The Chief Health Officer is restricting access to facilities where vulnerable Victorians live and receive care.

Key points

  • From 11:59pm, Wednesday 22 July 2020 new restrictions on visitors to care facilities have been introduced.
Your questions answered

Current restrictions

The Chief Health Officer is restricting access to facilities where vulnerable Victorians live and receive care. This will help protect elderly people, those with disability, people experiencing homelessness, and children and young people in secure welfare services from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). People who live in these care facilities are especially vulnerable to the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) and may be critically at-risk if exposed.

From 11:59pm, Wednesday 22 July 2020, new restrictions on visitors to care facilities have been introduced.

  • There are new limits on visitors to care facilities including limits on the number and duration of visits (outlined below). 
  • Any visitor who is unwell or is waiting for a coronavirus (COVID-19) test result will not be allowed to visit.
  • From 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August 2020, visitors to any care facility across Victoria must also wear a face covering unless they have a lawful reason not to.

Which types of care facilities are covered by this restriction?

This restriction applies to all the following care facilities, whether operated by government, the private sector or not-for-profit organisations:

  • residential aged care facilities
  • alcohol and drug residential services
  • homelessness residential services
  • disability residential services
  • specialist disability accommodation
  • secure welfare services 
  • short-term accommodation and assistance dwellings
  • Supported Residential Services (SRS)
  • Disability Forensic Assessment and Treatment Services (DFATS)
  • Thomas Embling Hospital.

Who can visit people in care facilities?

Visiting will be restricted, with limits on who can visit and the time and number of visits. From 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August 2020, visitors to any care facility across Victoria must wear a face covering unless they have a lawful reason not to.

You may only visit the following reasons:

  • as a parent, guardian or temporary carer of a resident of a facility aged under 18 years
  • as a parent, guardian, carer, partner or support person (for example a friend or sibling), of a resident of a facility aged 18 or over, to provide emotional and social support if that cannot be delivered via electronic or non-contact means
  • as a nominated person under the Mental Health Act 2014
  • for providing essential physical or emotional and social care that can’t be delivered by the care team or via electronic or non-contact means
  • for providing interpreter or informal language support to enable the care team to provide care
  • for learning to support a resident’s care upon discharge
  • for attending a dying resident or providing end of life support to a resident of the facility
  • in the person's capacity as a prospective resident of the facility
  • to accompany a prospective resident

Any visitor who is unwell or is waiting for a coronavirus (COVID-19) test result will not be allowed to visit.

Is there limits on visits?

The following limits apply for allowed visitors:

  • for parents, guardians or temporary carers of a resident of a facility under the age of 18, one visitor at a time is allowed, with no limit on duration or number of visits allowed
  • for parent, guardian, carer, partner or support person (for example a friend or sibling), of a resident aged 18 years or over providing emotional and social support that is unable to be delivered via electronic means. The patient can only have one visitor. The visitor can only visit once per day, for a maximum of one hour.
  • for nominated persons under the Mental Health Act 2014, visits are limited to one visitor at a time, aligned to instances of treatment and discharge planning, or other functions related to the Act. The patient can only have one visitor. The visitor can only visit once per day, for a maximum of one hour.
  • for those providing essential care and support necessary for the patient’s physical, emotional or social wellbeing that cannot be delivered by the health service care team or via electronic or means, visits are limited to one visitor at a time. The number and duration of visits should not exceed what is essential for that care.  
  • providing interpreter or informal language support is limited to one visitor at a time, and visits should align with the times interpretation or language support is required by the care team.
  • learning to support a resident’s care upon discharge is limited to one visitor, for one visit per day for up to one hour
  • providing end of life care to a resident of the facility is limited to two visitors at a time, with no limit on duration or number of visits
  • a prospective resident of the facility may be accompanied by one other visitor only.

Do I need to call the facility before I visit someone?

No. However you should consider contacting the facility before visiting as they may have additional requirements, conditions or restrictions for entry. In some cases, some areas may be closed to visitors to keep vulnerable residents safe or restrict who can visit to close family.

You should also speak with other family, friends and carers before you visit. This will avoid a situation where the visitor limit is exceeded. If this occurs, you may be unable to see your family member or friend.  

What other conditions apply to visitors?

Visitors must not enter any of the nominated care facilities if they:

  • are unwell with flu-like symptoms, such as a cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, or fever of 37.5 degrees or higher
  • have had known contact in the last 14 days with a person who was a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) 
  • are under 16, unless they are visiting a resident who is receiving end-of-life care
  • any visitor who is unwell or is waiting for a coronavirus (COVID-19) test result will not be allowed to visit

From 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August 2020, visitors to any care facility across Victoria must wear a face covering.

Are there any other conditions placed on visits?

Visitors must comply with all screening and infection control measures put in place by the facility.

You should maintain at least 1.5 metres between you and the resident and all other people in the facility for the duration of your visit.

From 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August 2020, visitors to a care facility across Victoria must wear a face covering.

What are the restrictions on workers?

Subject to some important conditions, staff can enter the facility only if they are:

  • an employee or contractor at that facility
  • providing goods or services to the facility that are necessary for its effective operation (either as a paid worker or volunteer)
  • providing health care, medical or pharmaceutical goods or services, behavioural support services or other support services to a resident (either as a paid worker or a volunteer)
  • providing treatment under a treatment plan to a resident of a disability residential service (either as a paid worker or volunteer) providing education services to the resident of a secure welfare service (either as a paid worker or volunteer).

If emergency services or law enforcement personnel are required to attend the facility, they can enter at any time.

Workers must not enter any facility if they:

  • are unwell with any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), including a cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, fever, headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea 
  • have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees 
  • arrived in Australia within the last 14 days 
  • have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) and have not yet been given clearance from self-isolation 
  • have had known contact in the past 14 days with a person who was a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19)  

From 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August 2020, workers in a care facility across Victoria must wear a face covering

What if I don’t comply?

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

Where can I get more information?

For updates, see our Coronavirus page

You can also call the coronavirus hotline: 1800 675 398

If you require a translator to help you, call the translating and interpreting service on 131 450 and ask for the coronavirus hotline.