Important community updates

Last Updated: 24 Feb 2021 9:17pm

Restrictions on visits to residential aged care facilities lifted

Friday 26 February 2021

Public Health Services advises that from Monday 1 March a number of restrictions have been lifted for aged care facilities.

These include:

  • the number of people that can visit residents in aged facilities to provide support and care
  • how long each visitor can stay (although some services may have their own visitation policies.
  • the requirement for visitors to have an influenza vaccination

In addition operators of residential aged care facilities are required to record the contact details for everyone who remains on site for 15 minutes or more. Contact information can be recorded using 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.

Auckland declared a high-risk region

Published 24 February 2021

Tasmania’s Public Health Services has declared Auckland in New Zealand a high-risk region from 12.01am Thursday 25 February 2021.

The Australian Government has also designated Auckland as a Commonwealth hotspot. This means no person who has been in Auckland in the last 14 days will be permitted to board a flight into Australia reserved for quarantine-free travel.

Anyone who is currently on mainland Australia who has been in the Auckland region in the 14 days before arrival is not permitted to enter Tasmania, unless approved as an Essential Traveller. The most effective way of applying for this is via the G2G system.

Public Health Services is contacting people who have been in New Zealand in the past 14 days and have recently arrived in Tasmania to ensure they have not been in one of the newly declared hot spots in New Zealand (COVID-19: Contact tracing locations of interest | Ministry of Health NZ).

Update for travellers in quarantine due to time in Victoria

Published 19 February 2021

With no further COVID-19 cases in Victoria considered to pose an unmanaged public health risk, the Tasmanian Public Health Services has advised that from 12:01am tomorrow (Saturday 20 February) Victoria be moved to a low-risk classification (other than high-risk premises).

High-risk premises in Victoria remain – meaning any traveller who has been at those premises at the specific dates and times will be required to complete the 14-day quarantine requirement – see Travel Alert for details. The declaration of Terminal 4 at Melbourne Airport has been narrowed and now only applies to people who bought food or drink and/or sat in the Brunetti Café seating area between 4:45am and 2pm on 9 February.

People in quarantine who arrived on and after 13 February

Travellers who have arrived on or after 13 February and are currently in quarantine because they had been in Victoria in the 14 days before their arrival (but not at a high-risk premises) will be able to leave quarantine once they have received approval. Anyone who arrived in Tasmania on or after 13 February and is currently in quarantine in Tasmania who was not at one of the listed high-risk premises needs to email quarantine.review@police.tas.gov.au or call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to confirm this so their need to quarantine can be reassessed. Confirmations received since yesterday are currently being processed and you do not need to resubmit your information. Do not leave quarantine at any time unless you receive formal notification from the Deputy State Controller and/or Public Health Services. (The email address is a no-reply email account, officers conducting reassessments will not reply to general enquiries).

People in quarantine who arrived on or before 12 February

The designation of high-risk locations within Terminal 4 of Melbourne airport on 9 February 2021 has been changed. This is a result of the ongoing investigation of Victorian cases.

From now, the high risk premises is limited to Brunetti café including the café’s seating from 4:45am to 2pm on 9 February 2021. If you purchased food or drink or ate at the café at these times you must remain in quarantine until 23 February 2021.

If you were only in other parts of Terminal 4 on 9 February 2021, you may leave quarantine provided you meet all of the following conditions:

  • You have had at least one negative COVID-19 test on or after Friday 12 February. If you have not had a test you must have one and receive a negative result before leaving quarantine.
  • You have no symptoms of COVID-19
  • You have not been at any other Victorian high-risk premises listed on the Tasmanian Coronavirus website.

Persons to whom these changes and requirements apply have been contacted by SMS with this advice. If you believe these apply to you but have not been contacted, please ring the Public Hotline on 1800 671 738.

People who want to travel to Tasmania via Victoria after 12:01am Saturday 20 February

People arriving in Tasmania after 12:01am Saturday 20 February will not be required to quarantine on arrival as long as they have not spent time at any of the high-risk premises at the specified dates and times. These travellers should now register their travel and contact details via the Tas e-Travel system to receive a Tas e-Travel QR code.

Travellers who have spent time at any of the high-risk premises at the specific dates and times listed will not be permitted to enter Tasmania (unless approved as an Essential Traveller). The most effective way of applying for this is via the G2G system.

Update for travellers in quarantine due to time in Terminal 4, Melbourne Airport on 9 February

Published 18 February 2021

Public Health advises that anyone currently in quarantine under a Public Health Direction who spent time in Terminal 4 (T4), Melbourne Airport outside the hours of 4.45am to 2pm on Tuesday 9 February 2021 is now not considered a primary close contact and can now leave quarantine.

Travellers cannot leave quarantine if they:

  • spent time in T4 between 4.45am and 2 pm on Tuesday 9 February 2021 (including in Brunetti Café and while directly transiting through the terminal), as they are still considered a primary close contact
  • were at any other remaining high-risk premises in Victoria at the specified dates or times (see the latest list at Travel Alert) as they are still considered a primary close contact
  • arrived in Tasmania on or after Victoria was declared a high-risk area from Saturday 13 February 2021.

The change follows Public Health assessment of the latest information in relation to the site. Public Health has advised that the confirmed COVID-19 case that worked within the terminal was not on the site after this time and interstate testing of other people on site after this time has not found any other cases. This means that anyone in the terminal after 2pm on 9 February is at low-risk of having been exposed to COVID-19.

Travellers in hotel quarantine who are eligible to leave because of this change need to arrange their departure through the Government Liaison Officer.

All travellers should continue to monitor their health and have a COVID-19 test if they develop any symptoms at any time.

Call the Public health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for further information.

New premises in VIC declared high risk

Published 14 February 2021

Public Health has declared four new premises as high-risk, effective immediately. Please visit Travel Alert to view the latest additions.

Anyone already in Tasmania who was at any of these premises on the dates and times listed, should self-isolate immediately and call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for further advice.

The new locations are in addition to the existing high-risk premises in Victoria, see the full list here. This is an evolving situation and the list may change. Please check the webpage regularly if you have spent any time in Victoria on or since 27 January.

For more information contact the Tasmanian Public Health hotline on: 1800 671 738

New premises and public transport routes in VIC declared high risk

Published 13 February 2021

Public Health has declared five new premises as well as three public transport routes (bus and train lines) as high-risk, effective immediately. Please visit Travel Alert to view the latest additions.

Anyone already in Tasmania who was at any of these premises or who travelled these routes on the dates and times listed, should self-isolate immediately and call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for further advice.

The new locations are in addition to the existing high-risk premises in Victoria, see the list of these premises here. The list may change so check the webpage regularly.

People planning to travel to Tasmania who have spent time in Victoria are required to apply to the Deputy State Controller to enter Tasmania, including returning Tasmanians. If allowed to enter they will be required to quarantine for 14 days in either hotel quarantine or a suitable premises, depending on individual circumstances.

For more information contact the Tasmanian Public Health hotline on: 1800 671 738

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 facemask, 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 tenant and landlord support measures

Published 27 January 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 will end on 31 January 2021 unless circumstances in Tasmania dramatically change.

However, from 1 February to 31 March 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 the changes visit the Consumer, Building and Occupational Services website

Information for people transiting through NSW to access airports or seaports in Victoria

The Victorian Government has travel restrictions in place for people wanting to enter the State from NSW. For people wanting to transit through NSW to access Victorian airports or seaports an entry permit is required.

For the latest Victorian information on entry permits visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorian-border-crossing-permit or phone the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 and press two (2) when prompted.

Information for people wanting to enter Tasmania who have been in a high-risk area or premises

Published 18 December 2020

Travellers who have been in identified high-risk areas or premises during the specified dates and times must have prior approval to enter Tasmania. Applications to enter the State as an Essential Traveller for critical work, health, compassionate or other reasons can be made through the G2G system.

Tasmanians wanting to return home can apply through G2G and provide evidence of residency and seek to complete the 14 days required quarantine at a residential address or other suitable premises.

If granted Essential Traveller status, conditions will include undergoing a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of arrival and being subject to compliance checks while in quarantine.

Conditions can also include the requirement to undertake quarantine in government-designated quarantine. The quarantine fee will be waived for people who travel to Tasmania from newly declared high-risk areas and premises in NSW between 16 and 23 December and are required to quarantine in government-designated accommodation.

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.

Additional premises and business required to collect patron information from 15 December 2020

Published 1 December 2020

An expanded list of premises and business will be required to collect information of patrons who enter and remain on the premises for at least 15 minutes.  

This will allow for the rapid identification of people who may have been exposed to COVID‑19 if a case is present.

For the full list of premises and businesses the Contact Tracing Direction will apply to see Contact Tracing.

Owners and operators need to ensure patron information is directly accessible by the Director of Public Health.

For guidance on how to meet contact tracing obligations visit www.business.tas.gov.au/coronavirus_information/contact_tracing

Check in Tas App now available for download

Published 1 December 2020

The new app system to assist recording of patrons contact details is now available for download. The Check in Tas app is available from both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

The app helps protect the community by assisting with faster contact tracing. It enables individuals to check-in to venues and have this data stored securely with the Tasmanian Department of Health in the event contact tracing is needed due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community.

The new app is designed to assist venues meet the Public Health requirement to record contact details of individuals or one member of a group of patrons who spend more than 15 minutes on the premises.

Use of the Check in Tas app is free to venues and patrons. For further information visit the Department of Health website.

International Seasonal Workers recruitment

Published 7 November 2020

Tasmanian agricultural businesses who are approved employers under the Australian Government’s Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) and Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP), can now apply to recruit workers from some overseas locations, to supplement the local workforce.

To be permitted to source international workers, Tasmanian agricultural businesses must demonstrate that they have already attempted to recruit from within Tasmania and have a critical need for more workers.

If approved, these workers can arrive in Australia from overseas and transit directly to Hobart via an interstate airport to complete 14 days quarantine in Government-designated accommodation. Testing and safety protocols will apply.

For more information and to apply, visit the DPIPWE website.

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.

Aged care visitor restrictions eased for travellers from low risk areas

Published 26 October 2020

From Monday 26 October, travellers from low risk areas can visit Tasmanian residential aged care facilities under the same conditions in place for Tasmanians.

Those conditions are:

  • No more than two people can visit each resident at any time
  • Visits must take place in the resident’s room, outdoors, or in a non-communal area, as designated by the facility
  • Visitors must not have any symptoms of acute respiratory infection, including fever (higher than 37.5 degrees), signs of fever (eg chills, night sweats), cough, sore throat, runny nose; or shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell
  • Unless an exemption has been granted visitors must not be in quarantine. That means they must not have:
  • been in an area identified as medium or high-risk for COVID-19 in the previous 14 days
  • had contact with anyone known to have COVID-19, or reasonably suspected of having COVID-19, within the previous 14 days (except as part of their employment while wearing effective personal protective equipment).
  • All visitors must have had the 2020 influenza vaccine, unless they have evidence that they cannot safely have the vaccine for medical reasons.

Travellers from medium and high risk areas in quarantine can seek exemption to visit aged care facilities on a case-by-case basis if they are well and seek to provide end-of-life support to a family member or other significant person.

Keeping elderly people safe from COVID-19 remains a high priority and residential aged care services are still required to screen all visitors to aged care facilities.

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

Additional COVID-19 symptoms

Published 9 October 2020

It is important to get tested if you have or have had any of the following symptoms in the past 7 days, even mild: fever (or signs of fever, including chills or night sweats), runny nose, cough, sore/itchy throat, shortness of breath and loss of taste or smell.

COVID-19 can also present with the following symptoms that can occur on their own or combined with the other symptoms: headaches, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and fatigue. If you are experiencing these symptoms you should consider a COVID-19 test as part of managing your illness.

For more information visit Testing for COVID-19.

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.

Changes to outdoor gathering limits

Published 18 September 2020

Outdoor gatherings of up to 1000 people will be permitted from Friday 25 September.

The change to outdoor gathering numbers is based on Public Health advice which recognises that the COVID-19 risk is stabilising across Australia, as well as the lower risk of outdoor events, compared to indoor events.

Maximum density limits of two square metres of space per person will continue to apply for all outdoor and indoor gatherings. Indoor gathering limits remain at 250 people.

WorkSafe Tasmania is developing a template to help event organisers create COVID-19 Safety Plan for their events.

This practical tool will support organisers of all types of events; and will help them consider changes to the COVID-19 risk in Tasmania over time. Venue owners and operators are also required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place.

Event organisers should also include in their planning for the possibility that their event may need to be postponed or cancelled if the COVID-19 situation in Tasmania (or other parts of Australia) changes.

For more information see Gatherings, density and physical distancing.

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.