Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs

Due to the rapidly changing nature of the health advice and recommendations in regards to COVID-19, Yarra Ranges Council does its best to keep this information up to date. The information provided below is general in nature. Please refer to the DHHS website for the most up to date COVID-19 restriction information.  

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions relating to COVID-19.  

Do I need to wear a face mask?

From 5pm on 31 December 2020 you must wear a fitted face mask when you are in public indoor spaces unless you have a lawful reason not to. This includes when visiting places such as:  

  • shopping centres, supermarkets, retail outlets and indoor markets
  • hospitals and aged care facilities
  • restaurants and cafes, except when you are eating or drinking
  • churches and places of worship
  • libraries
  • indoor recreational facilities and gyms
  • indoor workplaces.
  • while taking public transport, in taxis or using ride sharing

You must wear a fitted face mask when you are in an airport terminal. It is strongly recommended you wear a face mask while on your flight.

You must continue to carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to. This is in case you require your face mask, for example, if you aren’t able to keep 1.5 metres distance from other people or enter a public indoor space.

If you have coronavirus (COVID-19) or are a close contact and you need to leave home (or the place where you are undertaking isolation or quarantine) for a permitted reason (for example in a medical emergency) then you must wear a fitted face mask.

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) you must wear a fitted face mask when you leave home (for example to get tested).If you are awaiting test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) and you had the test done because you have symptoms, have been otherwise required to quarantine or self-isolate, or are currently experiencing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) but you need to leave home (for example to receive urgent medical care) then you must wear a fitted face mask.

It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask outdoors when you are unable to stay more than 1.5 metres from other people, such as transport stops, busy walkways and thoroughfares.

Your face mask must be a fitted covering that covers your nose and mouth. Face shields, bandanas, scarves and neck gaiters are no longer considered sufficient face protection.

For more information on masks, refer to the DHHS website.

 

 

Do I need a permit to drive around Victoria?

No a permit is no longer required to drive around Victoria.

Are playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment open?

Yes, outdoor playgrounds, outdoor gym equipment and skateparks are open. 

While at a playground or skate park, you should keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others. When you get home you should wash your hands.

What are the rules around indoor and outdoor physical recreation?

Indoor physical recreation and community sport

  • No patron caps with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm for each space.
  • Gym and exercise classes limited to 50 people (excluding anyone necessary for running the class).
  • COVID Marshals required when gyms are staffed. At times when gyms are unstaffed, a density quotient of 1 per 8 sqm applies.
  • Signage must state the number of people permitted inside, wipes and disinfectant must be supplied for use by patrons, and record keeping is required and venues with capacity of greater than 500 patrons must publish a COVIDSafe Plan online.

Outdoor physical recreation and community sport

  • Up to a maximum of 100 patrons for outdoor fitness classes with a density quotient of 1 per 2sqm.
  • Record keeping is required and venues with capacity of greater than 500 patrons must publish a COVIDSafe Plan online.

     

Pools, spas, saunas, steam rooms and springs

  • Indoor venues open with a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm. Outdoor pools open with a density quotient of 1 per 2 sqm.  Record keeping is required

 

Are swimming pools open?

Outdoor swimming pools are open with a density of 1 person per 2 square meters

Indoor pools are open with a density of 1 person per 4 square meters

Can I attend a support group held in a community or recreational facility?

 Community venues and facilities including libraries and toy libraries are open with no patron caps subject to a density quotient of 1 person per 2 square meters. Electronic record keeping is required. If electric record keeping is not being used, a density quotient of 1 person per 4 square meters applies.

Creative arts facilities are open with no patron caps. Adensity quotient of 1 per 2sqm, subject to use of electronic record keeping applies.

Can I visit a retail hairdresser or a home-based hairdressing salon?

Masks are required by both the customer and the hairdresser if you are getting your hair cut.

If you are receiving facial treatment, you are not required to wear a mask during the treatment but must put it back on once the treatment has finished.

Can I go to a restaurant or cafe to dine in?

Yes, cafes and restaurants are open.

Hospitality

Density quotient of 1 per 2sqm for indoor and outdoor hospitality venues. Up to 25 patrons are permitted in a venue before the density quotient applies. No requirement for seated service.

Density quotient of 1 per 4sqm on a dance floor up to a maximum of 50 people.

All venues are required to use electronic record keeping when applying the density quotient of 1 per 2 sqm. In venues not using electronic record a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies.

Food courts

Indoor and outdoor food courts open with a density quotient of 1 per 2 sqm. No patron cap for indoor food courts.

 

Can I travel to stay overnight in accommodation?

Yes. Accommodation is open.

  • density quotient applies to communal spaces.
  • Accommodation: Bookings restricted to the private gathering limit. The person or household booking the accommodation can have up to 30 visitors. 

Who can I contact if I have concerns regarding compliance with the directions?

  • Coronavirus hotline can be contacted on 1800 675 398,
  • Community members can contact the Police Assistance Line (PAL) on 131 444,
  • Workers can raise concerns via Worksafe on (03) 9641 1555,
  • Employers can talk to their industry regulator or peak body for specific support.

I’m not able to pay my rates, can council help?

Yes, we have a range of assistance options available to those effected by the COVID-19 situation. You can find out more and apply on our Rates Relief page.


I can’t afford to pay my animal registration, can you offer any assistance?

Under the State’s Domestic Animals Act we are unable to waive, suspend or formally extend pet registration fees past 10 April, however we will not be issuing penalty fees (late payment fees) if you are unable to pay your pet registration by this date.

Please note - if pet is found wandering off a property and a Community Safety Officer attends, a fine may be issued if the pet's registration is not current. 


I run a business, where can I get assistance?

Council’s Business team can provide advice for local businesses effected by coronavirus. You can contact them on 1300 368 333 or visit our Support for Business page for links to government assistance packages and other helpful resources.

Where do I report businesses that aren’t following the current restrictions?

If you're concerned about people or businesses not following the restrictions please call:

  • DHHS Coronavirus hotline, select option 4: 1800 675 398 (24hrs 7 days a week)
  • Victorian Police non emergencies hotline: 131 444


Can I still go to the local park?

Yes you can visit local parks provided you follow the current physical distancing and public gathering requirements. 

Playgrounds, outdoor gym equipment and skate parks are open.

Up to 100 people can gather outdoors from any number of households. Infants under 12 months are not included in the cap.

Exercising outside is permitted and encouraged, however remember to always:

Please note: anyone with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 should be tested and not leave their home until directed to do so by the government. 

 

Can I still go for a run around Lillydale Lake?

Yes, you can visit parks for exercise provided you follow the current physical distancing and public gathering requirements at all times.

Can I still take my dog to the Dog Off Leash Park?

Yes you can still walk and exercise your dog, however keep 1.5m between yourself and other people (and other pups) when you're out. 

If you’re not in a dog off-lead area, your dog has to be on-lead at all times. 

If your dog is a little excited to be out, isn't used to other animals or people or isn't properly under voice control, it's safest to keep them on lead –even when you're in an area where it's OK to be off-lead. This helps to keep them and other dogs safe, can assist with training and helps all of us keep to social distancing requirements.

Can I go to the local tip (waste transfer station)?

Yes. Transfer stations are open to the general public.

Are bins being collected as normal? My bin wasn't collected

Bins are still being collected around Yarra Ranges, but we’re working to avoid manual handling of bins wherever possible, to reduce the risk to community members and our contractors.
 

Help us to keep the community safe:

Make your bin safe to collect

  • Make sure your bin is on the kerb, away from cars, trees and other obstacles, so it can be easily reached by our truck’s automatic arm. Your bin should be at least 50cm away from other bins and one metre away from poles, trees and cars, with the handle facing away from the kerb. Your bin should be no more than 1m from the kerb, otherwise we can’t reach it. If you can’t find a safe place on your kerb to put your bin, you can place them in your driveway if it is safe to do so.
  • Make sure your bin is safe to empty – if your bin is damaged, you’ll need to contact us to organise a replacement.
  • If your bin is too heavy, we won’t be able to safely collect it.
  • If your bin is over-filled, we won’t be able to safely collect it. You should be able to close the lid of the bin easily. If your bin is over-filled, it will likely spill when our automatic arm collects it. During the current COVID-19 situation, we are unable to leave the truck to collect spilled rubbish, so we can’t collect over-filled bins.
  • Don’t put oversized items or the wrong thing in your bins. Oversized items may have to go to a waste transfer station for a fee.

Find out what you can put in your bin

 Don’t park in front of bins

Don’t park in front of bins or in truck turning areas, such as court bowls. Our trucks need a lot of room to turn around safely.

If we couldn’t collect your bin, or if we could collect it but faced some problems doing so, our contractor will leave a notice with more information.


Are immunisation sessions still going ahead?

 

Yarra Ranges has adapted its immunisation services so they reflect the social distancing and personal hygiene recommendations by the State and Federal Governments. 

Immunisation venues

We are now running our immunisation sessions out of four venues:

  • Upper Yarra Family Centre, 2444 Warburton Hwy, Yarra Junction
  • Sherbrooke Family & Children’s Centre, 1443 Burwood Hwy, Upwey
  • Healesville Community Link, 110 River Street, Healesville
  • Japara Living & Learning Centre, 54-58 Durham Road, Kilsyth, Vic 3137

Book a 2021 immunisation session

 

COVID-19 safety precautions

Yarra Ranges has designed these venues using a three layer approach:

  1. Client and staff movement – by controlling the movement of people through the venue, we are restricting the exposure of clients to clients, and clients and staff.

  2. Zoning – by creating zones within each venue, we create consistency across each venue and are able to allocate cleaning schedules and personnel to each zone. 

  3. Set up – by designing a set up that complies with social distancing requirements, we can monitor the number of people in the session at any one time and reduce the overall level of exposure.

Each venue is also:

  • Deep cleaned and sanitised after each immunisation session
  • Provided with additional personnel to ensure the process is efficient and unified
  • Designed to run all our programs including the National Immunisation Program and Flu Program

All staff working at our immunisation sessions will be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), which includes a face shield and disposable gloves. Staff will also be sanitising their hands between each client.  These changes are to ensure our clients are protected during these unprecedented times.

 

Will my maternal and child health appointment be done by telehealth?

Your nurse will be in touch via phone or SMS to confirm whether your existing appointment will be face to face or over the phone.

The following with be a combination of face to face and over the phone:

  • Initial home consultation
  • 2 week
  • 4 week
  • 8 week

All other appointments will be over the phone, unless determined otherwise by the Maternal & Child Health nurse.

To ensure appropriate physical distancing only one adult can be present at face to face consultations and where possible, we encourage other children to be cared for at home.

Maternal & Child Health Resources

The Maternal and Child Health 24 hour telephone support service is available on 13 22 29

Reliable information about your baby and child health, as well as  your family parenting questions, is available on Raising Children Network

Important general family health information is available on the Victorian Governments's Better Health Channel 

For any questions our MCH Coordinator is happy to take your call on 1300 368 333

Do you have any activities for young children at home?

Our Family & Children's team have shared some fun and creative activities for children aged 0-12 years, including back yard bird hunts, leaf printing and more on our Family activities page. 

You can also stay connected by following the Yarra Ranges Families Facebook page.

Are libraries open?

Yes, all Eastern Regional Libraries are open. To keep everyone safe, visitor caps and social distancing requirements are in place. 

Visit ERL’s website to find out more

 

 

Can I volunteer for meals on wheels delivery?

Yarra Ranges Council is continuing to change and adapt how we support our community in response to the emergency health situation and at this stage we do not have any volunteering vacancies.

Eastern Volunteers have developed a centralised volunteer bank as a direct response to the developing need for volunteers to support the community which is arising out of the current COVID19 situation.

To be placed on the volunteer bank please email recruitment@easternvolunteers.org.au.  

The Victorian Government has also set up a volunteering registration service. More details can be found at https://www.wevolunteer.org.au/

Are the council offices open?

With the easing of restrictions in Metropolitan Melbourne, our community links will reopen on to residents within 25km on:

  • Lilydale - 28 October
  • Healesville - 9 November
  • Monbulk - 9 November
  • Yarra Junction - 16 November
  • Upwey - 16 November

The following COVID safe restrictions will be place :

  • The number of visitors inside the link will be limited at any one time
  • Please wear a facemask
  • Maintain 1.5 metres social distance 

You can contact us by phone on 1300 368 333 or visit our website for access to information and services.

 

Is Council’s Aged & Disability Services operating as usual?

We are currently operating the following services which have been identified as ‘essential’ services for clients who are vulnerable, high needs priority and have no other supports.  Services available are delivered based on recommended ‘social distancing’ and additional safe work practices as follows:

  • Assessment
  • Home Delivery Service (Meals on Wheels and Unaccompanied shopping/delivery)
  • Telephone connection service (social & welfare checks)
  • In-home Services (primarily Personal Care and limited Domestic Assistance)
  • Property Maintenance & Home Modifications (limited to client safety only)

The following services have currently been suspended:

  • Respite Care
  • Social Support Group
  • Social Support Individual (social and accompanied shopping)
  • Transport
  • Volunteer programs & services
  • Healthy & Active Ageing events & forums

For more information you can contact us by phone on 1300 368 333.

 

How can I access home delivery grocery service and meals?

Council’s Aged & Disability Services are currently operating a home delivery service for residents who are vulnerable and have no other supports.  These services include

  • Unaccompanied shopping and delivery
  • Delivered Meals (Meals on Wheels)

For more information you can contact us by phone on 1300 368 333 or visit our website for access to information and services.

NDIS Clients

NDIS clients are eligible for home delivery through Coles, Woolworths, IGA, and Foodworks.  You should have received an SMS or email with a code that can be used at checkout.

To access priority home delivery services:

  1. Complete your shopping online for home delivery with participating supermarket retailers.
  2. When prompted enter your unique priority home delivery code.
  3. Submit your order.

For more information please visit the NDIS website

 

People are not following the social distancing rules, who should I report it to?

If you're concerned about people or businesses breaking the rules please call:

  • DHHS Coronavirus hotline, select option 4: 1800 675 398 (24hrs 7 days a week)
  • Victorian Police non emergencies hotline: 131 444


Will Council make changes to burning off?

We are not looking to further restrict burning off due to COVID-19 at this time. 

We understand the concerns raised by some residents that ‘permitted’ burning off will negatively impact on COVID19 respiratory care due to a reduction in air quality, however we must also consider the impacts of tightening burning off restrictions on fire prevention and fuel reduction. 

We follow the advice of the State Government and their chief medical officers and we have not been advised of any impacts on COVID-19 relating to burning off.  Council will continue to monitor this issue and respond as required. 

I want to help, what can I do?

If you are wondering how you can help others in your community who are doing it tough due to the impact of COVID-19, here is some information you might find useful.

If you'd like to donate

There are many community organisations in the Yarra Ranges that are dedicated to help people in times of need. 

Please look at the list of organisations on our Community Support and Relief page and use their contact details to ask them what they need. Their needs might change week to week but are likely to include:

  • Money
  • Food (eg. non-perishable, food for pets)
  • Toiletries
  • Sanitary items

Please check with the organisation first to ensure your generosity is put to good use.

Animal Aid

Animal aid is small animal welfare charity that supports thousands of lost and surrendered pets each year. They appreciate all donations big and small to help with this work. They do not receive any government funding.

https://animalaid.org.au/donation/
8756 1328

 

If you'd like to volunteer

Eastern Volunteers covers a large part of Melbourne’s eastern region, including Yarra Ranges, and helps place volunteers in many local community organisations.

Eastern Volunteers wants to hear from people who would like to use their time to help others. Contact them for more information about current volunteer opportunities, requirements and to apply.

https://easternvolunteers.org.au/

9870 7822

Where can I dispose of or pick up a sharps container?

Our syringe container collection and disposal is currently not available.

Call us on 1300 368 333 for more information and assistance.

If you find a used syringe/s, needle/s or a yellow SHARPS container that may contain syringes in a public place on council land, please call 1300 368 333 to arrange collection.

For information regarding sharps disposal generated from businesses and commercial use, please visit the EPA’s Website to access the Industrial waste resource guidelines Industrial waste resource guidelines EPA.

There are also fixed sites and pharmacies which participate in the Victorian Government Needle and Syringe Exchange Program, for more information please refer the Department of Health’s website Needle & Syringe Program DHHS VIC.

 

What is a COVID-19 Home Safety Plan?

This plan includes important actions inside the home, such as regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, recognising the symptoms of the coronavirus, and planning for potential illness.

Outside the home, the Plan includes things such as keeping a record of where you have been or who you have seen, wearing a face covering and the COVID Normal steps to keep each other safe as group and gathering sizes gradually increase.

Download the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Home Safety Plan(PDF, 968KB).