Victorian COVID-19 roadmap to reopening

Published 7 September 2020, revised 30 October 2020

Metropolitan Melbourne

The Victorian Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Roadmap to Reopening provides a four-step return to COVID Normal from Stage 4 and Stage 3 social restrictions.

As of 28 October, Melbourne is now in Step 3 of the roadmap. AHPA welcomes the announcement that all allied health providers are now able to resume routine care. This means that all professions including myotherapy, dermal clinicians, counsellors and others can resume face-to-face services, subject to having a COVID-safe plan.

Industry Restart Guidelines from the Victorian Government provide information, including Frequently Asked Questions and COVID Safe principles, to help workplaces ensure a COVID Safe environment when they re-open. An updated version of the Industry Restart Guidelines – Allied Health and Primary Care is now available from the Victorian Government website, reflecting the current requirements for Step 3.

The guidelines state that indoor groups are currently restricted. However, AHPA has been advised that indoor therapy groups (in both clinical settings and fitness industry settings) will be allowed to recommence in metropolitan Melbourne from 11.59pm, Sunday 8 November 2020.

When permitted, group sessions must apply the following requirements for density quotients between these two settings:

  • For clinical settings, indoor groups (when permitted) will need to operate with a density quotient of 1 person per 4 square metres, maximum number of 10 people per group – practitioners excluded from the group numbers.
  • For health professionals that provide clinical services in a fitness industry setting (i.e. public/commercial gym) a density quotient of 1 person per 8 square metres will apply with a maximum group size of 10 people – practitioners again excluded from the group numbers.

Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) and your individual professional associations continue to work closely with the Victorian Chief Allied Health Officer and representatives from the DHHS to ensure. We will continue to provide updates as they are available.

Students

DHHS guidance published in relation to student clinical placements (15 September) remains accurate providing additional information about where guidance applies and a revision of some environmental requirements.

Regional Victoria

On 17 September, regional Victoria moved to Step 3 of the roadmap, meaning allied health businesses can now provide face-to-face services with a COVID Safe plan in place. These arrangements remain unchanged. Some industry restrictions remain and regional allied health providers can only deliver indoor group classes in certain circumstances (as per the Industry Restart Guidelines – Allied Health and Primary Care).

Indoor group therapies are permitted in regional Victoria only for the indications of preventing significant functional decline or pre/post elective surgery care, with density quotients and maximum group numbers as below.

  • Clinical settings: apply density quotient of one person per four metres squared with a patron cap of up to 10 people per space (not including practitioner)
  • Fitness industry settings (i.e. commercial/public gyms): apply density quotient of one person per eight metres squared with a patron cap of up to 10 people per space (not including practitioner)
  • No shared equipment
  • Stagger session times to avoid congregation or exceeding patron limits