Important community updates

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Last Updated: 23 Jun 2021 9:10am

Changes to Victorian border restrictions

Published 21 June 2021

Public Health Services has announced metropolitan Melbourne will be downgraded to low-risk from 12:01am tomorrow (Tuesday 22 June). A number of premises in Victoria will remain high-risk (Level 1).

From this time, travellers who have spent time in Victoria – including metropolitan Melbourne -in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Tasmania,  and who have not spent time in a high-risk premises at the specified dates and times listed below will not have to quarantine.

Anyone who has spent time in a high-risk premises at the dates and times identified will not be permitted to enter Tasmania.

Travellers currently in quarantine will be able to leave quarantine from 12:01am Tuesday 22 June if they have not spent time in a high-risk premises at the specified dates and times.

Travellers who are in government-designated quarantine can arrange their departure with the Government Liaison Officer at the hotel.

For more information about these border changes please see Travel Alert.

NSW and ACT update

Published 18 June 2021

Public Health Services have declared new high-risk premises in the ACT and NSW in relation to confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Anyone currently in Tasmania who has been in NSW since 11 June, or ACT since 14 June, should check the high-risk premises list at Travel Alert. Any person who has spent time at any of the listed high-risk premises at the specified dates and times must self-isolate immediately and contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for further advice.

Anyone who has spent time at a high-risk (Level 1) premises at the specified dates and times listed is not permitted to travel to Tasmania.

As the situation is evolving, travellers should check the list regularly, monitor their health and call the Public Health Hotline to book a test if they have even mild symptoms.

Metropolitan Melbourne’s status as a high-risk area will be reviewed on Monday 21 June 2021.

With many major events taking place around Tasmania this weekend, please use the Check In Tas app whenever you enter a venue with a QR code. Read more about the free app.

Important update on AstraZeneca vaccine

Published 17 June 2021

The Australian Government has advised that the Pfizer vaccine is now preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine for adults aged between 16 and 59 years old who have not yet received a first dose of AstraZeneca. Previously Pfizer was recommended for people aged 16-49 years old and AstraZeneca for people 50 years and above.

This decision is based on the latest advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), in response to ongoing monitoring of rare but serious adverse reactions to the vaccine.

ATAGI has recommended that people who have had their first dose of AstraZeneca can safely receive their second dose. This includes adults under 60 years.

Based on the latest advice, people aged between 50-59 years old, who were scheduled for their first dose of AstraZeneca, will now be offered the Pfizer vaccination.

See AstraZeneca vaccine FAQs for more information.

NSW COVID-19 update

Published 17 June 2021

Public Health Services have declared a number of premises in NSW as high-risk after a confirmed COVID-19 case in that state.

Anyone currently in Tasmania who has been in NSW since 11 June should check the high-risk premises list at Travel Alert. Any person who has spent time at any of the listed high-risk premises at the specified dates and times must self-isolate immediately and contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for further advice.

Travellers intending to travel to Tasmania who have spent time at a high-risk (Level 1) premises at the specified dates and times listed, are not permitted to travel to Tasmania.

As the situation is evolving, travellers should check the coronavirus website regularly, monitor their health and call the Public Health Hotline to book a test if they have even mild symptoms.

Pregnant people now eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations

Published 10 June 2021

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now recommend for pregnant people at any stage of pregnancy. This is because the risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 is significantly higher for a pregnant person and their unborn baby.

To book an appointment visit: Book your vaccine

For more information, read the statement about COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women

Update to COVID-19 vaccine roll out

Published 4 June 2021

From Monday 7 June, more Tasmanians will be eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine program roll out will change to include:

  • People aged 40 to 49 years
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 years and older
  • NDIS participants and their carers who are aged 16 years and older
  • Temporary visa holders aged under 50 years who are in Australia and have been approved for return to Australia through the travel exemption process.

New community vaccination clinics are also opening in Moonah and Burnie. These clinics are now accepting bookings.

To find out if you are currently eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and to make a booking visit www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/vaccination-information/covid-19-vaccination/getting-vaccinated or call the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

If you have any questions about getting vaccinated, talk to your doctor or health care provider or visit www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/vaccine for further information.

New Hobart COVID-19 testing clinic at Macquarie Point

Published 4 June 2021

A COVID-19 testing clinic has opened at Macquarie Point in Hobart today, Friday 4 June.

The Macquarie Point clinic is located behind 16A Evans Street, Hobart and will be open daily from 8:30am to 3:30pm.

The clinic has capacity for up to six lanes of drive-through testing and walk-in testing if demands require it.

To get a free COVID-19 test at this site in Hobart, either call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to book a test or turn-up to the testing site.

Going straight to the clinic may mean a wait for your test, depending on how many other people are on site for testing.

If you have any cold or flu-like symptoms, you need to be tested, even if mild. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough, sore or itchy throat and shortness of breath.

To find out more about testing options in your area,  see Testing for COVID-19 or call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Update to the Tas e-Travel system

Published 1 June 2021

The Tas e-Travel system has been updated to allow people to create an account and easily register their travel and contact details each time they travel to Tasmania.

All travellers will be asked to provide an email and password which will create an account for travellers to log into the system and this account can be reused each time a traveller intends to travel. For more information see Coming to Tasmania.

Changes to allow increased gathering numbers at indoor and outdoor events from 1 May

Published 23 April 2021

Organisers of large seated gatherings will be able to apply to increase their audience capacity to 100% from 1 May 2021.

The ease in restrictions from the current 75% cap will mean increased capacity at a range of seated venues including theatres, cinemas, places of worship and sports grounds.

Under the revised restrictions, gatherings under 250 people indoors and 1,000 outdoors, from 1 May will be allowed to go to the seating capacity of the venue or 250 people, whichever is fewer. This applies to cinemas, concert venues, theatres, places of worship and places at which a funeral is being carried out.

Staff employed at the premises, or service attendants, clergy and choir members at places of worship are not included in the gathering numbers.

For gatherings of 251 and greater (indoors) and 1,001 and greater (outdoors), stadiums, entertainment venues and arenas will be able to increase spectator numbers to 100 per cent of the seated area. In unseated areas a maximum of one person per two square metres of floor space will be allowed.

Employees and attendants do not count towards the audience numbers.

Organisers will still be required to apply for new events of 251 people and greater indoors and 1,001 people and greater outdoors through the Events Framework process.

For those Tasmanian venues with an existing approval of up to 75 per cent seated capacity, there is no need for your venue to apply again. You will receive an updated approval shortly for 100 per cent seated capacity from 1 May 2021.

The requirement to wear facemasks at certain indoor seated events will also be removed

All venues should continue to remind all attendees of the need to maintain COVID-19 safe behaviours including maintaining 1.5m physical distancing where possible, washing and sanitising hands, staying home and arranging testing if experiencing cold or flu like symptoms and covering coughs or sneezes.

Venues also still require a COVID-19 Safety Plan and contact tracing is required. From 1 May the Check In TAS app must be used for contact tracing purposes. If an attendee cannot use this app, they may be checked in by another attendee who can, or by the gathering organiser, or on a paper-based record managed by the organisers.

AstraZeneca vaccine update

Published 08 April 2021

The Australian Government has advised that the Pfizer vaccine is now preferred over the AstraZeneca vaccine for adults aged under 50 who have not yet received a first dose of AstraZeneca.

This decision is based on advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), in response to early investigations into rare but serious adverse reactions to the vaccine.

ATAGI has recommended that people who have had their first dose of AstraZeneca without any serious side-effects can safely receive their second dose. This includes adults under 50 years.

The Tasmania Government has put an immediate hold on any first dose AstraZeneca vaccinations of people aged under 50 years. People with existing first dose appointments at community clinics will be contacted directly to discuss rescheduling their appointments. Those who have had their first dose will also be contacted directly by the Public Health Hotline.

We understand that people will be anxious for more information and that information will be provided via your vaccine clinic provider as soon as possible. We appreciate your understanding that this will take time, and we will call those with upcoming appointments as a priority. If you have an urgent query, please call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Vaccinations for our priority groups using the Pfizer vaccine and using the AstraZeneca vaccine for Tasmanians over 50, will continue as planned.  Where possible those aged under 50 years in priority group 1b will be redirected to a clinic administering the Pfizer vaccine.

For more information view FAQs AstraZeneca vaccine.

Changes to tenant and landlord support measures

Published 24 March 2021

The Government has announced changes to the tenant and landlord support measures introduced in response to COVID-19.

Rental protections regarding notices to vacate, rental increases, and general repairs and maintenance ended on 31 January 2021.

From 1 April to 30 June 2021 the Government will extend the financial support already offered for residential tenancies and offer an extra round of support for tenants and landlords, through the Rental Relief Fund and Landlord Support Fund.

This will allow eligible tenancies to access up to a further $4000 of assistance.

Amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 have also been introduced to allow for rent arrears payment orders to be issued by the Residential Tenancy Commissioner to allow landlords to recoup rental arrears accrued during the COVID-19 emergency period.

For more information regarding residential tenancy changes visit the Consumer, Building and Occupational Services website.

Changes to gathering numbers at churches, places of worship and funeral homes

Published 23 March 2021

Public Health advises churches, places of worship and funeral homes will be able to have more people in attendance under changes to Public Health Directions.

Gatherings at these venues may now routinely accommodate up to 250 people or 75 per cent of their seating capacity in an indoor space, whichever is fewer.

Staff, members of the clergy, church attendants, members of the choir and anyone assisting in the provision of a church service, or in the case of a funeral, performing the funeral service, are not included in the 250-person limit.

These venues may also apply under the Events Framework to increase patron numbers above 250 people. Event organisers can apply by registering with Business Tasmania.

In indoor venues with seating where the number of people will exceed 250 people and people will be seated most of the time, the maximum number of attendees may be up to 75 per cent of seating capacity.

If having these larger numbers of people at a venue will mean the density limit will be exceeded (more than one person per two square metres of available space), venues will either need to lower the seating capacity or have attendees wear a face mask, unless exempt.

People performing the service are not required to wear face masks in such circumstances.

Venues still require a COVID-19 Safety Plan and contact tracing is required. From 1 May the Check In TAS app must be used for contact tracing purposes. If an attendee cannot use this app, they may be checked in by another attendee who can, or by the gathering organiser, or on a paper-based record managed by the organisers.

These changes brings churches, places of worship and funeral homes into line with other venues, such as cinemas, theatres and other entertainment premises.

See Gatherings, density and physical distancing for more information.

Use of Check in TAS app now mandated

Published 18 March 2021

From 1 May 2021 organisations will be required to use the free Check in TAS app to collect contact information about everyone who spends time at their premises or event.

Business, organisations and events - who haven’t already registered for Check in TAS – need to register their premises ahead of the 1 May deadline for compliance.

From this date patrons will be required to use the Check in TAS app when they visit these locations. The app is available for download from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

If patrons do not have a smartphone or are unable to use one, others in their group can check them in or staff at the premises will be able to check them in manually.

Mandating the use of Check in TAS helps strengthen Tasmania’s contact tracing capability for rapid response in the event of a COVID 19 case or outbreak.

For more information see Check in TAS.

Restrictions on visits to residential aged care facilities lifted

Friday 26 February 2021

There are no longer public health restrictions on the number of people that can visit residents in aged facilities to provide support and care; or on how long each visitor can stay, although some services may have their own visitation policies. The need for influenza vaccination has also been lifted.

Operators of residential aged care facilities must record the name, phone number and date/time for everyone (not just one person per group) who remains on site for 15 minutes or more. The easiest way to record this information, for everyone, is through the Check-in Tas app.

Visitors and workers still need to complete the aged care screening process when they arrive, and must not visit if they have any cold or flu-like symptoms, or loss of taste or smell.

While getting the yearly influenza vaccination is important, it is no longer essential for staff and visitors to residential aged care services because:

  • it is not currently available
  • when this year’s influenza vaccine does become available, it will be important to time vaccination carefully to ensure its effectiveness doesn’t wane before the height of the influenza season in August to September, and around COVID-19 vaccinations.

Entertainment venues can apply to increase patron numbers

Published 11 February 2021

Operators of Tasmanian cinemas, concert venues and theatres, and outdoor arenas and stadiums, may now apply to increase the number of people attending events in these venues. The number of people permitted to attend each venue depends on the available space, whether it is indoors or outdoors, seated or standing and mixing.

For most events, the density limit remains at one person per two square metres of available space.

For indoor entertainment venues with fixed seating, where people have to be seated most of the time, operators can apply to have the maximum number of patrons permitted to be equal to 75 per cent of the number of fixed seats provided. If that means the density limit will be exceeded, either the proportion of seats used will need to be lowered to meet the density limit OR patrons and staff will need to wear a face mask, unless exempt.

For outdoor stadiums and arenas with outdoor fixed seating areas, the maximum number of people permitted in these areas is up to 75 per cent of the fixed seats provided.

See Gatherings, density and physical distancing for more information.

Changes to dancing, standing and drinking alcohol and household gathering restrictions

Published 10 December 2020

Public Health advise that dancing and standing and drinking alcohol will be permitted by up to 100 people at indoor venues and 250 people in outdoor venues from 5pm Friday 11 December 2020.

The limitations on who or how many people can dance at weddings will also be eased within parameters.

If the existing density limit of one person per 2 square metres allows, there can be additional patrons in the indoor venue or an outdoor area, as long as they are not standing and drinking alcohol or dancing.

The upcoming changes do not alter the current number caps for non-residential premises – 250 in an indoor space and 1000 outdoors - or the requirement of at least 2 square meters per person.

In addition to these changes, from Friday 11 December, household gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted.

When you are hosting a gathering at home, make sure there is plenty of room to spread out, have soap and hand sanitiser available, and most importantly, stay home if you’re unwell.

COVID-19 North West Outbreak Independent Review Report

Published 9 December 2020

The final report from the Independent Review into the COVID-19 outbreak at healthcare facilities in the North West region of Tasmania has been released.

The Independent Review was established to look into the cause of the outbreak and ensure the best possible systems and practices are in place in the event of future outbreaks.

A total of 37 recommendations were made which has been accepted by the Tasmanian Government either fully or in-principle.

A copy of the full report can be found at the Department of Premier and Cabinet website.

Up to 250 people now permitted to stand and drink outdoors in licensed premises

Published 1 December 2020

Changes to the Management of Premises Direction now allow a maximum of 250 people (within current density requirements) standing and drinking alcohol in designated outdoor spaces of premises with a liquor licence or liquor permit.

If the density limit of one person per 2 square metres allows, there can be additional patrons in the outdoor area as long as they are not standing and drinking alcohol.

Patrons in indoor parts of the premises or event can only consume alcohol while sitting down, subject to density requirements.

This cap on the number of people permitted to stand while consuming alcohol at these outdoor spaces is required because the Events Framework enables larger gathering of patrons at events. Large numbers of people mixing freely and closely while consuming alcohol are very high risk settings for spreading COVID-19.

Direction released to implement Events Framework

Published 1 December 2020

The Mass Gatherings Direction has been released to provide a legal basis for A Framework for COVID Safe Events and Activities in Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Government released the Framework in October to supports organisers to plan COVID-safe gatherings from 1 December 2020 that exceed the current gathering limits.

Depending on the risk profile of the event, it will be classed as Level 1, 2 or 3, and different controls will apply depending on the level.

More information on the Framework is available here

The Framework will be reviewed over time as the rules for mass gatherings and events are updated to reflect the changing COVID-19 situation in Tasmania. The Framework will enable organisers to apply to hold an event under one of three levels.

International mercy flights

Published 7 November 2020

Tasmania will assist in the national effort to help vulnerable Australians overseas return home with a number to undertake their quarantine in Tasmania from later this month.

Upon arrival in Tasmania, travellers will undertake 14 days quarantine in Government-designated hotel quarantine facilities with services provided to ensure security on site as well as health and other services for the returning Australians while they are in quarantine. COVID-19 testing will be undertaken of all travellers prior to their arrival in Tasmania.

Travellers will include people who are in poor health, have lost their jobs, have exhausted their finances, have limited English or are returning home for compassionate reasons.

Once their quarantine is complete, travellers will be able to leave Tasmania if they wish, within the border restrictions of other jurisdictions.

While also enabling the safe return and quarantining of Australian citizens, this approach also recognises the recent successful quarantine of international Antarctic expeditioners. This process demonstrated Tasmania's capacity to provide the security, support services and infection control practices required to manage high-risk arrivals.

New SMS system enhancing quarantine compliance checking

Published 25 October 2020

Travellers in home quarantine can opt in to use SMS technology to confirm their location as part of compliance checks from 26 October 2020.

The new technology will enhance, rather than replace, the physical compliance checks that have been conducted by Tasmania Police and other authorised officers since March this year.

SMS messages will be sent to those in quarantine via Whispir, a secure communications platform already used successfully by Tasmania Police.

If the recipient opts in via SMS, mobile phone location services will be used to pinpoint their location. They will not be live tracked - their location will be provided on a map image when they click on the link in the SMS.

COVID-19 response plan for disability service providers

Published 13 October 2020

A plan to provide guidance to the Tasmanian disability service sector in relation to the management of COVID-19 has been released by the Tasmanian government. The Tasmanian Coronavirus Disability Service Providers Preparedness and Response Plan is a resource for disability service providers.

The Plan provides guidance material to disability service providers to help ensure they are prepared for, and can manage, the impacts of COVID-19 for their organisation, the people with disability they work with and their staff. It presents operational guidance on managing and preventing the transmission of COVID-19 for people with disability and also links to relevant resources and information sources.

For more information about the plan, visit: www.communities.tas.gov.au/disability

Advice for hay fever symptoms

Published 28 September 2020

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

Hay fever also has the same symptoms as a cold, flu and COVID-19, so it is hard to tell them apart without testing.

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

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

For more information visit Testing for COVID-19.

Business Growth Loan Scheme now open

Published 15 September 2020

The Tasmanian Government has announced a $60 million Business Growth Loan Scheme.

The scheme provides businesses with concessional loan funding to adapt and transition to sustainable post-COVID operating models.

Loans from $20,000 to $3 million are available for eligible businesses and new projects. The scheme is open for 12 months or until all funding has been fully allocated, whichever occurs first.

For more information visit the Business Tasmania website or call 1800 440 026.

Pandemic leave disaster payment now available for Tasmanians

Published 26 August 2020

The Australian Government has extended Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment arrangements to include Tasmania.

Tasmanian workers are now eligible for a $1,500 lump sum payment if they cannot work because they need to self-isolate or quarantine.

If an individual is instructed by a health official to stay home from work, and has used up all their sick leave entitlements, including any special pandemic leave, they may be eligible to make a claim. People may also be eligible if they’re the parent or guardian of a child aged 16 or under who is a close contact or has tested positive for COVID-19.

Tasmanian workers are eligible for the payment if they are not receiving income, earnings or salary maintenance from work, receiving the JobKeeper Payment or other forms of Australian Government income support. The payment can be claimed again should an extended quarantine period longer than 14 days be instructed by health officials.

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment applies from 22 August 2020. To make a claim call 180 22 66. Further information is available at http://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster.

Extension of the Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants

Published 7 August 2020

The Tasmanian Government has announced the extension of the Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants.

The grants are being extended from 8 August 2020 to cover casuals and low-income workers who are unable to work while awaiting a COVID-19 test result.

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

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