to participate in outdoor activities.

Mr Andrews said the state was close to finalising a plan to see face-to-face learning return to schools before the end of term two, but said no details would be provided today.

Queensland

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Queensland's plan for the next three months, with the first step taking effect from midnight Friday, May 15.

Under step one, restaurants, cafes and pubs will begin re-opening and bigger public gatherings will be allowed.

Queenslanders will be able to have up to five visitors in their home, with those visitors allowed to be from various households.

Gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed for outdoor activities, personal training, pools, parks and playgrounds, libraries, hiking in national and state parks and places of worship.

Some beauty therapies and nail salons for up to 10 people at one time

The number of people allowed at weddings will increase to a maximum of 10 people, with up to 20 for indoor funerals and up to 30 for outdoor funerals.

South Australia

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall also announced a raft of restrictions would be easing across the state from Monday, May 11.

Outdoor dining at restaurants and cafes will be allowed, and university and TAFE tutorials, as well as public libraries, pools, churches, community halls and auctions will also be reopened.

Groups will be limited to 10 people, however, funerals will soon be able to have 20 people at indoor ceremonies, or 30 for outdoor funerals.

Caravan and camping holidays, as well as regional travel in general, will also be allowed from Monday.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier described the announcement as a "really positive start to looking at moving forward".

The SA Government plans to ease restrictions on cinemas, theatres, seated dining, galleries, museums and gyms for groups of up to 20 people on June 8.

Western Australia

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has announced a roadmap for the reopening of the state's economy, doubling the number of people allowed at non-work gatherings and removing some regional travel borders.

Up to 20 people will be allowed to gather indoors and outdoors. The rule will apply to pubs, bars, community clubs, hotels and the casino.

Up to 20 people will be permitted to attend weddings and funerals, with the cap lifting to 30 people if the service is held outdoors.

WA's temporary regional borders have been reduced from 13 to four, allowing travel between some regions that were previously closed off.

Travel will be permitted within the Mid-West, Gascoyne and Pilbara; the Esperance-Goldfields region; and within the Kimberley.

Restrictions will be removed in the remaining regions — including the South West, Great Southern, Wheatbelt and Peel — to permit travel between those areas and Perth.

Travel between Perth and the other regions will remain prohibited, and WA's interstate border will remain shut for now.

Mr McGowan said the state's success in fighting the spread of coronavirus meant Western Australia was ready to "take the next step".

The changes will take effect from Monday, May 18.

Tasmania

Premier Peter Gutwein has unveiled Tasmania's three-stage plan to roll back restrictions, which could see students back at school by the end of the month.

From Monday, May 11, the limit on the number of people attending a funeral will increase from 10 to 20, aged care visits will be allowed once a week for a maximum of two visitors and national parks and reserves will be opened up to residents who live within a 30-kilometre distance.

Under the second stage, coming into effect on May 18, public gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed but visits to households will be capped at five people.

Restaurants, cafes, playgrounds, pools and boot camps will be allowed to restart for up to 10 people at a time.

The third stage will come into effect on May 25, and is set to see some students return to classrooms while aged care visits will be allowed daily for a maximum of two visitors.

The Premier said each stage will be subject to public health advice.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory has already entered stage one of its restriction-easing plan, opening parks, pools and playgrounds, and lifting limits on outdoor social activities.

From 12:00pm Friday, stage two activities including dining at restaurants, going to the library and exercising at the gym for less than two hours, will be allowed.

Whether the Territory will end its total border closure is still up in the air.

Australian Capital Territory

From midnight on Friday in the ACT, up to 10 people will be allowed to gather indoors or outdoors.

The changes also allow picnics and family gatherings to go ahead, and boot camps to resume.

Ten people can gather for weddings, but special allowances are being made for funerals with 20 people indoors or 30 outdoors.

Home inspections and auctions will also resume, but will be limited to 10 people.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr warned the easing of restrictions was not a licence to throw house parties.

COVIDsafe App

The COVIDSafe is now available from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Safe Work Australia

Safe Work Australia has COVID information across 23 industries so that businesses can return to work in a COVID safe environment. Click here to view the health care advice.  

 

5th May 2020

Bowen Therapists

As of the 2nd May, Bowen Therapists who work in NSW, WA and QLD have been allowed to reopen their clinics. If you require further information, seek professional advice from the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is operated by the Australian Government. 

3rd May 2020

Small businesses offering beauty and personal care products can now open their doors

The NSW Government has made the decision to allow spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons and tanning salons to open their doors, but only to sell goods and gift vouchers.

Read more here

28th April 2020

NSW Health: COVID-19 - Health services and therapies

Under the the Public Health Act, a health service includes “optical dispensing, dietitian, massage therapy, naturopathy, acupuncture, speech therapy, audiology and audiometry service”.

The Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 requires certain premises to close, including spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlours or massage parlours. This does not apply to premises offering health services.

People providing health services may include non-registered health practitioners. All non-registered health practitioners must comply with the code of conduct for non-registered health practitioners. The code requires, among other things, that “a health practitioner must adopt standard precautions for the control of infection in his or her practice.”

Health services that continue to operate should implement processes to minimise risk of transmission, including screening clients for symptoms or contact with a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, identifying and excluding unwell staff members, social distancing measures where feasible e.g. waiting rooms, and infection control procedures including access to soap and water or hand sanitising and enhancing environmental cleaning.

The Health Care Complaints Commission can issue a prohibition order against a practitioner who fails to comply with the code and who poses a risk to the public. A prohibition order can prevent the practitioner from practising or place conditions on their practice.​​​​​

To find out more, click here

20th April 2020

JobKeeper

Enrolment is now open for the government's $130 billion JobKeeper Payment scheme. Eligible employers will be reimbursed a fixed amount of $1,500 per fortnight for each eligible employee. For details on how to enrol - click here

15th April 2020

Therapeutic and Remedial Massage Allowed to Remain Open

While spas and massage parlours providing relaxation massages must cease operating, this is distinct from therapeutic or remedial massage services which are allowed to remain open:

NSW Government

VIC Government

For more information visit your local state government or health department website for more information. 

JobKeeper Payment Update

The Government has passed legislation for the $130 billion JobKeeper Payment to keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the Coronavirus. Discover more here

9th April 2020

Commercial Tenancies

The National Cabinet has agreed that states and territories will implement a mandatory Code of Conduct for commercial tenancies. Click here to read more

Managing Employees During the Crisis

Finding and keeping good employees can be challenging at the best of times. We understand that you don’t want - if possible - to lose them during the pandemic.

To help you understand your options, and to keep your employees’ healthy and safe, please find below some handy legal articles:

Standing Down and Ending Employment

Options for Managing Employees

Employee Health and Safety

7th April 2020

Free TAFE Courses

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TAFE NSW, in conjunction with the NSW Government, is offering a number of fee-free short courses that can be completed in just days or weeks, offering practical skills and experiences across a range of industries. Discover more

6th April 2020

Boosting cash flow for employers

Legislation has been enacted to provide temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations that employ staff during the economic downturn associated with COVID-19. This will be done through two sets of cash flow boosts delivered from 28 April 2020 to support employers to retain employees.

The Australian Government will provide tax-free cash flow boosts of between $20,000 and $100,000 to eligible businesses, delivered through credits in the activity statement system, when eligible businesses lodge their activity statements.

Grants of up to $10,000 are available

The NSW Government has announced that it will put $750 million into the Small Business Support Fund to provide grants for small and micro businesses impacted by the Coronavirus shutdown.

The funding is particularly targeted at local cafés, restaurants, corner shops, gyms and small accommodation providers and is aimed at helping those businesses keep their doors open and staff employed.

To be eligible, businesses will need to:

  • Have between 1-19 employees and a turnover of more than $75,000;
  • A payroll below the NSW Government 2019-20 payroll tax threshold of $900,000;
  • Have an Australian Business Number as at 1 March 2020, be based in NSW and employ staff as at 1 March 2020;
  • Be highly impacted by the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 issued on 30 March 2020;
  • Use the funding for unavoidable business costs such as utilities, overheads, legal costs and financial advice;
  • Provide appropriate documentation upon application.

Applications for a small business grant of up to $10,000 will be available through Service NSW within a fortnight and remain open until 1 June 2020. Click here to read more

Registrations now open for apprentice/trainee subsidies

Registrations are open for small businesses, and other eligible employers, to apply for a 50 per cent wage subsidy of their apprentice’s or trainee’s wage from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Click here to discover more

Update on Commercial Tenancies

The National Cabinet has agreed that a mandatory code of conduct, guided by certain principles, will be developed and subsequently legislated by State and Territory Governments to apply for tenancies where the tenant is eligible for the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper assistance and is a small- or medium-sized enterprise (less than $50 million turnover).

The principles that guide the code will be:

  • Where it can, rent should continue to be paid, and where there is financial distress as a result of COVID-19 (for example, the tenant is eligible for assistance through the JobKeeper program), tenants and landlords should negotiate a mutually agreed outcome
  • There will be a proportionality to rent reductions based on the decline in turnover to ensure that the burden is shared between landlords and tenants
  • There will be a prohibition on termination of leases for non-payment of rent (lockouts and eviction)
  • There will be a freeze on rent increases (except for turnover leases)
  • There will be a prohibition on penalties for tenants who stop trading or reduce opening hours
  • There will be a prohibition on landlords passing land tax to tenants (if not already legislated)
  • There will be a prohibition on landlords charging interest on unpaid rent
  • There will be a prohibition on landlords from making a claim to a bank guarantee or security deposit for non-payment of rent
  • Ensure that any legislative barriers or administrative hurdles to lease extensions are removed (so that a tenant and landlord could agree a rent waiver in return for a lease extension)

For landlords and tenants that sign up to the code of conduct, States and Territories have agreed to look at providing the equivalent of at least a three month land tax waiver and three month land tax deferral on application for eligible landowners, with jurisdictions to continue to monitor the situation. Landlords must pass on the benefits of such moves to the tenants.

In cases where parties have signed to the code of conduct, the ability for tenants to terminate leases as mentioned in the National Cabinet Statement on 29 March 2020 will not apply.

Mediation will be provided as needed through existing State and Territory mechanisms.

The proposed code of conduct will be discussed at the next meeting of the National Cabinet on Tuesday 7 April.

31st March 2020

New JobKeeper Payment

The Australian Government has announced a new subsidy program, the JobKeeper Payment, designed to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 to access $1500 per fortnight per employee for up to 6 months.

Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access a wage subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees.

Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of 6 months. Eligible employees will receive a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight, before tax. It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of JobKeeper Payments.

Full time and part time employees, including stood down employees, would be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment. Where a casual employee has been with their employer for at least the previous 12 months they will also be eligible for the Payment.

Eligible employers will receive the payment for each eligible employee that was on their payroll from 1st March 2020 and continues to be engaged by that employer – including full-time, part-time, long-term casuals and stood down employees.

Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if:

  • their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
  • their business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and their turnover will be reduced by more than 50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); and
  • the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Businesses with employees

Initially, employers can register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020.

Subsequently, eligible employers will be able to apply for the scheme by means of an online application.

The first payment will be received by employers from the ATO in the first week of May.

Eligible employers will need to identify eligible employees for JobKeeper Payments and must provide monthly updates to the ATO.

Participating employers will be required to ensure eligible employees will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.

It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of the JobKeeper Payment.

Businesses without employees

Businesses without employees, such as the self-employed, can register their interest in applying for JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020.

Businesses without employees will need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number and provide a declaration as to recent business activity.

People who are self-employed will need to provide a monthly update to the ATO to declare their continued eligibility for the payments. Payment will be made monthly to the individual’s bank account.

You can register your interest for JobKeeper NOW. Click here or click on the below button:
Register your Interest in JobKeeper Now

29th March 2020

Public gatherings, excluding household members, have been reduced to a maximum of two people. Check State and Territory websites for further enforcement information.

Everyone should stay home unless you are:

  • shopping for essentials,
  • receiving medical care,
  • exercising or
  • travelling to work or education.

People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.

Evictions will be put on hold for 6 months by State and Territory governments. Landlords and renters are encouraged to talk about short term agreements. 

If you are in self-isolation because you are confirmed or suspected to have Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have been in close contact with a confirmed case, use this form to help governments track the spread of the virus.

A safety net package of $1.1 billion has been announced by the Prime Minister to expand mental health and telehealth services, increase domestic violence services and provide more emergency food relief.

Pubs, licensed clubs and hotels (excluding accommodation), gyms, skateparks, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, beauty salons, play centres and outside playgrounds, places of worship and other public places remain closed. Restrictions on attendance at weddings, funerals and outdoor fitness classes remain in place. Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open.

New official "Coronavirus Australia” app. To stay informed download the official government “Coronavirus Australia” app in the Apple App Store or Google Play. Or join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

All travellers returning home from overseas will be quarantined in a hotel or designated facility for 14 days.

You can now check your symptoms online using the Australian Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker tool

The Australian Banking Association have advised that Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for 6 months. If you experience financial difficulty the ABA have further info and the appropriate contact details for all member banks here.

25th March 2020

Last night Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced beauty salons (including tanning, waxing and nail services), spas and massage parlours, yoga, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres will need to close from midnight tonight. Hairdressers can remain open, but appointments can take no longer than 30 minutes. 

To read the full list of prohibited activities and venues please click here

If you are having difficulty paying rent or are worried about breaching contractual obligations, you might like to read these articles:

My Retail Business Is Struggling. How Can I Reduce the Rent?

Coronavirus Is Impacting My Contractual Obligations. What Can I Do?

My Supplier Cannot Perform Under Their Contract Due to Coronavirus. What Can I Do?

It also helps to understand your consumer law obligations, and whether your contracts have a force majeure clause.

Consumer Law and Coronavirus: What are my Obligations?

Coronavirus and Contracts: Will a Force Majeure Clause Help?

The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians. This includes income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation.

Refer to the stimulus payments to households to support growth on the Government website - find out if you're eligible.

For stimulus payments to businesses - click here.

 

24th March 2020

These webpages provide guidance for healthcare workers, staff, healthcare students and volunteers on COVID-19:

NSW Health - Guidelines for healthcare workers who have travelled overseas, had contact with a case, or develop an acute respiratory illness

NSW Health - Guidelines for clinics

NSW Health - Guidelines for community-based and outpatient health services

Queensland Health - Guidelines for Queensland clinicians 

Department of Human Services and Health Victoria - Guidelines for clinicians

SA Health - Health topics

WA Health - Fact sheets and articles

Department of Health Northern Territory - Updates

Tasmanian Health Services - FAQ's Page

Current guidelines include:

Before attendance 

  • Develop a system, prior to attendance (e.g. phone call, SMS), to ask patients whether they’ve been overseas or have had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 while infectious, in the 14 days before the scheduled outpatient appointment.
  • If the patient meets the above criteria:
    • consider alternate of methods of conducting the appointment if appropriate (e.g. telephone or tele-medicine)
    • if it is not possible to conduct the appointment in an alternate way, reschedule their appointment unless it is medically necessary
    • reschedule the appointment for as soon as possible after the 14 day exclusion
    • remind them they are to self-isolate at home for 14 days after they returned or if they have had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 while infectious
    • remind them if they develop respiratory symptoms or fever to call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or call their GP.
  • Note, facilities will need to develop a system to implement the above steps, including appointing an appropriate person to assess whether or not it’s safe to defer the outpatient appointment.

During attendance

  • Consider options to identify patients in the clinic waiting room, e.g.
    • waiting room signage
    • asking patients at reception whether they have been overseas in the last 14 days or have had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 while infectious, in the previous 14 days
  • For patients who meet the above criteria:
    • ask the patient to wear a surgical mask
    • ask the patient if they have any respiratory symptoms or fever.
  • For patients who meet the above criteria and who report symptoms manage the patient in conjunction with the emergency department as per the clinician guidance.
  • Other guidance: ensure availability of surgical masks and hand hygiene facilities

 

23rd March 2020

The Australian Government has announced the following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

  • Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).

Current advice on COVID-19 for the health and aged care sector can be found here:
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-the-health-and-aged-care-sector

Including information on:

  • Public Health Unit guidelines
  • Temporary COVID-19 telehealth Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items
  • Using personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • When you can and cannot work
  • When you should be tested
  • What employers should do
  • Cleaning in the workplace
  • Food and water
  • Training
  • Support for the aged care workforce
  • Stay informed
  • Resources

Who is most at risk:

In Australia, the people most at risk of getting the virus are those who have:

  • recently been in in a high risk country or region (mainland China, Iran, Italy or Korea)
  • been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19

In addition those most at risk of serious infection are:

  • people with compromised immune systems (such as people who have cancer)
  • elderly people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (as they have higher rates of chronic illness)
  • people with chronic medical conditions
  • people in group residential settings
  • people in detention facilities

If your clients are concerned:

They can call the National Coronavirus Helpline for advice on 1800 020 080.

Helpline for Small Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

From today, the Morrison Government's Business Hotline -13 28 46 - will be expanded to provide specialist advisers and extended hours to support small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operations at the contact centre will increase from five days to seven days per week, and provide an additional two hours a day of support outside standard operating hours for the first month, answering calls from 7.00 am to 11.00 pm AEST.

For more information on the assistance available for businesses please go to:

www.business.gov.au 
https://www.australia.gov.au - This site will link you to the latest COVID-19 news, updates, and advice from Australian Government Agencies.


18th March 2020

For a community committed to healing, health, and wellbeing, the last couple of weeks have been difficult for us all. At present, the situation appears to be changing on an hourly basis, and our #1 priority is to keep our team safe and to help our members.

Given this current uncertainty, please find below a statement from our insurance partner, BMS Group. We hope this will answer some of your insurance questions. Please be assured we will continue to monitor the situation very closely and advise of any further changes as they come to light.

If you have questions, please email BMS directly at iict@bmsgroup.com. The BMS team are working around the clock to provide support to customers during this difficult time. If you’re waiting on a reply email, please be patient as they're doing all they can to contact customers as quickly as possible.

If you don't already, we recommend following us on Facebook to stay up-to-date at https://www.facebook.com/myiict 

Stay safe friends,

LAWRENCE TAYLOR ELLYARD 

Founder and CEO (Chief Enthusiasm Officer)

Lawrence-Ellyard

 

BMS Logo

We want to share with you what we are doing at BMS Australia to protect our people and our clients, including Associations and Members. Please note that measures are in place to ensure service delivery is not impacted. Additionally, we are actively engaging with Insurers to clarify and confirm coverage interpretation to provide members as much information as possible, along with news of any developments.

COVID19 is presenting many businesses with challenges, and understanding their level of insurance coverage is just one consideration. Whilst the situation is evolving at a rapid rate, it is difficult to provide a definitive answer on each business or personal circumstance.

However we can highlight that in most circumstances, Insurers have declared COVID19 as an exclusion.

BMS is working with its strategic partners to conduct further coverage reviews and monitor the development of COVID-19 closely. We will communicate information that may impact you as it comes to light.

Thank you for your ongoing support and please feel free to connect with any member of our team if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

BMS Customer Service Team
IICT’s Exclusive Insurance Broker

Ph: 1800 290 981
Em: iict@bmsgroup.com


COVID-19 – What Does This Mean for My Business?

Can I claim loss of income due to COVID 19?

If you have business insurance you should check with your insurer. The BMS business insurance policy does not provide cover for loss of income.

Does my professional indemnity cover me for COVID 19?

We would need to understand the individual circumstances of a claim. If you have a claim you should notify your insurer immediately.

Can I practice Telehealth?

Provided it’s considered within the scope of your individual practice, in most cases you can practice telehealth and, where practicable, this is recommended. If your professional indemnity policy is with BMS there is a jurisdictional limitation within Australia.

What measures should I be taking?

It is important that you follow and keep up to date with all directions and advice issued by state and federal health bodies around hygiene and cleanliness. This can be found here: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

Lawrence Taylor Ellyard

About the Author:

Lawrence Taylor Ellyard

Lawrence Taylor Ellyard is the CEO and Founder of the IICT with over 25 years experience in the natural health industry. Lawrence has been instrumental in developing the IICT's operations both within the Australia and Internationally.

https://www.lawrenceellyard.com/

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