Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs

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

Is all of Yarra Ranges included in metropolitan Melbourne?

Yes. The entire Yarra Ranges shire is included in metropolitan Melbourne. From 11:59pm on Sunday 13 September First Step restrictions apply in metropolitan Melbourne. For a full list of suburbs and areas of inclusion for Yarra Ranges please visit https://profile.id.com.au/yarra-ranges/about. Council is currently advocating to the State Government for parts of Yarra Ranges to be reclassified as regional. Read more.

Can I travel within metropolitan Melbourne?

You can travel within metropolitan Melbourne if it is for one of the four reasons to leave home:

  • shopping for food or other essential items within 5km of where you live
  • work (if you are classified as a permitted worker and carry the permitted worker permit, the permitted work may be out of your 5km radius) or study (only allowed on-site to study if you are on the permitted list)
  • to provide care giving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
  • for exercise or outdoor recreation within 5km of where you live for no more than two hours a day
  • You are also permitted to leave your principal place of residence for safety reasons – this can be outside your 5km radius
  • A curfew is in place between 9pm and 5am, whereby you cannot leave your home, the premises of your intimate partner, or nominated person (social bubble), except for an emergency, work, care giving, compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

You must wear a face covering when you are leaving your home unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. This means either a face mask or face shield. A face covering needs to be worn covering both your nose and mouth.

  • A face mask is recommended, and includes any paper or textile covering designed or made to be worn over the nose and mouth to protect the wearer. It does not have to be medical grade and you can make your own. There are instructions on how to make a mask on the Department’s website - How to make a mask.
  • If a face mask is not available, other forms of face covering may be used such as a scarf or bandana.

A face shield means any film made from plastic or other transparent material designed or made to be worn like a visor, covering the wearer’s forehead to below the chin area and wrapping around the sides of the wearer’s face, to provide the wearer protection.

How is 5km defined?

From 6pm on 2 August you are not allowed to travel more than 5km from your home for shopping or exercise. You can travel further than 5km from your home for permitted work, medical care and care or compassionate reasons.

The easiest way to work out how far you can travel is to use the tool below. This tool shows the 5km circle that you can travel within for shopping or exercise.

If the nearest location to buy essential goods and services is more than 5km away, then you can leave home to travel there.

Do I need a permit to drive around Victoria?

You may only travel outside of your 5km radius from your principal place of residence if you carry a travel permit for the purposes of permitted work under an approved industry.

The list of permitted workers can be accessed here.

You do not need to carry a travel permit if you are travelling (within or outside your 5km radius) for the purposes of providing care giving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment or safety.

Can I leave home to care for animals located on property other than my place of residence?

Yes, but you should limit travel where you can, travel there directly and return home afterwards.

Please remember that the restrictions travel with you, so you need to abide by the same rules as if you were at home.

If you are unwell, you must stay at home. If you are unable to attend to them, you should consider getting a family member, friend or neighbour who lives near your second property outside metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell to attend to your animals.

You should maintain 1.5 metres physical distancing from others at all times, practice good hygiene, including washing and sanitising hands before and after handling animals, their equipment, bedding or food.

If you know you will be unable to maintain physical distancing from others, it is recommended that you wear a face mask. For more information on face masks visit https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/face-masks-covid-19

Can I leave my property in metropolitan Melbourne to seek veterinary care for my animal?

Yes, seeking care for your animals is a permitted reason for leaving home.

You should stay close to home where possible and it is recommended that you check in with your veterinary clinic ahead of your appointment as clinics are operating with new rules to ensure they meet physical distancing requirements.

If you are unwell, or are in quarantine or isolation, contact your veterinary practitioner by phone for advice on what to do to ensure your animal gets the care it needs. You must not leave home.

 

I live in metropolitan Melbourne, can I pick up a new pet?

Yes. You can only leave your home to collect a pet you purchased prior to the date this clarification was provided by government on 13 August 2020. If you are adopting from an animal shelter or pound, you are not required to have already purchased your pet.

Once you collect your pet, you must return home immediately afterwards. Animal shelters and pounds are open by appointment only. You should contact the location to arrange an appointment and ensure you can follow their processes for reducing the risk of transmitting coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you are picking up a pet you should keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others and practice good hygiene, including washing your hands regularly. You are also required to wear a face covering.

In metropolitan Melbourne, the collection of new pets must not take place during the curfew period from 9pm - 5am.  

You may travel more than 5km from your home to collect a pet, but the travel cannot be unreasonable. As with other necessary goods, it must be the closest practical location. 

Are playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment closed?

Outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gym equipment are open as of 11.59pm on Sunday, 13 September, but skate parks remain closed. Find out more.

Can I undertake outdoor recreational activities like hiking?

Yes. You can leave home for permitted exercise and recreation activities such as hiking, walking, jogging and bike riding that are outdoors and can be done by yourself, with one other person or members of your household. You must exercise within 5km of where you live and for a maximum of two hours per day.

You must be able to maintain a 1.5 metre distance and no equipment should be shared.

Outdoor recreation - including, golf, fishing, hunting, recreational driving, recreational flying, recreational boating and personal watercraft use – are not a permitted reason to leave home.

For more detail about permitted activities please refer to the DHHS website.

Can I take a learner drive for driving lessons within 5km of home?

No. Driving lessons and driving practice are not permitted reasons to leave home at this time.

I live in metropolitan Melbourne – can I go fishing or play golf?

Outdoor recreation – including, golf, fishing, hunting, recreational driving, recreational flying, recreational boating and personal watercraft use – is not a permitted reason to leave home.

Are swimming pools open?

No. Swimming pools, saunas and spas in Yarra Ranges are closed. This includes Common property swimming pools in multi-dwelling apartments must remain closed. Private swimming pools only apply to single family residences.

 

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

Yes. Essential public support services (such as groups related to alcohol and drugs, family violence and parenting) can continue to meet with a maximum of 10 people.

Support groups, such as drug and alcohol support groups, can also continue to meet online.

When support groups are meeting at indoor venues, they are subject to permitted workplaces requirements and must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Support groups must maintain density requirements of one person per four square metres, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less. Those attending the group must maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from others and wear a face covering at all times, unless they have a lawful exception. Where confidentiality is  required, record keeping in not mandatory.

Community-based health services, and alcohol and drug services can also continue face-to-face.

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

No, both retail hairdressers and home based hairdressing salons are closed under the current restrictions.

I live in metropolitan Melbourne – can I still get take away food or drink?

Yes, you can still get take away food or drink but you can only pick it up if it is within 5 km from your home.

 

Can I travel to stay overnight in accommodation?

 No. Under the current Stay at Home restrictions, people in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are not allowed to travel unless it is for work or study (if you cannot do these things from home), caregiving, seeking medical care or to visit your partner. The accommodation operators will need to provide refunds and are eligible to receive assistance through Business Victoria. 

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 within a 5km radius of where you live provided you follow the current physical distancing and public gathering requirements. 

Playgroundsand outdoor gym equipment are open but skateparks remain closed.

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 still visit parks for exercise provided it is within a 5km radius of where you live, exercise and recreation must be limited to two hours per day in total (maximum of two sessions). This includes walking, running, bike riding or other types of exercise, such as yoga in a park 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 within your 5km radius, 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)?

All waste transfer Stations are closed to the public. Most transfer stations will remain open for commercial contractors. Waste transfer stations are privately managed in Yarra Ranges, so it's best to contact your local station directly for opening hours.

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:

  • The Yarra Centre, 2435 Warburton Hwy, Yarra Junction
  • Sherbrooke Family & Children’s Centre, 1443 Burwood Hwy, Upwey
  • The Memo, 235 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville
  • Kilsyth Sports Centre, 123 Liverpool Rd, Kilsyth

 

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.

Book an immunisation session

 

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

Are child care centres open?

Childcare centres are closed except for the care of at-risk children or permitted workers.

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?

From 14 September: Return Chutes will be open 24/7.

From 21 September: Click+Collect services will be available.

Monday 5 October: Online Storytime at 11am every week day.

The digital library is always open – read, listen, watch or learn 24/7.

Postal delivery will remain available to our library community if you need it. If you would like to discuss postal delivery, please contact us. 

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?

Our Community Links at Lilydale (61-65 Anderson Street, near Coles), Yarra Junction and Upwey will remain open. 

The Healesville and Monbulk links are temporarily closed.

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. All of our Community Links are temporarily closed. 

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.