Published 7 September 2020, revised 23 December 2020
On 7 December 2020, Victoria moved to ‘COVIDSafe Summer’ restrictions that will be in place until at least the end of January 2021.
Allied health services are now open for business. Every Victorian business must have a COVIDSafe Plan and follow the six principles of COVIDSafe workplaces. Record keeping continues to be an important tool for helping Victoria to stay safe and stay open. Businesses that are required to record the details of visitors should use electronic record keeping or QR codes.
Health care and social assistance sector guidance is available from the Victorian Government website including:
- ‘Industry Restart Guidelines – Allied Health and other primary health services’ (15 Dec 2020).
- ‘PPE Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – PPE for Allied Health in Private Practice Settings’ (16 Dec 2020).
“Workplaces covered by the Industry Restart Guidelines include audiology, chiropractic, dietetics, exercise physiology, medical radiations (radiography, nuclear medicine and radiation therapy), occupational therapy, optometry, orthoptics, orthotics/prosthetics, osteopathy, pharmacy, physiotherapy, podiatry, psychology, social work and speech pathology. Additionally, the restrictions also apply to other primary health services such as myotherapy, remedial massage, naturopathy and kinesiology.”
Allied health professionals must continue to wear a surgical mask when providing services, as must administrative staff who have direct contact with patients. Patients are not legally required to wear a mask when receiving allied health services. However, it is highly recommended that patients are requested to wear a face mask within allied health practices, as part of the provisions for a COVID-safe business plan.
As stated in the Industry Restart Guidelines, density quotients for indoor groups are now 1 person per 2 square metres for services in clinical settings and 1 person to 4 square metres for services delivered in fitness industry settings. Specific requirements for clinical services provided from a residential address are also outlined.
Additional updated information and resources are available for Victorian hospitals and health services from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website:
- Personal protective equipment including the updated ‘Guide to the Conventional Use of PPE’ (11 Dec 2020)
- Health service planning – coronavirus (COVID-19) including updated guidance on student clinical placements (10 Dec 2020).
Information regarding broader Victorian COVID-19 restrictions, including travel and border restrictions, is available from the Victorian Government website.
AHPA continues to work with the DHHS and Safer Care Victoria’s Chief Allied Health Officer to bring you the latest information as it applies to allied health services.