COVID-19 Victoria Updates

 

Reviewed 22 October 2021

About COVID-19 (Coronavirus - SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV)

 

COVID-19 can cause an infection in people, including severe respiratory illness.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

 

  • Sore throat

  • Runny nose

  • Fever

  • Coughing

  • Fatigue/tiredness

  • Shortness of breath

If you suspect that you may have Coronavirus, please call the Victorian Government’s 24-Hour Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398, or visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au, self-isolate and get tested if you are presenting symptoms, or have visited known public exposure sites.

In an emergency situation, please call 000.

Current Public Health Orders in Victoria

As of 11:59pm on 21 October 2021, Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria have exited lockdown and returned to COVIDSafe settings:

 

  • There are no restrictions on leaving home for any reason.

 

  • Travel proximity limits and the curfew in Metropolitan Melbourne have been lifted; however, movement between Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria is for permitted reasons only.

 

  • Workers in Metropolitan Melbourne should continue to work from home, if able to do so.

 

  • Face masks remain mandatory indoors (not at home) and outdoors unless an exemption applies - this includes all workplaces and secondary schools.

    • Wearing of face masks is highly recommended on common property, particularly within enclosed common property areas in apartment buildings.

  • Outdoor shared facilities such as swimming pools, barbecue and dining areas on a premises may open, subject to density quotients (maximum of 50 people/1 person per 4 square metres) and existing check-in requirements. 

  • Public gatherings of up to 15 people (including dependents) are permitted.

  • Up to 10 people (including dependents) are able to visit homes in both Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

  • Indoor settings such as restaurants and cafes can reopen with up to 20 people indoors with density limits - if all attendees, including workers, are fully vaccinated.

  • In regional Victoria, indoor settings - like restaurants, cafes and gyms - can accommodate up to 30 people per venue, if everyone is fully vaccinated; outdoor venues can accommodate up to 100 people per venue, but only if everyone is fully vaccinated.

    • Owners corporations in Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria can hold committee meetings or AGMs in person, subject to visitor quotas in homes or any relevant restrictions for other venues, such as density and occupancy limits.

  • Real estate inspections related to a new purchase or end of lease purposes for are currently permitted by appointment only.

    • Only people from the same household can attend the inspection appointment, and the agent must stay outside during the inspection.

    • The current occupant of a premises cannot be present during an inspection appointment.

  • Short-stay accommodation bookings for recreational purposes can resume, subject to the 10 person limit in homes, and the restrictions on travel between Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria.

 

  • Most VCAT hearings are continuing to be held by phone or video conference at this time - in-person hearings may occur in limited circumstances.

    • For further information on VCAT hearings during coronavirus restrictions, please click here.

Essential Services and Authorised Workers:

While lockdown in Metropolitan Melbourne has lifted, all workers not on the authorised worker list and that are working from home must continue to do so where possible.

 

All authorised workers attending a site for work as an authorised work must complete and continue to carry the appropriate permit.

According to advice provided directly to SCA (Vic) from the Department of Health, authorised work and essential services relevant to the strata sector which may continue to work on a site or premises include (but are not limited to):

  • Outdoor or indoor building and maintenance (essential or non-essential) works at any occupied or unoccupied premises:

    • Critical repairs where required for emergency or safety purposes (including, but not limited to):

      • Burst water service;

      • Blocked or broken toilet system;

      • Serious roof leak;

      • Gas leak;

      • Dangerous electrical fault;

      • Flooding or serious flood damage;

      • Serious storm or fire damage;

      • An essential service or appliance for hot water, water, cooking, heating, cooling or laundering is not working;

      • The gas, electricity or water supply is not working;

      • The property does not meet minimum rental standards;

      • A safety-related device, such as a smoke alarm or pool fence, is not working;

      • An appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working and causes a lot of water to be wasted;

      • Any fault or damage in the property that makes it unsafe or insecure, including pests, mould or damp caused by or related to the building structure, and

      • A serious problem with a lift or staircase.

    • Essential infrastructure and services required to maintain human health, safety and wellbeing, including construction, maintenance and repair (whether provided by a public or private undertaking);

      • This includes any unplanned works or maintenance undertaken following an insurance assessment.

    • Services to support ongoing provision and regulation of electricity, gas, water, sewage and waste and recycling services and their maintenance;

      • This includes services to ensure solar or battery supply at off-grid premises.

    • Maintenance, repairs and cleaning (such as painting and pool maintenance);

    • Renovation works/non-essential maintenance works;

    • Home installations;

    • Home solar panel installations;

    • Landscaping and gardening.

  • Services related to property settlement or commencement/end-of-lease (including removalists)

  • Urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal, or premises;

    • This includes scheduled, routine cleaning of common property areas in apartment buildings.

  • Routine rubbish and waste disposal services;

  • Commercial cleaning operations in the event that a building is designated as an exposure site for COVID-19.

 

Vaccination Requirements for All Authorised Workers:

From 15 October 2021, all workers currently on the Authorised Worker List in Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria are required to provide evidence to employers that they have:

  • Received at least their first dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccination, or

  • Have a booking to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, or

  • Have a medical exemption evidenced by an authorised medical practitioner.

From 15 October, employers of authorised workers are responsible for ensuring there is a process in place to register, record and hold an employee’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

Furthermore, employers must not allow anyone who is working away from home who has not received their first vaccination or has not made an appointment to do so by 22 October (or whom isn’t exempt), to work on site.

 

If an employee does not have a medical exemption, employers are required to take ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent entry of unvaccinated workers, or workers who choose to not disclose their vaccination status, onto a site or premises.

The 15 October deadline does not apply to workers with prior existing requirements under the Chief Health Officer's (CHO) directions – groups like construction, freight, healthcare, aged care and education still have to comply with previous advice.

Definitions of ‘Employer’ under these Requirements:

Under the Chief Health Officer’s (CHO) Directions concerning vaccination requirements for authorised workers, an ‘employer’ in relation to a worker is defined as:

  • The person who employs or engages the worker; or

  • If the worker is self-employed – the worker.

SCA (Vic) therefore advises its members that from 15 October onwards, there is a requirement for contractors  attending a site or premises for work to provide proof of vaccination status to their employer in accordance with the CHO directions, and requirements applicable to all authorised workers under relevant public health restrictions.

Evidence of vaccination status may include:

  • An immunisation history statement available from Medicare;

  • A MyGov COVID-19 Digital Vaccination Certificate;

  • Relevant information from a My Health Record and/or Medicare Online Account, or

  • Other documentation/proof of relevant medical exemption.

Public Health Orders and Restrictions Applicable to the Building and Construction Sector:

 

With Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria returning to COVIDSafe settings, the building and construction sector in has returned to operation at 100 per cent capacity, subject to specific measures being implemented:

  • Construction workers state-wide need to provide evidence to their employer that they have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination;

    • Limited medical exemptions and proof-of-booking exceptions apply, in line with previous requirements for residential aged care workers.

​​

  • Workers on small scale construction sites (including residential works) may travel between metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria to work if they are fully vaccinated or an excepted person.

 

  • Wherever possible, workers should have their meals or other breaks outside, while maintaining physical distancing.

  • A COVIDSafe Marshal is required for all construction sites where multiple workers are present - this function can be delegated among personnel attending a site or premises.

Strata Sector Guidance

 

The following advice has been provided by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) and Department of Health (DH), following advocacy by SCA (Vic) throughout 2021 on behalf of our members.

COVIDSafe Plans:

  • Owners corporations must have a COVIDSafe Plan for the schemes and sites that they manage.

QR Codes/Electronic Record Keeping:

  • Check ins are required at entrances to shared facilities such as gyms, pools and cinemas.

  • Check ins are not required for other common property areas governed by owners corporations.

  • QR code check ins via the Service Victoria App are not required for accommodation, except where a person is not staying overnight and is attending a shared space.

For buildings with a concierge or other staff member on duty, the Service Victoria Kiosk Check-In system may be used on a device operated by staff to record the names and contact details of visitors attending shared facilities requiring a check in, as an alternative to using a QR code.

 

If QR codes or electronic record keeping measures outlined above are unable to be used by visitor for whatever reason, alternative record keeping methods, such as an iPad or pen and paper system may be used to record the details of persons visiting shared facilities for contact tracing purposes.

Further information:

Please also refer to the Victorian Government's Property, Real Estate and Strata sector guidance page for further information concerning COVIDSafe settings.

For further enquiries regarding business and industry regulations and restrictions, please contact Business Victoria on 13 22 15.

The Australian Government have also published a comprehensive suite of resources, including posters, which can be downloaded from the Department of Health website.

Owners Corporation Meetings

Owners corporations can hold committee meetings or AGMs in person, subject to visitor quotas in homes or any relevant restrictions for entry to other venues, such as occupancy limits.

 

Consider how members can access and be included in meetings. For example, some may attend in person, while others attend via a video meeting platform, or phone call.

 

Some matters do not need an AGM and can be resolved by ballot. You can conduct a ballot by:

  • Post;

  • Telephone;

  • Internet;

  • Fax;

  • Other electronic communication technologies.

Owners corporations should also consider what powers and functions they can delegate to the committee and/or manager. This can ensure effective administration between meetings. Owners corporations should consider limiting the use of their power to decide that certain matters can only be dealt with at a general meeting. This will help provide flexibility for decision-making while physical distancing is needed.

 

For further information on owners corporation meetings during COVID-19, please click here.

 

We are continually liaising with the Department of Health regarding the broader impact on service providers and services to owners corporations.

 

Strata Workforce Arrangements


Workers in Metropolitan Melbourne should continue to work from home at this time, if possible to do so.

 

Your business continuity planning for operating during a pandemic should be in place now.  There are many external factors that are out of your control that may overnight affect how you can continue to operate your business. Like so many countries, we may move to lockdown or you may find that one of your staff advise you that they have been exposed and before you know it, everyone is at home in self isolation or hospital.

While it may not come to closing an entire office, some employees or all your employees may need to work from home at any given time.  

 

We recognise that not all businesses may be set up for this or set up for all staff to do the same. You are therefore encouraged to consider the options available to you, to minimise disruptions to the business as well as to minimise exposure to potential health risks.

How will the staff access the office files, talk to each other, receive calls from your clients to keep the business on track? SCA (Vic) encourage members to consider these questions and the many more that follow the discussion. 

 

Do you have a policy for working from home? Can you guide your staff on OH&S issues to be mindful of at home? What about insurance?  What is best practice? What can you manage to do to the best of your ability with the imminent pressure and no time?

Working from home policy Template

Working from home checklist


SCA (Vic) Events


SCA (Vic) are hosting in-person events in accordance with relevant public health orders, advice and information from Federal and State Government authorities, such as density/occupancy limits, and protocols concerning entry to a venue or premises.

SCA (Vic) will also aim to deliver certain events online and remotely, and we are in the process of fast tracking our new accessible delivery modes, including podcasts, webinars, and online resources to further support our members.

SCA (Vic) COVID-19 Resources

SCA (Vic): COVID-19 Posters & Signage

Aus Govt (Dept. of Health): What you need to know about Coronavirus (COVID-19)
 

Aus Govt (Dept. Health): Environmental cleaning and disinfection principles for COVID-19

Vic Govt (Business Victoria): COVIDSafe Deep Cleaning Rebate
 

VCAT: Hearings during Coronavirus restrictions

 

Vic Govt: Face Masks in Shared Facilities Poster

Aus Govt (Dept. Health): COVID-19 Print ads - 'Simple steps to stop the spread'
 

Prime Minister of Australia: Media Centre

 

VicEmergency: Incidents and Warnings

 

Premier of Victoria: Media Centre

 

Vic Govt: Victoria’s Roadmap - Delivering the National Plan
 

Aus Govt (Dept. Health): Social distancing guidance

 

Vic Govt (Dept. Health): Coronavirus (COVID-19) cleaning guidelines for workplaces

Vic Govt (Dept. Health): Cleaning and disinfecting to reduce
COVID-19 transmission

 

Victorian Chamber of Commerce & Industry: COVID-19 Government grants and support