Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ's

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. Yarra Ranges is included as part of 30 other local government areas and Mitchell shire in the latest stage 4 restrictions which are effective from August 2 11:59pm for 6 weeks. For a full list of suburbs and areas of inclusion for Yarra Ranges please visit https://profile.id.com.au/yarra-ranges/about

Can I travel within metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire?

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 or study, if you cannot work or study from home 
  • 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 one hour a day.

 

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.

Do I need a permit to drive around Victoria?

No. A permit is not required to travel within Yarra Ranges, other metropolitan Melbourne areas or Mitchell Shire, however you must stay local and use common sense.

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 leave home to pick up a pet. 

If you are picking up a pet you should keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others and practice good hygiene, including washing your hands regularly.  

If you are travelling to outside metropolitan Melbourne, please remember the Stay at Home restrictions travel with you.   

Once you have picked up your pet, you must return home straight afterwards.

You must stay home if unwell.

Are playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment closed?

Yes. Outdoor playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment are closed. It is prohibited to play on outdoor playground equipment in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire and you should not travel outside of this area to do so. As we face increased rates of transmission, outdoor playgrounds represent a risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission because of the number of people using them, the inability to control access and the lack of regular cleaning and disinfection.

Can I undertake outdoor recreational activities like hiking?

Yes. You can leave home for permitted exercise and recreation activities that are outdoors and can be done by yourself, or with one other person. You must exercise within 5km of where you live and for a maximum of one hour, once per day.

You must be able to maintain a 1.5 metre distance and no equipment should be shared. Permitted activities include fishing, boating, surfing, recreational driving, learning to drive or reading in a park.

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

No. From 6pm on Sunday 2 August, you can no longer leave home for recreational activities including fishing, hunting, four wheel driving, motorbike riding, golf, boating, or recreational flying. 

Are swimming pools open?

No. Swimming pools, saunas and spas in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be closed

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

Yes. Essential support groups such as drug and alcohol support groups can continue to operate. These support groups can have no more than 20 people allowed in each separate space, subject to the four-square metre rule, in addition to those required to operate the group or facility.

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

Yes. Hairdressing businesses can operate, the premises must follow the recommendations by the Victorian Government which includes:

  • collecting contact details of customers if case contact tracing is required,
  • social distancing and,
  • implementing appropriate cleaning and disinfecting practices.

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. Stage 4 Stay at Home restrictions means 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. 

Playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor gym equipment are closed for use in accordance with the State Government's COVID-19 restrictions.

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 must be limited to a maximum of one hour, once per day. 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 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)?

Many waste transfer stations are accepting waste however tip shops are closed. Waste transfer stations are privately managed in Yarra Ranges, so it's best to contact your local station directly for opening hours. If you do visit, you must ensure you are at least 1.5 metres from others at all times.

 

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?

Yes, our Sherbrooke Family & Children’s Centre child care is operating as normal. Child care centres are classed as essential services and remain open during the stage 3 restrictions.

If in doubt about your local private centre, please contact them directly.

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?

All libraries and reading rooms are closed as of Thursday 9 July. Home delivery of library items may be available to you. 

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.  


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 operating a limited service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council continues to offer local residents a free syringe container collection and disposal service at specified locations. This service is not available to commercial/business operators, who should contact a medical waste disposal service.

We are now providing sharps container collection and disposal services from the following community links:

  • Lilydale Community Link

    61-65 Anderson Street, Lilydale, 3140 (near Coles)
    Open 8:30am-5pm Mon to Fri & 9am to 12pm Sat

  • Upwey Community Link
    40 Main Street, Upwey, 3158
    Open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri.
  • Yarra Junction Community Link
    2442-2444 Warburton Hwy, Yarra Junction, 3139
    Open 9am-5pm Mon-Fri

Please note our Healesville and Monbulk Community Links are temporarily closed. 

We will only accept used syringes and needles that are safely contained within an approved sharps container, as these items are designated as biologically hazardous and require safe disposal. 

For vulnerable residents (elderly or immunosuppressed) who are quarantined due to COVID-19, please contact our customer support on 1300 368 333.

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.

Please note these services are only available to Yarra Ranges Council residents. 

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.