As of last week’s announcement from the Victorian Government, COVID-19 restrictions have now been updated and eased under the new Public Health and Wellbeing Act signed by the Chief Health Officer and Minister for Health, Martin Foley, while the Omicron variant is monitored and investigated.
The pandemic orders, which took effect from 11.59pm Wednesday 15 December, will be in place until 11.59pm on 12 January 2022, and we encourage you to refer to the current COVIDSafe Settings outlined here.
MASKS & FACE COVERINGS
Under the revised orders, the wearing of masks continues to be required for workers and visitors in indoor healthcare settings including community health centres (including mental health, child and maternity, and drug and alcohol counselling services centres), general practices, COVID-19 related healthcare sites (including testing, vaccination and hotel quarantine facilities), health clinics (including medical specialist and allied health clinics), diagnostic and medical imaging centres, mobile health services or blood donation centres.
Acting VIC Allied Chief Health Officer – Sharon Downie – has advised Chiropractic Australia that:
“…face mask requirements in healthcare settings (aside from hospitals and residential care facilities) are covered in the Stay Safe Directions, which specify that masks should be worn ‘while in an indoor space that is a publicly accessible area of a healthcare premises’.This Direction is inclusive of settings such as allied health private practice settings, and requires patients/clients attending the premises to wear a face mask when in any publicly accessible area (for example, foyer, waiting areas and treatment rooms/spaces).”
Every business must use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service to check-in customers, workers and visitors, with some limited exceptions. Every visitor must check-in, regardless of how long they are at the premises.
Businesses are required to provide an alternative record-keeping method for members of the public (or workers) that do not have a smartphone. This could include a kiosk option (via a tablet) or, as a last resort, pen and paper.
WORKPLACE COVIDSAFE SETTINGS
– A density quotient does not apply.
– For general business COVIDSafe Settings visit How we work: Victoria.
– Telehealth services are the preferred first option when clinically appropriate.
– When services operate from a residential address they must:
- i) have a COVIDSafe Plan
- ii) be registered as a business premises
iii) follow PPE guidance issued by the Victorian Department of Health.
Additional PPE requirements apply for allied health professionals in private practice settings:
It is also important to note that whilst workplaces exposed to a positive COVID-19 case will no longer need to be deep cleaned, after mounting international evidence that coronavirus is an airborne or droplet-borne disease and the likelihood of becoming infected by touching a surface is very low risk, all workplaces will still need to maintain their COVIDSafe Plan.