Find information and resources for Victorian hospitals and health services to plan their response to coronavirus (COVID-19).
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Planning and preparedness tools

Physical distancing in the workplace and with colleagues

How can we best implement social distancing in the consultation setting, including practices with small consultation rooms?

Physical distancing is to be practiced within clinics and wards, between staff and patients, and between staff and staff. This includes:

  • Waiting room chairs separated by at least 1.5 metres.
  • Direct interactions between staff conducted at a distance.
  • Staff and patients to remain at least 1.5 metres apart with the exception of clinical examinations and procedures.
  • Use droplet and contact precautions (gown, gloves, eye protection and single-use face mask) when assessing a patient with respiratory symptoms in a community setting, see Advice for clinicians within the Coronavirus: Case and contact management guidelines for health services and general practitioners (Word)

Restrictions on hospital visitors and workers

There are now restrictions on who can visit - or work at - a Victorian hospital

This is to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) into hospitals by people who may pose a risk and do not have an important reason to be there.

What restrictions will be placed on visits?

Across Victoria, patients in public, private and denominational hospitals, multi-purpose services and day procedure centres will only be allowed one visit per day, from a maximum of two visitors at one time for two hours a day.

Who is prohibited from visiting a Victorian hospital?

To keep patients and staff safe you will not be able to visit a hospital if you:

  • Have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) and have not been discharged from isolation.
  • Have arrived in Australia within 14 days of your planned visit.
  • Have recently come into contact with a person who has a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Have a temperature over 37.5 degrees or symptoms of acute respiratory infection.

Are there exemptions to these rules?

There are some categories where visitors can stay longer than two hours, but the maximum limit of two visitors at a time will still apply. These exemptions are:

  • The parent, guardian or temporary carer of a patient who is under 18 years old.
  • The carer of a patient with a disability.
  • The partner or support person of a patient who is pregnant and attending hospital in relation to their pregnancy.
  • Accompanying a patient to the hospital's emergency department.
  • Accompanying the patient to an outpatient appointment.
  • Providing end of life support to a patient of the hospital.

All visitors can expect to be screened on entry

Before you can enter any hospital to visit a patient in one of the above categories, you will be screened to ensure you do not have a temperature. Further advice on implementation will be provided shortly.

Who can work at a Victorian hospital?

The only people who may enter hospitals for work purposes are:

  • A person who is an employee or contractor of the hospital.
  • A student under the supervision of an employee or contractor of the hospital.
  • A person providing health, medical or pharmaceutical goods or services to a patient of the hospital (whether paid or voluntary).
  • A person providing goods or services necessary for the effective operation of the hospital (whether paid or voluntary).
  • Union and employer representatives.
  • A person involved in emergency management or law enforcement.
  • A person who enters an area of the hospital exempted from the restriction. 

What about people providing a care and support visit?

A person providing a care and support visit to a patient may visit for a maximum of two hours per day, provided this is the only care and support visit made to the patient on that day.

All other types of permitted visitors may stay longer than two hours if they wish.

Are there any other restrictions on visits?

Yes. There is a maximum limit of 2 visitors at one time, not including hospital workers. Visitors can be in any combination of the permitted visitor categories.

Are there any time limits on visits?

A person who is attending solely to provide care and support for a patient can only remain with a patient for a maximum of two hours per day. The two-hour time limit applies only to care and support visitors, not to any other type of visit.

Can hospitals vary these limits at their own discretion?

Hospitals cannot allow more visitors than these directions permit. Hospitals can, however, issue even more strict limits on visitors should they need to.

What if I do not comply?

A person who ignores the ban will be liable for fines of up to approximately $20,000, or up to approximately $100,000 in the case of companies and other bodies corporate.

How will these directions be implemented?

Safer Care Victoria is currently preparing advice to support health services in the appropriate implementation of these directions.