Business and employees

Last Updated: 24 Mar 2020 12:05pm

Last update: 09 Apr 2020 5:18pm

The following are not permitted to operate:

  • All venues where alcohol is sold for consumption on the premises (including pubs, registered and licensed clubs and hotels) other than the part of those premises that are legally allowed to sell takeaway alcohol (eg. bottle shops)
  • Amusement parks and arcades
  • Auction houses
  • Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, manicure or other nail treatments, tattoos, ear and body piercing, body modification and other similar services
  • Boot camps - limited to two people (the trainer and participant)
  • Cafés (excepting takeaway service and home delivery, cafés or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens; services providing food or drink to the homeless, workplace canteens can provide takeaway)
  • Caravans, camping parks and campsites (except where people live permanently or if their primary residence isn’t available). See Accommodation and leaving Tasmania for more detail on some exceptions to this announcement by the Prime Minister
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Community and recreation centres, unless being used to host essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services
  • Community facilities, such as halls, clubs and RSLs
  • Concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums
  • Food courts, except for delivery and takeaway
  • Food markets that are ‘eat on premises’ (fresh produce markets remain open so customers can purchase and take home fresh produce. Eat on premise markets, i.e. street food, are closed)
  • Funerals - maximum attendance of no more than 10 people and where the one person per four square metre rule applies
  • Galleries, museums, national institutions and historic sites
  • Garage sales
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Hairdressers and barber shops - limited to 1 person per 4 square metre rule and personal contact minimised as much as possible
  • Health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities
  • Horse racing and greyhound racing meets and trials. (Training facilities will remain open as will services that provide care to racing animals e.g. farriers and animal carers)
  • Hotels, motels, hostels, bed and breakfasts and boarding houses (excluding permanent residents and workers). See Accommodation and leaving Tasmania for more detail on some exceptions to this announcement by the Prime Minister
  • Indoor and outdoor play centres
  • Libraries, community centres and youth centres
  • Local government non-essential facilities and services, such as libraries and pools
  • Mobile food vans/businesses cannot operate at any markets. Food vans are still permitted to sell take-away food at other locations in line with the requirements of their permits. However, their business must be operated in a way that protects staff and customers from the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Specifically, there should be scope to maintain a distance of no less than 1.5 meters between people, and the number of staff in a food van (if they are physically in the food van as opposed to serving food from next to the van) must not exceed the number calculated by dividing the total area of the space used, measured in square meters, by four
  • Outdoor markets (other than food or farmers markets)
  • Outside gyms, playgrounds and skate parks
  • Places of worship
  • Play equipment in public playgrounds and parks
  • Real estate auctions and open house inspections - private inspection appointments permitted
  • Religious gatherings and places of worship
  • Restaurants and cafés will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres
  • Sex workers (these services can both no longer operate or place advertisements in local newspapers)
  • Social sporting-based activities
  • Spas and massage parlours
  • Strip clubs, and sex on premises venues
  • Swimming pools
  • Ubet betting shopfronts (TAB agencies)
  • Weddings - maximum attendance of no more than five people and where the one person per four square metre rule applies.

How long will these measures be in place?

These measures will be regularly reviewed based on advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

How will businesses be supported during this time?

The Tasmanian and Australian Governments have announced significant support packages for affected businesses.

The Tasmanian Government is working with business and industry to provide advice through peak organisations and directly to businesses.

Both the Tasmanian and Australian Governments have announced significant packages of support with cash payments, tax breaks, and interest free loans to support businesses affected by these necessary changes to help stop the spread of the virus.

Affected workers will be supported with cash payments, increased job-seeker payments and the ability to access their superannuation early to assist during periods of unemployment relating to COVID-19.

Why are shopping centres still open?

At this time shopping centres remain open to ensure that the community is able to purchase essential supplies and access services. The Government will continue to take advice on as the COVID-19 situation continues.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Compliance with the closure measures is compulsory under the law. Non-compliance with these measures can lead to fines and penalties, including three months imprisonment.

Last update: 09 Apr 2020 9:35am

All employers

The Australian Government Department of Health has prepared an information sheet for employers which provides information, including:

  • can staff go to work?
  • what should I tell my staff?
  • what precautions should I take when cleaning?
  • can food and water spread coronavirus?
  • how can we help prevent the spread of coronavirus?
  • more information?

What should I tell my staff

Employers should provide information and brief all employees and contract staff, including domestic and cleaning staff.

Key information to share includes:

  • how to stay informed and the best sources of information (Australian Government Department of Health website and Tasmanian Government coronavirus website)
  • how to protect yourself and others
  • what to do if they have travelled interstate and overseas in the previous 14 days
  • the employer’s expectations that staff will follow instructions provided by Public Health Services
  • non-essential meetings or conferences of critical workforces such as healthcare professionals and emergency services should be limited
  • social distancing measures must be adhered to.

Can staff who have travelled go to work

Starting from Saturday 21 March, all non-essential travellers arriving in Tasmania will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. If they do not get sick in that time, they can then return to work and normal duties. They do not need a clearance certificate.

Employees who are in self-isolation should alert their employer. Depending on the type of work, and provided the employee is well, they may want to discuss alternative arrangements such as working from home.

Are my staff Essential Travellers

See Tasmanian border restrictions for more information.

General workplace cleaning (not for healthcare settings and confirmed cases)

Cleaning is an important way to slow the spread of viruses like the one that causes COVID-19.

For frequently touched surfaces like door handles, tabletops, desks, light switches, railings, shared keyboards and mice, taps and handles:

  • Clean these surfaces frequently, making sure you remove any visible dirt and organic matter so that the disinfectant can work well.
  • Regularly wipe the surface using your normal household or workplace detergent/disinfectant, following the instructions on the label.
  • It’s okay to use detergent wipes, as long as the cleaning process is thorough and removes visible dirt/organic matter.

Surfaces that are less often touched:

  • Clean these surfaces at least when they start to look dusty or dirty and immediately after any spillage or contamination.
  • Use your normal household or workplace detergent, following the instructions on the label.
  • It’s okay to use detergent wipes, as long as the cleaning process is thorough and removes visible dirt/organic matter.
  • Damp mopping is better than dry.

Tourism operators

Support for cancelled bookings

If your business has been impacted by cancellations both now and in forward bookings due to the coronavirus, you are encouraged to contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 to discuss your situation and register your impact.

Information for Tasmanian tourism operators including business assistance information is also available on the Tourism Tasmania website.

Advice for travel, transport and hotel industries

The Australian Government Department of Health has issued a fact sheet for Hotel Management and Hotel Staff and Hotel Guests about preventive action staff and guests should take. There are also other resources for people in the travel, transport and hotel industries.

For more resources specific to tourism in Tasmania, see the Tourism Tasmania website.

Hire car businesses

Hire car companies are encouraged to support the implementation of the current self-isolation actions to support community safety especially when it is clear the use of their vehicles is contrary to current health directions. The following advice is provided by Department of State Growth to support this decision making by operators:

  • Hire and drive accreditation does not place a positive obligation on an operator to hire a vehicle.
  • Refusal to accept a hirer will only be an offence if the refusal is due to grounds established under anti-discrimination legislation.
  • There are no measures that the Transport Commission would invoke against a hire and drive operator for refusing a hirer who is required to be in isolation.

State Growth are encouraging industry to work with travellers who may need to get to place of self-isolation whilst reinforcing industry standard cleaning procedures.

State Growth will be providing information directly to operators to confirm these details.

Building and construction

Building and construction remains an essential activity under Public Health guidelines. The Government asks that all those involved in the sector - businesses, contractors and employees - have a strong focus on measures to minimise risk of contracting COVID-19.

WorkSafe Tasmania provides links to COVID-19 health and safety resources including industry specific resources for those working on and around building and construction sites.

Primary producers and processors

Ensuring food produced in Tasmania's primary production and processing sectors is safe to eat is an important step in ensuring the wellbeing of consumers. It is also important to the protection of Tasmania's reputation as a producer of safe and clean food.

To help slow the spread of coronavirus, it is important that Tasmania’s primary production and processing sectors comply with their obligations to enforce social distancing and maintain good hygiene practices.

Biosecurity Tasmania has developed a factsheet to support primary producers and processors that provides advice on ensuring good food safety practices and plans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To find out more, see the Biosecurity Tasmania section on DPIPWE's COVID-19 Response page.

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 2:05pm

The following information is provided for hotels and short-term accommodation providers hosting guests who are in self-isolation.

Key points

  • The risk to staff should be low if they wash their hands well and take simple precautions.
  • It is okay for staff to be in the same room as a guest suffering from COVID-19, but the staff member should remain at least 1.5m (2 large steps) away. If the guest is unwell, the guest should wear a facemask.
  • Simple workplace cleaning measures will help prevent the spread of illness. These should be implemented now.
  • Guests who are in self-isolation will need to use room service or other food delivery services

I am an employer - what should I tell my staff?

Employers should provide information and brief all employees and contract staff, including domestic and cleaning staff, on relevant information and procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus to people in the accommodation setting.

Guests who are in self-isolation

Who needs to self-isolate?

Guests must self-isolate for 14 days if they:

  • have arrived in Australia;
  • have arrived in Tasmania;
  • have been in ‘close contact’ with a confirmed case.

Every person arriving in Australia from overseas is required to enter a 14 day period of self-isolation at their point of arrival into Australia.

All Non-Essential Travellers arriving in Tasmania, including Tasmanian residents, are required to enter a 14 day period of self-isolation in government provided accommodation on arrival in Tasmania.

Essential Travellers that meet strict criteria will be exempt from the 14 day isolation requirement but must still comply with listed isolation conditions directed by the Director of Public Health under section 16 Public Health Act 1997.

The Tasmanian self-isolation requirement is in addition to Australian Government requirements for all returning international travellers and specified cruise passengers to enter self-isolation at their point of arrival into Australia.

What precautions should we take?

It is important that staff and guests take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. The risk to staff is low if they wash and dry their hands well and take simple precautions. Staff must avoid close contact with these guests but it is safe to be in the same room for cleaning (maintaining at least 1.5 m or two large steps from guests)

  • Reduce cleaning to every second day instead of daily
  • Leave meals at the door
  • Wear gloves when collecting used trays/handling used eating utensils.

What if a guest becomes ill?

If a person in self-isolation develops symptoms, they should call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738. They may need to be seen urgently by a doctor and it is important to phone ahead to the hospital or doctor to get advice.

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 12:55pm

I’ve completed my period of self-isolation but my boss won’t let me return to work without clearance or a coronavirus test

The national approach is only to test people who are unwell AND have recently travelled overseas or interstate or been in contact with a person confirmed to have the virus. There is no value in testing people who are well.

The Department of Health does not issue medical certificates.

See Information for employers.

I’ve been sick and have recovered but my boss won’t let me return to work

You can complete a Statutory Declaration stating you are ready to return to work.

Does the self-isolation period apply to travel by Fly in Fly out (FIFO) workers

Unless the FIFO worker is captured under the Essential Traveller classification, they will need to self-isolate in government provided accommodation for 14 days.

People who travel interstate for work but who ordinarily reside in Tasmania can apply for Essential Traveller status if they can provide evidence that the requirement to enter 14 days of self-isolation in government provided accommodation upon entry to Tasmania would lead to an unusual, undeserved or disproportionate hardship.

Does the self-isolation period apply to travel commercial fishers and recreational boaters

Commercial fishers and recreational boaters do not need to self-isolate if they have not set foot interstate or overseas, and have not taken on crew from interstate and overseas in the past 14 days. See Coming to Tasmania for more information.

Advice for fruit pickers, working backpackers and transient workers

Fruit-pickers, working backpackers and other workers can continue to:

  • live at a caravan park or other commercial accommodation provider for the purposes of their employment if they have no alternative accommodation options; and
  • travel for the purposes of moving to and from work.

Emergency accommodation is available to travellers who are affected by the restrictions on accommodation facilities in Tasmania. A list of available accommodation for travellers can be found on the Communities Tasmania website.

Last update: 10 Apr 2020 5:34pm

Self-isolation and testing of staff at the North West Regional Hospital (NWRH)

Self-isolation and testing requirements have been announced for medical and surgical ward staff at the North West Regional Hospital. There will be no new admissions to the medical, surgical or paediatric wards - patients east of Penguin will be transferred to the Launceston General Hospital.

Further information will be published when available.

You cannot go to work as a healthcare worker if:

  • you have direct patient contact AND you develop a fever (≥38°C) or history of fever (eg night sweats, chills) OR an acute respiratory infection (eg shortness of breath, cough, sore throat); you fit the definition of a suspect case of COVID-19 and may need to be tested*
  • you meet any criteria for self-isolation and have not been given exemption from isolation to attend work; you need to stay at home
  • you had unprotected close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days^; you need to self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact with the confirmed case

*This does not include contact you may have with confirmed cases while using recommended personal protective equipment and infection control measures as part of your work.

^Early detection of COVID-19 in healthcare workers is an important protective mechanism for the higher risk population that we care for. For this reason, healthcare workers that provide direct care have a lower threshold for being a suspect case.

If you need to stay away from work but cannot do this in your own home, you may be eligible for emergency accommodation.

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 2:07pm

This information should be read alongside COVID-19 information developed by the Australian Government Department of Health for healthcare workers, and additional information on the Tasmanian and Australian Departments of Health websites about home isolation, social distancing and border control measures. This information is not attended as clinical guidance for healthcare workers directly caring for confirmed, probable or suspect cases of COVID-19.

What are the best sources of information on COVID-19

Who fits under the definition of healthcare worker

In this document, healthcare workers are staff providing direct care to patients in healthcare and aged care facilities and in community settings. This includes staff registered through the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency, students within those professions and medical attendants.

What should I do if I think I might have COVID-19

If you think you might have COVID-19, you must:

  • contact your GP or Public Health Services on 1800 671 738 immediately for advice
  • self-isolate, preferably at home, until testing is arranged
  • be stringent about hand hygiene
  • cover all coughs and sneezes, preferably with a tissue, and put the used tissue in the rubbish straight away; if a tissue is not handy, use the inside of your elbow.

What does social distancing mean for frontline health workers

Social distancing means increasing the physical space between yourself and others as much as possible. Clearly this is not always possible when healthcare workers are providing direct patient care. When it is safe and practicable to increase distance, you must do so.

For example:

  • when conducting clinic appointments, place patients’ chairs at least 1.5 metres from your own and keep your distance when not doing physical examinations;
  • avoid handshakes, hugging and kissing people as greetings;
  • increase distances between chairs in waiting rooms, especially for people who are vulnerable to severe illness;
  • minimise staffing changes for patients who are vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19;
  • minimise unnecessary visits to patients who are vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19;
  • avoid crowding in lunch-rooms and offices, including during shift handovers;
  • maintain distance from colleagues where possible;
  • minimise face-to-face meetings; use teleconference and videoconference for meetings where possible and limit the size and duration of meetings;
  • minimise patient visitors and the number of people accompanying patients.

Can patients in self-isolation still attend appointments

Patients can leave isolation to access arranged medical care when this is supported by their healthcare provider and the care cannot safely or feasibly be postponed. Patients must contact their healthcare provider before the appointment and let you know they are in self-isolation for COVID-19. You should determine if the appointment can be safely or feasibly deferred and provide advice on safe travel (which should be direct to/from the medical premises, to minimise potential spread of illness and protect others) if the appointment proceeds.

For these purposes, medical care includes:

  • antenatal appointments;
  • specialist appointments;
  • outpatient clinic appointments;
  • urgent primary care appointments that cannot be safely postponed;
  • urgent and emergency transport to hospital.

If I'm looking after someone who is in isolation, what precautions do I need to take

Contact and droplet precautions are recommended for routine care of patients in self-isolation or with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Contact and airborne precautions are recommended when performing aerosol-generating procedures, including intubation and bronchoscopy, and for care of critically ill patients.

Remember to change your facemask if/when it becomes damp.

The Tasmanian Infection Prevention and Control Unit has published instructional videos on the use of personal protective equipment here.

For more information about infection control precautions, see your service’s infection prevention and control guidelines or contact your infection prevention and control staff.

What else can I do to slow the spread of infection

  • When a patient who meets the ‘suspect case’ definition presents to a healthcare setting (GP, hospital, emergency department, or pathology collection centre), whether or not respiratory symptoms are present, immediately give the patient a surgical mask to wear and direct them to a single room if possible.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand rub and encourage patients and visitors to use this at reception.
  • Provide alcohol-based hand rub on desks and in the kitchen for regular use by staff.
  • Provide tissues and a no-touch rubbish bin for use by patients and visitors.
  • Provide soap and paper towels at all hand basins (staff and patient). Use paper towel to turn taps off (so your hands stay clean).
  • Display posters about hand hygiene and cough etiquette.
  • If the patient has severe symptoms suggestive of pneumonia, move them to a negative pressure room, if available, or a room from which the air does not circulate to other areas.
  • If a patient with confirmed COVID-19 needs to be transferred out of their isolation room, instruct and support the patient to wear a surgical facemask and follow respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette.

What precautions should I take when cleaning

When cleaning, staff should minimise the risk of being infected by wearing gloves and using alcohol-based hand sanitiser before and after wearing gloves.

If cleaning rooms or areas that have been used by a person in self-isolation, staff may want to wear a surgical mask as an added precaution.

If staff need to clean a room in which there is a person known to have COVID-19 or a person in self-isolation, staff may ask that person to wear a surgical mask if one is available. Staff should also maintain at least two large steps from that person.

When do healthcare workers need to stay away from work

You cannot go to work as a healthcare worker if:

  • you have direct patient contact AND you develop a fever (≥38°C) or history of fever (eg night sweats, chills) OR an acute respiratory infection (eg shortness of breath, cough, sore throat); you fit the definition of a suspect case of COVID-19 and may need to be tested*
  • you meet any criteria for self-isolation and have not been given exemption from isolation to attend work; you need to stay at home
  • you had unprotected close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days^; you need to self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact with the confirmed case

*This does not include contact you may have with confirmed cases while using recommended personal protective equipment and infection control measures as part of your work.

^Early detection of COVID-19 in healthcare workers is an important protective mechanism for the higher risk population that we care for. For this reason, healthcare workers that provide direct care have a lower threshold for being a suspect case.

If you need to stay away from work but cannot do this in your own home, you may be eligible for emergency accommodation.

Can I get exemption from having to complete 14 days of self-isolation after returning to Tasmania from interstate

Some healthcare workers (clinicians, including medical, nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals, paramedics and ambulance officers) may receive exemption from completing 14 days self-isolation after travelling to Tasmania from interstate, in order to work. If you intend to seek exemption, you must complete and submit an application form at least 24 hours before arriving in Tasmania. Without an exemption, you will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Exemptions cannot be done retrospectively.

Exemptions may be made for:

  • trained healthcare workers returning home for work
  • non-resident trained healthcare workers coming to Tasmania to provide health services not otherwise available in Tasmania
  • paramedics and other ambulance officers returning to Tasmania as soon as practicable after or while providing medical transport to a patient
  • people working with interstate retrieval teams, including air ambulance retrievals and organ retrieval teams visiting Tasmania to harvest organs
  • allied health professional students ordinarily resident in Tasmania, where placement is an essential requirement for approved (accredited) program of study.

Exemption is only granted after careful assessment of the risk and benefit for each healthcare worker’s unique situation. Travel, work and contact history are considered for each application.

Exemption will only be granted for the purposes of carrying out the health services in your initial application. You will need to reapply for an exemption to undertake additional services and must remain in isolation when not carrying out approved work duties.

If you receive exemption, you must use personal protective equipment as per the requirements for the type of work you are engaged in, or as directed by the Tasmanian Director of Public Health. You must also practice with a high degree of caution and practice hand hygiene and social distancing while conducting your work.

How to apply for exemption

To apply, complete the attached application form and email it to health.exempttraveller@health.tas.gov.au. You should fill out the application form at least 24 hours prior to your arrival in Tasmania. Every healthcare worker seeking an exemption from self-isolation must complete an application form.

If you arrived in Tasmania without an exemption, you are required to isolate yourself until such time that you are advised that an exemption has been granted.

If you are approved for an Essential Traveller status then you will need to comply with the Self-isolation conditions for essential travellers.

To find out more, email health.exempttraveller@health.tas.gov.au

When can I leave self-isolation

You can leave self-isolation and return to work and normal activities 14 days after your departure from interstate (or arrival from overseas) or contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 except if you show symptoms of COVID-19 during those 14 days or you meet other criteria for self-isolation in those 14 days (for example, a household member becomes a confirmed case).

If you have been told to self-isolate, it’s because you might have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 and may become unwell. It can take up to 14 days for people who have been infected with the virus to become sick, and it’s possible to spread the virus to others 24 hours before you feel sick. Isolating yourself is very important to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Tasmania. If you have been told to self-isolate, you must do so.

You should monitor your health while you are in isolation, and call your GP or the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 if you begin to feel unwell.

Can I use telehealth for consultations

The Australian Government is enabling all vulnerable GPs and other vulnerable health professionals who are authorised to use telehealth item numbers, to use telehealth for all consultations with all their patients.

This includes health care providers who:

  • are aged at least 70 years old;
  • are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and at least 50 years old;
  • are pregnant;
  • are a parent of a child under 12 months;
  • are immune compromised;
  • have a chronic medical condition that results in increased risk from coronavirus infection.

What if I’m from overseas and I’m not eligible for Medicare

Overseas travellers who fall ill in Australia (and are not eligible for Medicare) often have health or travel insurance.

For those who do not have adequate insurance coverage, Tasmanian hospitals will waive the costs of treatment. This includes waiving payment and debt recovery procedures for ambulance transfers of people suspected to have coronavirus (COVID-19), who are taken to Tasmanian hospitals for assessment.

These arrangements have been put in place to ensure payment issues are not a barrier for people from overseas with symptoms seeking early medical advice.

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 2:13pm

There are healthcare workers providing direct patient care who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Evidence from around the world suggests those most at risk of severe illness are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions;
  • People 65 years and older with chronic medical conditions;
  • People 70 years and older;
  • People with compromised immune systems.

Healthcare workers with compromised immune systems

There is an increased risk of severe disease in healthcare workers with compromised immune systems. This could be linked to conditions or treatments including:

  • current or recent immunosuppressive therapy (chemotherapy or radiotherapy, corticosteroid treatment)
  • all biologics and most disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
  • neoplastic conditions (leukaemias, lymphomas, myelodysplastic syndromes
  • absent or dysfunctional spleen
  • being post-transplant: solid organ (on immunosuppressive therapy), haematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 24 months)
  • being immunocompromised due to primary or acquired (HIV/AIDS) immunodeficiency
  • severe neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count <0.5 × 109 per L)
  • cancer immuno-oncology therapies (checkpoint inhibitors)
  • other significantly immunocompromising conditions.

Older people

There is an increased risk of severe disease as people get older, especially for those over the age of 70 years.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are anticipated to be at increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease, especially those aged over 50 years.

People with serious chronic medical conditions

There is increased risk of severe disease in healthcare workers who have serious chronic medical conditions, including

  • heart disease and hypertension;
  • lung disease including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis;
  • diabetes;
  • cancer;
  • renal failure;
  • chronic liver disease.

Other considerations

There are some population groups in which there is limited evidence of increased risk of severe illness. This includes pregnant women and people who are obese.

What should vulnerable healthcare workers do

If you think you are a vulnerable healthcare worker, discuss your situation with your manager to determine your level of risk and the best working arrangements for you considering your level of risk, skills and expertise, and the requirements of the organisation. You may be asked to seek further advice from your healthcare worker (GP or relevant specialist). Having a safe working environment is a priority.

There are a range of roles throughout the health system that may be offered to staff who are at higher risk of severe illness, to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19.

What should healthcare workers who are caring for or living with a person who is at increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease do

If you are worried because you live with or care for someone at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness, discuss options with your manager.

What should managers do

Managers should work with healthcare workers identified as being at risk of severe COVID-19 illness, to provide safe working environments.

Consider:

  • areas of the health service where there is low risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • roles within the health service that have low risk of exposure to COVID-19, eg staff education
  • other health services where there is low risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • the option of providing health services remotely, for example through telehealth or telephone services, and assisting with calls to the Public Health Hotline.

If necessary, request further advice from the staff member’s GP or relevant specialist.

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 2:14pm

All travellers are required to self-isolate for 14 days unless they meet Essential Traveller or exemption criteria and have received official communication stating that they are exempt.

Further guidance on Tasmanian border restrictions for public and private health workers on the existing exemption categories and the process for seeking exemption from self-isolation requirements is available at Border control information for health workers.

Last update: 09 Apr 2020 3:29pm

Restrictions on visits to residential aged care facilities

From midday 7 April, visitors will not be permitted to any of Tasmania’s residential aged care facilities, except for visits to provide end-of-life support to a resident or visits from health care professionals providing essential care.

A person must not enter, or remain on, the premises of a residential aged care facility in Tasmania (with the above exception taken into consideration) unless they are a resident of that facility, providing medical care to a resident, are an employee or a contractor of the facility, or, their presence is required for the effective delivery of goods and services necessary to the operation of the aged-care facility.

Further to these measures, residential aged care facility residents will not be permitted to leave an the facility unless it is for essential medical requirements, as arranged by the facility’s management.

The above measures will initially be in place until 20 April 2020.

Review the full Direction under Section 16 - Residential Aged Care Facilities - No. 2.

Restrictions on visiting hospital patients

From midday 7 April, visitors will not be permitted to any of Tasmania’s hospitals (applicable to both public and private hospitals and day-procedure centres) with the following exceptions in place: a parent or guardian visiting a child or the legal guardian of a patient, a support person to attending the birth of a child or to provide end-of-life support to a patient. These measures will be in place until midnight 20 April 2020.

A person must not enter, or remain on, the premises of a hospital in Tasmania (with the above exceptions taken into consideration) unless they are seeking or receiving medical care, are an employee or a contractor of the hospital, or their presence is required for the effective delivery of goods and services necessary to the operation of the hospital.

Review the full Direction under Section 16 - Hospitals - No. 1.

Home delivery of outpatient medications from hospital pharmacies

Can you deliver my medication?

Public hospital pharmacies provide a range of medications to hospital outpatients. In some cases, these medications are only available from hospitals.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital pharmacies can courier your hospital medications to your home. This will help you to avoid travel into a hospital.

This service is being funded by the Tasmanian Government during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be free of charge.

You can also continue to collect your medications from your usual hospital pharmacy in person, for example if you are attending a clinic booking on the same day.

How do I request delivery?

If you are dropping your script off, ask the pharmacy staff to arrange delivery.

If you are ordering a repeat supply of your medication, you can request delivery when you order your repeat over email or phone (see contact details below).

Are there any exclusions?

Most, but not all, medications can be sent by post or courier. If your medication cannot be delivered, you will be phoned to discuss alternatives.

Delivery via courier is not available to some locations, including King Island, Flinders Island, Bruny Island, and some other areas. In these cases, delivery will be arranged to your nearest District Hospital for collection, or alternatively the parcel can be sent using Australia Post.

Getting your medication delivered:

  1. Contact the hospital pharmacy to request your medication – see below for details of email and phone numbers. Please provide 3 days’ notice if possible.
  2. The hospital pharmacy will ask you to confirm your postal address or supply an alternative address for delivery of medication.
  3. Someone needs to be home to receive the delivery.
  4. Your pharmacists and your delivery driver will practice good hygiene.
  5. Couriers will avoid contact and maintain a safe distance. If you have provided a phone number, they may call you while leaving it outside.
  6. Discard the outer plastic wrapper and then wash your hands with soap and water.
  7. If you notice that the delivery looks damaged, or if there are any other issues, please call the hospital pharmacy immediately.
  8. If your medication is unable to be delivered for any reason, it will be returned to the pharmacy and they will contact you discuss alternatives for receiving your medication.
  9. If you have any questions about your medications, please call the appropriate number below.  You may also receive a call from a hospital pharmacist to discuss your medications.

Contact us:

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 2:19pm

During the COVID-19 pandemic, community pharmacies continue to provide essential health services for local communities. This information is provided to help staff understand and manage concerns in the community pharmacy setting.

What we know

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) most likely spreads from person to person through:

  • close contact with an infectious person (including in the 24 hours before they had symptoms). A close contact is someone who spends at least 15 minutes in face-to-face contact or more than 2 hours in an enclosed room. Any other contact is deemed low risk.
  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
  • touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs, sink taps and tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

What you can do to minimise risk

You can take the following steps to minimise the risk of COVID-19 spread in your pharmacy:

  • stay at home if you are unwell
  • wash your hands often and well with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces regularly (such as door handles, benchtops and front counter areas, pens, Eftpos machines and waiting area seats)
  • remove all magazines, books and toys from waiting areas
  • avoid physical contact with others
  • avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • keep 1.5 metres (two large steps) between customers
  • place hand sanitiser on the counter and in waiting areas
  • place a marker on the floor in front of a counter and advise customers to stand on it when speaking with staff
  • advise all customers and staff to practice good hand hygiene, cough etiquette and social distancing. Placing Department of Health posters and fact sheets in your pharmacy can help with this.

Facemasks

If you are well, you do not need to wear a facemask to protect yourself from COVID-19. Facemasks are generally for people who are suspected or known to have the virus and people in close contact (within a metre) of someone suspected or known to be infected. This is normally only healthcare workers and carers.

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 2:23pm

Advice for Immunisation Providers, including Councils and General Practice

The Department of Health has produced these recommendations to help councils, General Practice and other immunisation providers provide immunisation services to their community.

The threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) to public health is unprecedented. We must all take steps to minimise the risk of transmission to staff and clients attending community immunisation services.

Immunisation providers will have to consider these recommended procedures, based on current advice, when developing their operational processes based on staffing levels, venues and client numbers.

Recommendations for venues

Signage

It is recommended signage be displayed at the entrances of all sessions. Such signage should include the following information:

  • Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, <Immunisation provider> is taking measures to protect the community. It is vital their instructions are followed.
  • Only one parent/guardian should accompany a child into the session.
  • People should not attend the session if they or their child have symptoms of a respiratory infection (such as fever, or a sore throat, or a runny nose, or shortness of breath or a cough) or have returned from overseas or interstate in the past 14 days.
  • Wash hands or use hand sanitiser provided at the entrance to the reception or waiting area.
  • Consideration should be given to the translation of all signage and messaging into other key community languages.

Physical distancing

  • Immunisation providers may need to consider moving immunisation services to larger spaced community venues.
  • Immunisation providers may need to consider implementing a booking system to manage client flow and to avoid gathering people together at the same time.
  • Arrange client seating and queueing for administration so there is 1.5 metres between clients.
  • Limit the vaccine process to one adult with the child being vaccinated (unless there are extenuating circumstances).
  • Consider a separate room for clients to wait after vaccination depending on numbers at each session.
  • If many clients arrive and there is not enough seating, a staff member should be available to monitor queueing, and maintain the order and flow of clients into the administration area.
  • Sit clients 1.5 metres from administration staff desk on check in and 1.5 metres from other clients at the nurse’s table.
  • Minimise physical contact with clients and client record documents.
  • Individual providers can consider models that work best for their space and circumstances, but may include:
  • Using additional waiting areas, eg in car or an outside space before vaccination, or additional waiting rooms if available:
    • Using SMS to inform clients when immunisers are ready for them.
    • Using a staggered immunisation approach across three to four clinic rooms/spaces. Clients are placed in separate rooms for immunisation and observation period and the immuniser moves from room to room.

Vaccine preparation

Do not needle or prepare large quantities of vaccine in case of low attendance.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • PPE additional to that normally used as part of your routine immunisation service is not recommended. PPE is only necessary for healthcare workers seeing patients with symptoms consistent with coronavirus (COVID-19), where there is a much higher risk of transmission.
  • Ensure hand hygiene between each vaccination. Wash hands thoroughly at regular intervals or if visibly soiled and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser in between each client.
  • Encourage cough etiquette and respiratory hygiene at the sessions, eg use signage and if children are coughing or sneezing, ensure this is into their elbow and they wash their hands afterwards.

Environmental cleaning

  • Avoid providing toys children will share.
  • Wipe down surfaces that have come into close contact with the client between each vaccination using alcohol-based disinfectant.
  • Disinfectant product must be available at the administration and clinical area.

Immunisation checklists

Use a single page pre-immunisation checklist for each client rather than a laminated version.

Longer immunisation sessions

Consider longer immunisation sessions to implement procedures to protect staff and the community against the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Communication

Immunisation providers should ensure immunisation webpages, phone messages and venue signage is update regularly with coronavirus (COVID-19) information to ensure clients are aware of the expectations and changes that providers have made to the service.

Staff absenteeism

  • Staff must not attend an immunisation service if unwell.
  • Staff with risk factors for coronavirus (COVID-19) and/or are unwell must not be come to work until they have been assessed by a medical practitioner as being clear. This will involve having a medical assessment and a swab test for coronavirus (COVID-19), which must be negative.
  • If a member of staff is a healthcare worker and is a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19), they must not return to work until they have been assessed by a medical practitioner as fully recovered and have returned a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) virus test.
  • If there are staff shortages, immunisation providers will need to determine if an immunisation session can be undertaken safely.

Safety

Maintain patient safety as a priority, including observation during the 15-minute waiting time following immunisation.

Cancellation of community immunisation

  • Ensure signage is displayed prominently at the venue if services are cancelled.
  • Provide a website or phone contact for the next available immunisation session.
  • Providers using an appointment-based service may consider using SMS and social media to notify clients of any changes to service provision.

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 3:37pm

To help stop the spread of coronavirus, it is important that all retail businesses comply with their obligations to enforce social distancing and maintain good hygiene practices.  

Guidance for permitted businesses

The following guidelines are intended to assist retail businesses to meet their obligations with regard to the current restrictions that have been put in place based on health advice.

Each business will need to adapt these suggestions to best suit their own environment, taking into account size, layout and customer behaviour.

Customer numbers

To ensure social distancing can be maintained:

  • Limit the number of customers entering the store – the total number of people in your store, at any one time, including staff and customers, should not exceed one person for every four square metres.
  • When calculating the maximum number of people in the store, this needs to be based on the net floor space that people can freely move around in, taking out divisions such as shelves, fixtures, fittings and displays that occupy floor space.
    • The calculation is:
      • clear floor space of the site in square metres, excluding the space occupied by walls, shelves, counters, display cases
      • divided by 4
      • equals the number of people allowed in the space at any one time.
  • Where safe and practical, each person should maintain a distance of no less than 1.5 metres between every other person.
  • Make sure you have a plan that details the maximum number of people for each undivided area. Consider specific limits on the number of people for each aisle within the store.
  • Place a staff member at the entrance to the store to count customers entering and leaving the store and to manage a ‘one in one out’ policy where needed. For smaller stores consider alternative strategies to controlling the numbers in the store, or a closed door with appointments.
  • Consider one-way aisles to make these limits easier for everyone to comply with.
  • Where possible, consider limiting the number of available carparks to align with the person limit in your store, but still maintain access to disability parking spaces.

Queuing

To maintain social distancing, place appropriately spaced floor markings at queuing points, such as checkouts and the entrance to the store. At larger stores, queuing stations need to be clearly identified outside the store.

Security

For larger retail stores, appropriate security measures could be put in place to ensure compliance with social distancing obligations. Smaller retailers may consider similar measures, depending on the layout of their store.

Staff also have a key role to play in monitoring the behaviour of customers and ensuring measures put in place to achieve appropriate social distancing are followed.

Communication

Provide clear signage to:

  • Advise unwell customers, contractors and delivery staff not to enter the premises.
  • State the maximum number of customers/staff/ contractors allowed in the store and in each aisle, including floor plans of the store.
  • Remind customers of social distancing requirements.
  • Remind all people in the store of appropriate hygiene requirements.
  • Request customers use cashless payment methods.

For larger stores, consider including these messages in your store announcements.

Practical measures

  • Encourage your customers to use cashless payments when possible to minimise contact.
  • Increase support for online shopping and delivery services to lessen demand on in-store services.
  • Re-arrange stock where possible to improve customer flow and minimise congregating.
  • Where practical, move staff to night-fill to reduce numbers of people in store.
  • Consider how your product limits apply to customers with very large families.
  • Where alternate entries are closed, ensure fire and emergency egress are maintained.
  • If the number of carpark spaces is reduced to ensure social distancing requirements, consider the need for traffic management as required.
  • Consider a dedicated hour of shopping for elderly customers, those in need of assistance, as well as carers, friends and neighbours who shop on behalf of vulnerable customers.
  • Finally, remind customers to be tolerant, kind and patient with staff and other customers. These changes will cause inconveniences, but they are necessary to keep us all safe.

Cleaning, hygiene and infection control

  • Ensure unwell staff do not come to work.
  • Encourage staff to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, and dry them.
  • Provide hand sanitiser for customer use in clearly accessible locations, including at the entrance to the store.
  • Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces such as trolleys, shopping baskets and counters.
  • Use a tissue (or the inside of your elbow) to cover coughs or sneezes and dispose of the tissue in the rubbish bin straight after use.

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 1:56pm

Freight into Tasmania

Freight will continue to come in and out of our state, and with TT-Line having capacity to carry extra freight, Tasmanians can be assured we will have the essential supplies we need.

Energy / power supply

Tasmania’s energy supply remains secure and Governments around Australia are taking important measures to continue to ensure the reliability, security and affordability of the national power grid.

Hydro Tasmania, TasNetworks and Aurora have activated their pandemic and Business Continuity Plans to ensure security of supply.

Drinking water

Drinking water supplied by TasWater is safe to drink. Disinfection processes for drinking water are designed and operated to manage pathogens, such as viruses. Conventional disinfection applied to inactivate the most resistant viruses will also inactivate COVID-19. No additional treatment is required and there is no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through drinking water. The safety of drinking water supplied to Tasmanians by TasWater is regulated by the Department of Health under a comprehensive legislative framework to ensure a consistent, reliable supply of safe, good quality drinking water.

Where a reticulated drinking water supply is available, this is the best and safest option. There is no need to buy bottled water. Water supply is an essential service and TasWater will continue to work with the Department to ensure that safe drinking water is delivered to your home at all times. Should the quality of your water change, then you will be advised about any restrictions on the safe use of your water. This is unlikely to occur and if it does, then it would not be COVID-19 related.

For more information see the Water Research Australia fact sheet for COVID-19.

Agriculture

The Tasmanian Government is working with the Australian Government and industry to guarantee food production and supply as essential services.

Feed, hay, fertilizer and other agriculture products will continue being delivered to farms.

Last update: 07 Apr 2020 5:26pm

Emergency hotel accommodation is available for frontline workers who directly deliver essential health, welfare and biosecurity services if they need to stay away from home.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for emergency accommodation support, frontline workers must be:

  • Directly delivering essential health, welfare or biosecurity services and in close contact with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19; and
  • Their workplace is unable to provide reasonable prevention measures to stop close contact; and
  • Are not able to self-isolate at their regular place of residence because a household member is ‘high risk’ (e.g. people who are elderly or have chronic health conditions or a weakened immune system); or a household member is required by Public Health to self-isolate.

Ring the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 if you are a frontline worker seeking emergency accommodation support.

Flowchart of illustrating the eligibility criteria for emergency accommodation by frontline workers

Last update: 09 Apr 2020 10:37am

Employers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and other people. This includes having measures in place to eliminate or manage the risks arising from COVID-19.

To do this WorkSafe Tasmania advises:

  • to keep up to date with Tasmanian Government advice on controls to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including any restrictions on normal business activities, and respond accordingly
  • if there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in your place of business, you should seek advice from Public Health Services by calling the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738
  • if Public Health Services becomes aware of a positive diagnosis, it has procedures in place to track the movements of the person and will provide advice on what action should be taken
  • current legislative requirements remain in force; however, if you are unable to meet your regulatory obligations because of COVID-19 then WorkSafe Tasmania will take a reasonable and proportionate response.

If employers need to make changes to usual working hours/days or systems of work, they must do a risk assessment and control any risks found. Issues that could arise include fatigue, work breaks, workers' training/skill levels, and providing information, training and supervision to insure workers' safety. WorkSafe Tasmania’s website has guidance on how to manage these issues.

For more COVID-19 specific guidance and resources — including workplace safety, pandemic planning, industry-specific guidance (including construction, retail, transport and more), working safely from home, and COVID-19 incident notification requirements — see WorkSafe Tasmania’s COVID-19 advice. Please check this website regularly for updates.

Workers Compensation

Under the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act, employers are required to pay compensation to a worker who has contracted COVID-19 and their employment contributed to this to a substantial degree. The issue is one of determining that the worker’s employment is the major or most significant factor in them contracting COVID-19.

For more COVID-19 specific guidance on workers compensation, for employers and workers, see WorkSafe Tasmania's website. Please check this website regularly for any updates.

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 1:58pm

State Government financial support

The Tasmanian Government is providing further support and economic stimulus to help businesses and Tasmanians affected by COVID-19. For more information please see Stimulus and support.

Australian Government Support

Information about Australian Government support for individuals/households and businesses is available at on the Treasury website.

Bank support

The Australian Banking Association announced a small business relief package from Australia’s banks.

Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.

For more information see Australian Banking Association.

Last update: 08 Apr 2020 2:02pm

Business support

Travel restrictions are impacting Tasmanian businesses and both the Australian and Tasmanian Governments are putting in place support measures to assist where it is most needed.

For information and support for your business, go to www.business.gov.au for Australian Government measures, and www.business.tas.gov.au for Tasmanian Government measures.

Business Tasmania hotline

If your business has been impacted by travel restrictions due to the coronavirus, you are encouraged to contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 to discuss your situation and register your impact.

Events hotline

Travel restrictions are impacting some events in Tasmania. If you run an event and would like further advice on this matter, you are encouraged to contact Events Tasmania on 1300 880 634.

Australian Government Support

Information about Australian Government support for individuals/households and businesses is available on the Treasury website.

Small business support

Australian Banking Association announced a small business relief package from Australia’s banks.

Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.

For more information see Australian Banking Association.

Tourism operator support

Information for Tasmanian tourism operators, including business assistance information is available on the Tourism Tasmania website.