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22/10/2021
Blog

Sarah's Soundbite: October

Across Victoria there is anticipation around reunions with family, friends and the activities we enjoy, with the COVID-19 vaccination rate rapidly closing in on 80 per cent and the state reopening.
Blog
22/10/2021
Blog

Helpdesk Top 5: September

Read answers to top up your knowledge on COVID-19 vaccinations and other timely topics. Got a question on your mind? NDS members can ask the Helpdesk.

NSW COVID-19 Update: Changes to advice on day program group activities and reduced restrictions across NSW

blurred image of people in group. Text reads COVID-19 news update

12/10/2021

What you need to know

  • From Monday 11 October, up to 10 participants (not including staff) may participate in an indoor setting maintaining the 4 square metre rule. 
  • Masks are required for staff and participants in indoor settings.
  • Up to 30 participants (including staff) are permitted in outdoor environments.
  • Participants and staff should be fully vaccinated.

Day program group activities

NSW Health has issued updated advice regarding the temporary suspension of day programs. 

From Monday 11 October, day program group activities can resume in line with Public Health Orders. This may mean that some activities may not be possible for unvaccinated staff and participants. This includes participating in activities at those venues that are only open to fully vaccinated people or those with medical exemptions

All disability providers should have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. 

In resuming day program group activities, NSW Health advises the following:

  • All participants and staff should be double vaccinated.

NSW Health advises the following settings

Indoors:

  • Up to 10 people (not including staff) may participate in an indoor setting.
  • The indoor venue must comply with the 4-square-metrerule.
  • Masks are required for staff and participants.

Outdoors:

  • Up to 30 participants (including staff) are permitted in outdoor settings
  • Masks are no longer required. 

Where stay at homes orders are imposed, day programs cannot operate in person. 

NDS has confirmed with NSW Health that the advice from NSW Health is guidance and represents the best available health advice. However, it is not a Public Health Order. Where a provider wishes to deviate from this advice, they should conduct a thorough risk assessment, ensure that they can maintain a COVIDSafe environment and maintain open communication with participants, families and staff.

Residential disability services:

  • Up to two visitors (aged 16 years or over) per day per resident are permittedBoth visitors and the resident must be fully vaccinated (unless they are providing essential care or an end-of-life visit).

Other changes:

  • Staff are now able to work across NSW and worker permits are no longer required.
  • Staff should still be supported to work from home wherereasonably practical regardless of vaccination status. 

Worker Vaccinations

In response to a number of questions relating to worker vaccinations in the sector, NDS has sought some additional guidance from NSW Health:

  • The orders that previously applied to disability workers living or working in areas of concern have now effectively lapsed with the removal of restrictions. 
  • The requirement for mandatory vaccination for those providing disability support services at a government or non-government school or early education and care facility still applies.
  • There are other requirements for mandatory vaccination to enter a range of other businesses, however this does not include disability group homes, day programs and most other disability service settings. 

Providers should continue to check the NSW Health website as information and guidance, including changes to vaccination settings, can change quickly. 

NDS understands that greater clarity around some aspects of the current advice and opening up is required and will be seeking this from NSW Health as soon as possible. We will provide additional updates as this becomes available. 

Members are also invited to join us for our COVID-19 Normal: What are the issues for NSW Providers Senior Leader meeting on 19th October 2021. 

Members are welcome to contact us at any time with questions or concerns. 

Useful links

Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Karen Stace, Senior Manager, State and Territory Operations, submit enquiry/feedback, show phone number