Community services sector – COVID-19

COVID-19 information and guidance to support the community services sector, including disability services.

COVIDSafe guidance

Information on this web page is for community services organisations funded by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

It is also for residential and non-residential disability services funded by the state or federal governments.

Information about COVID-19 in accessible formats is available on coronavirus.vic.gov.au’s web page for people with disability.

Examples of relevant settings for this information

Relevant community services and settings for this information are:

  • child and family services 
  • neighbourhood houses 
  • men’s sheds 
  • family violence services
  • disability employment settings
  • in-home support services for people with disability 
  • centre-based services, including disability day programs
  • residential disability services 
  • homelessness staffed residential services (excluding homeless hotels) 
  • eligible specialist disability accommodation enrolled dwellings 
  • short-term accommodation and housing-assistance dwellings 
  • secure care (welfare) services 
  • supported residential services. 

What ‘must’ and ‘should’ means

Information on this page saying you must do something means you are legally required to do so because it is part of a current Victorian pandemic order.

Information on this page saying you should do something is based on current practice in public health. It is therefore a recommendation from the Victorian Government.

Personal protective equipment for workers

Face masks

Please refer to the Department of Health’s coronavirus.vic.gov.au for general recommendations on mask wearing. 

The information here is for workers in community services settings. In this context, workers include contractors and volunteers. 

Workers in care facilities must wear face masks

If you work in a care facility you must always wear a face mask while indoors. This includes when you are not interacting with clients. 

Examples of care facilities in the community services sector are: 

  • residential disability services 
  • homelessness staffed residential services for (excluding homeless hotels) 
  • eligible specialist disability accommodation enrolled dwellings 
  • short-term accommodation and housing-assistance dwellings 
  • secure care (welfare) services 
  • supported residential services. 

Workers in client-facing roles should wear face masks

If you do not work in a care facility but have a client-facing role, you should wear a face mask while indoors and working with clients. This includes when you are transporting them. 

You do not have to wear a face mask when working outside unless you cannot stay 1.5 metres away from other workers and clients.

Which masks workers need to wear – surgical mask or N95 respirator

You should use a surgical mask if wearing a mask is recommended in your community service setting. 

However, you should upgrade your surgical mask to an N95 respirator if you have a client-facing role in a residential setting. This means you should wear an N95 respirator in a care facility or other home setting. 

Similarly, you should wear an N95 respirator if you give services to clients with disability or with underlying medical conditions. 

You can temporarily remove your mask if it is essential to communicating effectively with clients who do not have COVID-19.

If you wear an N95 respirator throughout your interactions with others and there are no breaches in your personal protection equipment, you are not considered to be a contact if someone you have interacted with has a positive result from a COVID-19 test. 

Protective equipment to use for known or suspected cases

You should use tier 3 personal protective equipment if you are working with someone who is known or suspected to have COVID-19. Tier 3 personal protective equipment includes:

  • disposable gloves (do not wear vinyl gloves)
  • a disposable gown (plastic with long sleeves)
  • an N95 or P2 respirator (not a KN95 mask)
  • eye protection (with a face shield where practical).

You should also use tier 3 when someone has COVID-19 symptoms and is waiting for a test result. 

You can also refer to the Department of Health’s recommendations on the appropriate level of protection to wear. See the guide to the conventional use of personal protective equipment

When to take extra precautions in what you wear

You should wear extra personal protective equipment to what is recommended if you are at risk of being exposed to blood, body fluids or infectious conditions other than COVID-19. 

For example, wear a face shield if the person you are with often coughs, screams, shouts, spits or has a severe runny nose. Similarly, wear disposable gloves, eye protection and a disposable gown when the person has flu or gastro. If you might be splashed with blood or other body fluids, wear disposable gloves and a disposable gown.

Always be careful around hot surfaces and flames when you are wearing personal protective equipment. If you are cooking and the person you are caring for is not in the room while you prepare a meal, you can remove your face shield and gown.

Risk assessments when working with known or suspected cases

You should do a risk assessment before working face to face with a known or suspected contact. 

This will help you and your organisation decide whether to continue face-to-face care and what safety controls would need to be in place to continue face-to-face care. 

Vaccination requirements for workers

The information in this section outlines the Victorian Government’s vaccination requirements and recommendations  for Victorian workers. However, employers may set extra requirements for their employees. Please check your employer’s vaccination policy for the conditions at your workplace.  

Third dose vaccination requirements

Some workers must have three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to work on-site. These workers must show their employer evidence of their three doses.

Third dose vaccination requirements apply to workers in: 

  • residential aged care facilities
  • healthcare
  • aged care
  • disability services
  • emergency services
  • custodial facilities.

A full list of workers who must have three doses to work outside of home is available on coronavirus.vic.gov.au. Workplaces must see and record workers’ proof of COVID-19 vaccination. This does not apply to workers who have a valid medical exemption for not being vaccinated. 

Workers who do not meet vaccination requirements and do not have a valid medical exemption must only work from home.

General workers can work on-site if they are not double-vaccinated. However, the Victorian Government strongly recommends all workers should be vaccinated. Employers can require general workers to have at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Some examples of general workers in community services are:

  • accommodation workers
  • authorised officers
  • care facility workers
  • social and community workers
  • general workers.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination

There are two types of documents available to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Both are free:

Medical exemptions for workers

Workers can receive a medical exemption for two reasons:

  • They have a permanent medical contraindication to all available COVID-19 vaccines.
  • They have an acute medical illness, including a COVID-19 infection, for up to four months after first becoming infected. This type of exemption is temporary. 

See worker vaccination requirements for further information about medical exemptions and vaccination requirements.

Who ‘worker’ refers to

Workers are employees, contractors, volunteers and students on placement. 

Carers are not counted as workers in this context. 

Vaccination recommendations for carers

If you provide care in your own home, you do not have to be vaccinated to work. An example of this is if you are a foster or kinship carer. 

However, the Victorian Government strongly recommends that all carers should get vaccinated. 

If you work from home as a carer, you may need to be vaccinated to attend on-site training or meetings. This will depend on your host organisation or agency's vaccination policy.

COVID-19 testing requirements

Many Victorian Government-run testing sites supply rapid antigen test kits. They also provide polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. 

Everyone’s first choice in testing should be to use a rapid antigen test.

What to do if you test positive to a rapid antigen test 

People who get a positive result from their rapid antigen test probably have COVID-19. They must isolate for seven days. They do not need to get tested again to be released from their isolation. 

If you or someone in your care tests positive, you must follow the Department of Health’s checklist. You must also report the result to the Department of Health. 

You can report positive rapid antigen test results to the Department of Health by doing one of the following:

  • fill out the department’s online form
  • call Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 (press 0 for an interpreter).

Workforce surveillance testing for disability residential services

Workers in disability residential services should do at least two rapid antigen tests each week. They should leave at least 72 hours between these tests. 

Department of Families, Fairness and Housing has created guidance for disability support workers on rapid antigen workforce surveillance testing (Word).

Testing requirements after you have had COVID-19 

If you tested positive to COVID-19, you do not have to get tested or isolate for 12 weeks if you are re-exposed to COVID-19. The 12 weeks begins on the day your isolation ends. 

After 12 weeks, you must follow advice on what to do if you are in contact with COVID-19 again.

For information on ongoing COVID-19 symptoms, see the testing requirements the Department of Health recommends for ending isolation and recovering.

What is considered a recent or probable case of COVID-19

A recently confirmed case is when you test positive for COVID-19 using a PCR test. 

A probable case is when you test positive for COVID-19 using a rapid antigen test.

If you are a confirmed or probable case, you do not have to get tested or isolate for 12 weeks from the day your isolation ends. 

How to overcome difficulties in collecting a sample from those in your care

Sometimes testing people in your care for COVID-19 can be difficult. Some common issues are the person:

  • does not understand the reason or process for testing 
  • does not have English as their first language 
  • has a hearing impairment 
  • has communication difficulties 
  • is resistant to testing.

Some ways to overcome these issues are to:

You cannot test a person for COVID-19 if you do not have their consent. The person can also refuse to do a COVID-19 test.

If a person is resistant or distressed, treat the person as though they had tested positive. While the person is in isolation, use tier 3 personal protective equipment until they test negative for COVID-19 or their isolation ends. 

If a person does not have symptoms and needs to be tested but cannot be tested because they do not give their consent, are resistant or distressed, use the strategies listed above. If the person continues to be untested, contact your local public health unit to determine if the person needs to quarantine in their room. Continue to monitor them for COVID-19 symptoms and isolate them if they develop symptoms.

Some resources to help you are:

Information for visitors to care facilities 

Residents in care facilities do not have a limit on the number of people who can visit them each day. But all visitors:

  • must confirm they took a rapid antigen test that day and had a negative result 
  • should wear an N95 respirator during their visit if they are over 18 years old.

If someone wants to visit a resident in a care facility but cannot be tested, they can only visit under specific circumstances. These are:

  • the visitor had a PCR test up to 24 hours before their visit 
  • the resident is near the end of their life 
  • the visitor is providing professional patient care
  • the visitor is providing urgent support for a resident’s immediate physical, cognitive or emotional wellbeing. 

A care facility can have its own visitor policy to manage the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 

If a person has made reasonable attempts but cannot get a rapid antigen test, they can visit the resident if the resident has had one or no other visitors that day. 

Vaccination for residents and visitors

The Department of Health strongly recommends that all residents and visitors should be fully vaccinated.

Visitors must be screened 

Staff should screen visitors to care facilities.

Visitors should not enter a care facility if they have any COVID-19 symptoms. They can enter if symptoms are caused by an underlying health condition or medication.

Visitors should not enter a care facility if they are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19. But they can enter if the contact was made while they were working and they were wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment for that work.

Visitors must make a declaration to enter 

Visitors to care facilities must make a declaration in writing before they enter. The declaration says they: 

  • have no COVID-19 symptoms 
  • are not a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 
  • do not need to isolate or quarantine 
  • are not waiting on a COVID-19 test result
  • have a negative result from a rapid antigen test that day (or have reasonably tried to get a test result for that day).
COVID-19 cases and close contacts in the workplace 

Anyone who has COVID-19 must tell their workplace and social contacts about their positive result. 

Clients must tell providers if they have COVID-19

Clients who have COVID-19 must tell their community service provider if they spent 15 minutes or more face to face with someone. This includes being face to face with other workers and clients. Clients with COVID-19 must also tell the people they spent more than two hours with in the same indoor space. This meets their obligations to tell their social and workplace contacts if they have COVID-19.

COVID-19 in the workplace

Employers need to tell employees when an on-site worker is a confirmed case and has attended the work premises during their infectious period.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate for seven days from the day of their positive test result.

A person who has tested positive to COVID-19 can leave their isolation to drive someone they live with directly to or from education or work. The person must not leave the vehicle.

How to manage social or workplace contacts 

If you are a social or workplace contact without COVID-19 symptoms, you should do a rapid antigen test daily for five days. There is no requirement to quarantine.

To reduce the testing burden for NDIS participants living in residential settings, the Department of Health recommends testing participants on days 1, 3 and 6 within the seven-day period.

Close contacts do not quarantine if they wear a mask, take daily tests and avoid sensitive settings

Close contacts do not need to quarantine if they are in contact with a positive case and follow the requirements. This includes people who live in the same house as a positive case or who have spent more than four hours with a positive case.

Close contacts who are not in quarantine must

  • wear a mask indoors (except in their own private residences)
  • take five rapid antigen tests over the seven days from the day they became a close contact
  • avoid sensitive settings like care facilities and hospitals.

Close contacts who do not follow these requirements or are symptomatic must stay in quarantine.

Care workers, including disability workers, can still use the care workers’ exemption to attend work – see content under heading 'Care workers are exempt from quarantine'.

Close contacts are also referred to as ‘household contacts’. For more information see the Department of Health’s checklist for COVID contacts.

NDIS participants in residential settings who are close contacts 

All residents in a residential setting that has a confirmed case are considered to be close contacts. Since they are in their home, they do not have to quarantine in their room.

The local public health unit will do a risk assessment when it is told there is a confirmed case in the residence. The health unit will consider issues like:

  • evidence of on-site COVID-19 transmission
  • the layout of the facility
  • how many residents live in the setting
  • any concerning resident behaviours
  • critical staffing. 

If the health unit determines there is a high risk of an outbreak, it may recommend further public health interventions such as quarantining in rooms or increasing COVID-19 tests. 

All close contacts with COVID-19 symptoms must do a COVID-19 rapid antigen test and remain in quarantine until their test result is known.

Close contacts in quarantine who do not want regular testing

Close contacts who stay in quarantine for the seven-day period:

  • must have a rapid antigen test on the first and sixth day of their quarantine 
  • should have a rapid antigen test on the third day of their quarantine. 

If the close contact does a rapid antigen test on the third day and the result is positive, the person will spend less time in quarantine and isolation overall.

Close contacts in quarantine can exercise outdoors if they wear a face mask and stay 1.5 metres away from others. 

Close contacts who want to leave quarantine before the seven days are up 

If close contacts want to leave their quarantine early, they must avoid close contact with people who are older or at risk of becoming severely ill if they get COVID-19. Close contacts must avoid these groups of people for the remainder of the seven day-period.

Close contacts who leave their quarantine early must tell their employer or education facility they are a close contact and in their quarantine period. They must also: 

  • have five rapid antigen tests in the seven-day period (at least 24 hours apart)
  • test negative to each of the rapid antigen tests they take 
  • wear a face mask when indoors (except when at home or if they have an exemption) 
  • not visit hospitals and care facilities (this does not include the NDIS participant’s home).

Care workers are exempt from quarantine

Close contacts who work in sensitive settings, like a care facility, can follow the Department of Health’s exemptions for care workers

Care workers who are household contacts are exempt from quarantine if they are needed to work. But they must:

  • be fully vaccinated
  • be asymptomatic 
  • tell their employer of their status as a close contact
  • agree with their employer to them returning to the workplace
  • take a daily rapid antigen test for five days and have a negative result before returning to work.

Disability support workers must wear N95 respirators. All other care workers must wear surgical masks, but it is recommended they wear N95 respirators in the workplace. 

Employers who exempt workers must

  • determine if the worker needs to be on-site to do a critical task or deliver a service (for example, the worker cannot perform their role from home) 
  • respect the rights of the worker and not tell them to attend work if they do not consent to being at work 
  • take reasonable steps to make sure the worker does not share toilets, equipment and spaces with other staff where possible.

Carrying out this exemption is voluntary. Both the care worker and their employer must agree to the employee working with clients face to face.

Care worker who develops symptoms while exempt from quarantine 

If a care worker is a close contact who develops symptoms, the exemption from quarantine no longer applies. A care worker with symptoms must isolate and take a test as soon as possible.

If a care worker tests positive for COVID-19 at any time, the exemption no longer applies. Anyone who tests positive to COVID-19, including care workers, must isolate for seven days. They must also tell their close contacts and employer.

Who ‘care worker’ refers to

A care worker is someone who: 

  • works at a homelessness residential service setting
  • provides secure care services
  • works at a supported residential service setting
  • works at a disability residential service setting
  • provides services to an NDIS participant in any setting
  • provides essential relief activities (for example, at a neighbourhood house or men’s shed)
  • works at a short-term accommodation or assistance dwelling
  • provides family violence and sexual assault support services (including The Orange Door)
  • gives respite services
  • gives homelessness support services
  • gives child and family services (including child protection and statutory residential care) 
  • gives public housing and social housing support 
  • works at a rooming house
  • gives essential social services to those that need it because of 
    • family violence
    • homelessness
    • illness or a chronic health condition
    • infirmity
    • disability
    • contact with the justice system.

A full list of care workers is available from Department of Health's Checklist for COVID contacts webpage.

Managing COVID-19 in disability settings

For comprehensive guidance on managing COVID-19 in disability settings, see the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing’s COVID-19 guidance for disability settings (Word).

Reporting positive cases in a disability setting

If you have a positive case in your setting, you must tell three areas. You may also need to tell WorkSafe depending on your situation.

Flowchart for 'Reporting positive cases' – find full description on page

View flowchart 'Reporting positive cases' in full screen

Who to tell if you have a positive case:

  1. Fill out the online form from the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.
  2. Email the Readiness, Response and Emergency Management (RREM) Outbreak Disability Cell at the Department of Families Fairness and Housing.
  3. Report a positive rapid antigen test at the Department of Health by filling out their online form at coronavirus.vic.gov.au. This is a legal requirement for everyone in Victoria. You should report an NDIS participant’s positive test on their behalf. You do not need to report the result of a rapid antigen test if a PCR test was done. 
  4. You must tell WorkSafe if someone in your workplace contracts COVID-19 and needs immediate in-patient care or dies as a result. Fill out an online incident report at WorkSafe.

Definition of an outbreak in a disability setting

This diagram shows what an outbreak is in non-residential and residential disability settings:

Definition of an outbreak. In a non-residential setting, an outbreak is five or more staff, NDIS participants or visitors who test positive (by PRC or RAT), are linked and occur within seven days. In a residential setting, an outbreak is either of the following: 1) two or more residents who test positive within 7 days of each other and were on-site during their infectious period; 2) five or more staff or residents who test positive within 7 days of each other and were on-site during their infectious period.

View flowchart 'Definition of an outbreak in a disability setting' in full screen

If five or more staff work in multiple residential settings and are close contacts, then the situation is an outbreak.

What does ‘infectious period’ mean?

A person who tests positive to COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. The timeframe a person can infect others with COVID-19 is known as the ‘infectious period’.

The infectious period for a person who is symptomatic (that is, they have COVID-19 symptoms), starts 48 hours before their first symptom began. Their infectious period ends seven days after their first positive test result. 

For example, Atakan had a sore throat and cough at 9 am on Monday. He had a rapid antigen test at 3 pm that day and the result was positive. Atakan’s infectious period therefore began on Saturday at 9 am (48 hours before 9 am on Monday when his symptoms began). Atakan’s infectious period ends on the following Monday (a week after he first tested positive). 

The infectious period for a person who is asymptomatic (that is, they have COVID-19 but do not have any symptoms) starts 48 hours before their first positive test result. Their infection period ends seven days after their first positive test result. 

For example, Jules does not feel sick but is a close contact with someone who has COVID-19. They have a rapid antigen test at 12 pm on Wednesday and test positive. This means that Jules’ infectious period starts from Monday at 12 pm (48 hours before their first positive test result). Jules’ infectious period ends on the following Wednesday (a week after they first tested positive). 

What does ‘case’ and ‘exposure’ mean?

A case refers to a resident, NDIS participant, staff member or visitor who has tested positive to COVID-19 from a PCR or a rapid antigen test. 

An exposure is a resident, NDIS participant, staff member or visitor with COVID-19 who tests positive to COVID-19 but does not meet the outbreak definition.

Both cases and exposures need to be reported. 

Most COVID-19 events in non-residential disability settings will be exposures. The local public health unit will decide if a situation in a non-residential setting is an outbreak.

When is testing needed?

Residents with symptoms of COVID-19 must be isolated and tested for COVID-19. They can have a PCR or rapid antigen test.

Staff with symptoms of COVID-19 must not enter the workplace. They must isolate and get tested for COVID-19. 

How are ‘false positive’ test results managed? 

A test result is likely to be a false positive if the person:

  • does not have symptoms
  • was not a close contact
  • had a positive result from a rapid antigen test.

A false positive test result means that the person is unlikely to have COVID-19. However, treat the situation as an outbreak until the person has a PCR test showing a negative result. 

The person needs to have the PCR test as soon as possible and within 48 hours of getting their original positive rapid antigen test result.

Reporting an outbreak in a disability setting

If you have an outbreak in your setting, you must tell two areas:

Flowchart for 'Reporting an outbreak in a disability setting' – find full description on page

View flowchart 'Reporting an outbreak in a disability setting' in full screen

Who to tell if you have an outbreak:

  1. Email the Readiness, Response and Emergency Management (RREM) Outbreak Disability Cell at the Department of Families Fairness and Housing.
  2. Fill out the outbreak notification form on coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

Who from my organisation needs to know about an outbreak? 

You will need to tell the following internal contacts about an outbreak:

  • the people from your organisation who are listed in your COVIDSafe Plan
  • the health and safety representative at your workplace.

Who from my organisation needs to know about an exposure or case?

You will need to tell the following internal contacts about an exposure or case: 

  • the people from your organisation who are listed in your COVIDSafe Plan
  • your workplace’s NDIA case manager (or call NDIA on 1800 643 787 from Monday to Friday between 8 am and 8 pm)
  • the health and safety representative at your workplace.

Why do you need to report cases and outbreaks?

Reporting needs to be done as soon as possible to protect those who test positive. If you report a positive case or outbreak without delay, your disability setting could get important resources and support to help manage the situation. 

There are benefits to reporting cases and outbreaks quickly at the individual level and service-provider level:

Flowchart showing the benefits of reporting cases and outbreaks quickly. At the individual level, the person could be eligible for clinical supports, medications and at-home contact as part of the COVID Positive Pathways program. At the service level, providers could get air scrubbers, personal protective equipment, rapid antigen tests, expert support, staffing help, on-site testing or clinical waste bins.

View flowchart 'Why do you need to report cases and outbreaks?' in full screen

What are the benefits of reporting at an individual level?

Reporting outbreaks and cases gives a person with COVID-19 access to medical care and treatment. This is crucial for people who are at a high risk of developing a severe illness.

Further, a person with COVID-19 can enter the COVID Positive Pathways program. This includes people who live in a specialist disability accommodation setting.

What are the benefits of reporting at the service provider level?

Organisations that report outbreaks and cases can get the support and resources they need to manage the situation in their facility. For example, the local public health unit can give expert support on infection control, health advice and guidance, and supports for care and treatment.

NDIS commission’s COVID-19 information and resources

The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s website has updates, training, alerts and resources for NDIS participants and NDIS providers. Use this information to ensure NDIS participants get safe and quality support.

Infection prevention and control

Department of Health has partnered with VICNISS and created free, online training modules on the principles of infection prevention and control. Each module runs for 10 minutes and can be viewed at any time on any device. No log in or registration is needed.

Topics covered are:

  • the chain of infection 
  • hand hygiene
  • personal protective equipment
  • cleaning 
  • waste disposal
  • working in an outbreak.

The modules are for non-clinical workers across all sectors, especially those who care for vulnerable people and groups.

Department of Health has guidance and resources on how to prevent and control infection at work, home and the community. Their Infection Prevention Control Advice and Response unit is running free webinars for various settings until 30 June 2022.

Outbreak support for community services sector

If you need support to organise testing or manage a confirmed or possible COVID-19 case, email RREMoutbreak@dffh.vic.gov.au

Personal protective equipment 

If your organisation needs support in getting personal protective equipment, email COVID19PPErequest@health.vic.gov.au. Organisations eligible for support are:

Please include proof of your service agreement with the relevant department when you request personal protective equipment.

Out-of-scope organisations can also request personal protective equipment for one-off urgent requests (subject to supply availability). Please email COVID19PPErequest@health.vic.gov.au.

Ventilation for indoor spaces

There are three ways to ventilate indoor spaces:

  • natural – opening windows and doors
  • mechanical – using heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to bring the outside air into the space
  • augmented – using air purifiers to filer the air.

You can find guidance for your community setting on the coronavirus.vic.gov.au’s ventilation web page. A summary of guides for your community setting is below.

Staffed residential settings

You are likely to work in a staffed residential setting if the residence you work in offers residential care (out-of-home care), disability services, homelessness services, housing assistance and help with short-term accommodation, secure care (welfare) services, residential support and in-house family-violence services. 

Private residences and social housing

You work at a private residence if you are a foster, kinship or permanent carer, a lead tenant for out-of-home care, or a carer in an NDIS-enrolled specialist disability accommodation. If you work at a public housing estate, rooming house or community house, you work at a private residence. You also work at a private residence if you work at a caravan park with respite services or at a caravan park with long-term residents. 

Offices or community centres

You are likely to work in an office or community centre if the support services you provide are for family and parenting, family violence, sexual assault, the Orange Door, disability employment and day programs, neighbourhood houses, Men’s Sheds, homelessness or public housing.

External settings (working offsite)

•    Cafes (sit outside or choose large spaces with open windows): Break and lunch room ventilation guide
•    Meeting rooms: Enclosed office ventilation guide
•    Lounge rooms in a person’s home: Games room ventilation guide

You work in an external setting when you work offsite. You could be working in someone’s home, attending a meeting in a public space, or visiting an external party’s office. 

Residential aged care facilities and residential disability settings

Department of Health has specific ventilation guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in residential aged care facilities and residential disability settings.

Health and safety in the workplace

COVIDSafe Plans

A COVIDSafe Plan is a list of health and safety actions. It is an important part of the occupational health and safety obligations of every workplace and is required under the Victorian Government’s pandemic orders. 

Every workplace must keep a copy of the COVIDSafe Plan on-site and make it available for inspection if WorkSafe or an authorised officer ask to see it. 

Full information on COVIDSafe Plans is available on coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

WorkSafe

WorkSafe has COVID-19 guidance and support for employers and workers on its website. This includes:

  • information for your industry
  • support for employees
  • information in languages. 

Workers can raise concerns via WorkSafe on 1800 136 089.

Financial and emotional supports

Psychological first aid and emotional support

If you need emotional support, these organisations are ready to take your call:

You can also call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 to access the community support phoneline (press option 5, then 3). The phoneline connects Victorians to Australian Red Cross volunteers who are trained in giving emotional support and psychological first aid. The phoneline is run by the Community Activation and Social Isolation (CASI) initiative and will end on 30 June 2022.

Help paying electricity, gas and water bills

Victorians can get help to manage their electricity, gas and water costs if they’re having trouble paying their bills.

Concessions, government grants and cheaper plans are available through the state’s payment difficulty framework. Organisations can refer low-income and vulnerable householders to:

More information

The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing has created practical guidance to help families prepare for COVID-19 quarantine:

There are also resources from the Victorian Government for communities that have language and cultural needs. Access to translators and interpreters can be found at coronavirus.vic.gov.au’s web page on translated information about COIVD-19.

Operational guidance for the High-risk Accommodation Response program is available in the program’s service specifications (Word). The program will end on 30 June 2022.

Useful quick links

For more information on anything on this web page, please email: RREMenagagement&partnerships@dffh.vic.gov.au.