Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Information

DHHS information on the coronavirus can be found at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

The roadmaps for metropolitan and regional regions and industry restrictions by region are available here: https://www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-roadmaps.

Further information on the roadmap for easing of restrictions is available at the Department of Health and Human Services website here: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19.

For questions on coronavirus, email infectious.diseases@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

Dedicated coronavirus hotline: 1800 675 398.

Safe Campaigning Guidelines

Local Government Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have released updated Safe Campaign Guidelines for the October Local Government elections.

The guidelines now reflect the most current advice from the roadmap to recovery announced on Sunday 6 September.

The guidelines will help candidates understand how to comply with the directions of the Victorian Chief Health Officer, and how to stay safe while campaigning.

With separate advice for candidates in regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne, the guidelines will provide advice for candidates on what campaign activities are permitted in their area.

Metropolitan Melbourne

At 11:59pm on Sunday 13 September, distribution of campaign flyers/material in letterboxes, and the placement of billboards and posters will be allowed in metropolitan Melbourne.

Metropolitan Melbourne - Safe Campaigning Guidelines (PDF, 391.3 KB)

Regional Victoria

At 11:59pm on Sunday 13 September, regional Victoria will move to Step 2 of the recovery roadmap. There are no changes to campaign activities that are currently allowed.

Regional Victoria - Safe Campaigning Guidelines (PDF, 393.2 KB)

Stage 4 Restrictions – Local Government Guidance

From 6 August, Stage 4 restrictions have been in place across the 31 metropolitan Melbourne local government areas to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Under these restrictions, only Permitted Work Premises may operate – and workers should only attend onsite when it is absolutely necessary. Even at Permitted Work Premises, any workers that can work from home, must work from home.

Permitted work premises operating in Stage 4 restricted areas with five or more workers must have a COVIDSafe plan in place – see the Business Victoria website for more information.

Councils

Councils provide important services to their communities. Some of these services can continue operating under Stage 4 restrictions while others must be modified, reduced or temporarily suspended.

Each Council is responsible for making decisions about its services in accordance with the restrictions.

This page provides guidance to councils on how the restrictions apply to different areas of your work. It will be updated as restrictions and directions from the Chief Health Officer change.

DHHS directions

Workplace directions are available on the DHHS website.

All staff not working from home must adhere to the current instructions for hygiene, physical distancing and face coverings. Staff must also carry a valid worker permit with them when travelling to and from work. Further information is available on the DHHS website.

Council Service Guidance under Stage 4

Aged and community care services and in-home care are classified as Permitted Work Premises, including residential care and disability services.

Example - not allowable:                                                                                              

Staff should not be onsite for routine work, like seniors’ group activities.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite for essential work, including in-home domestic assistance and meal delivery, in line with Commonwealth and DHHS service advice. This includes security, cleaning and maintenance (e.g. waste) and environmental health services.

Services connected with animal health, husbandry or welfare, including the RSPCA, are Permitted Work Premises. This includes animal pounds and shelters with no public access.

Example - not allowable:

Staff should not be onsite for open days for adoption of lost or stray animals.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite to do essential work, such as care of animals or picking up lost and stray animals. Councils can facilitate pick-up of adopted or impounded pets on an individual basis.

Councils must administer and enforce the Building Act and regulations in their area. This includes the use of emergency powers where there is a threat to public safety or property.

Where councils issue building permits, inspections are permitted when required onsite for construction.

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite for routine administrative work under the Building Act

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite for essential work to protect life and safety or property. This could include:

  • responding to damage from vehicle impacts, fire or other disasters
  • addressing unsafe or dangerous buildings
  • maintenance of essential safety measures

pool safety barrier compliance

Cleaning, including in public places, is allowed under ‘Administrative and support services’. This includes:

  • building and grounds maintenance, cleaning, pest control and packaging where they support a permitted workplace or are needed to maintain health and safety of the public

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite to clean facilities that are not open to the public, except for emergency maintenance.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite for essential work, like cleaning streets, beaches and high-touch public equipment.

Community inclusion is classified as a Permitted Work Premises, including agencies carrying out essential relief activities such as Neighbourhood Houses.

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite for public classes or for work that can be done from home.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite for essential work, including relief services like food distribution

Community facilities, including sporting pavilions, should be closed. They are a Permitted Work Premises for essential maintenance including sporting ground maintenance. However, maintenance work should be kept to a minimum, and only occur to prevent safety hazards to the public.

Refurbishments and essential surfacing and drainage works that have already started can continue, subject to a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan and the associated reduction in workforce. as detailed in the Construction sector guidance.

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite to allow community access to pavilions.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite to do essential work, such as mowing ovals, inspections, maintenance and repairs to avoid safety hazards to the public.

Corporate services is not included as a permitted workplace for onsite work. This includes:  

  • customer service
  • communications
  • finance
  • information technology
  • human resources

All corporate services must be done remotely from home, unless there is emergency work which requires attendance onsite.

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be in the office for routine work like taking customer service calls.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be in the office for essential tasks that cannot be done from home, such as emergency maintenance of the IT server.

Council depots may need to operate to support emergency maintenance, parks and road work and other permitted activities.

Depots are considered an ancillary and support business. They can open onsite to ensure necessary services for Permitted Work Premises, or for Closed Work Premises where there are safety or environmental obligations. Depots cannot operate for any other purpose.

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite to do work that can be done remotely, such as ordering stock or non-essential activities. No public access should be allowed.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite to do essential work such as urgent machinery repairs and to receive and dispatch goods.

Council managed or owned infrastructure projects can continue in the following circumstances:

  • building and construction (including residential building)
  • construction of critical and essential infrastructure and services to support them
  • critical repairs to any premises are allowed, where required for emergency or safety

Depending on the size of the project there are restrictions which must be adhered to, including limits on the number of workers allowed onsite. These can be found here.

All construction sites are required to have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan and must follow density restrictions of no more than one worker per four square metres in enclosed spaces.

Example - not allowable:

Any projects where the number of workers onsite exceeds the permitted number of workers.

Example - allowable:

Projects currently underway, such as a leisure centre or new community facility that can continue to operate while following construction sector restrictions and guidelines, and adhere to the daily maximum number of workers onsite.

Council meetings are required under the Local Government Act 2020 (the Act) and must continue. Provisions were made under the Act to enable remote council meetings.  

Support and preparation for briefings and meetings should be managed remotely.

If in-person IT or other staff support is needed to host the council meeting or fix problems to allow the council meeting to occur, this support can be provided.

Emergency asset works are a Permitted Work Premises as there would be substantial impacts or risk to the community if not done.

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite for routine work, such as painting and other non-urgent maintenance.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite for essential work, such as swimming pool maintenance to prevent equipment failure.

Under the Emergency Management Manual Victoria, councils have responsibility for coordinating local relief and recovery.

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be in the office for routine work like emergency planning and committee meetings.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite for essential public support services that cannot be done from home, such as setting up an Emergency Relief Centre,  delivering emergency relief services to peoples’ homes or bushfire prevention.

Environmental health is classified as a Permitted Work Premises if the work is essential to protect the health and wellbeing of the community.

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite to investigate nuisance complaints which do not indicate an immediate public health risk.

Example- allowable:

Staff can be onsite for essential work, including:

  • food safety and accommodation inspections for premises that are currently operating
  • nuisance investigations where there is a high possibility of public health risk

infectious disease investigations

Immunisation is classified as a Permitted Work Premises if it is for public and private health services.

Kindergarten and early childhood services are classified as a Permitted Work Premises if the work is:

  • early childhood education and care for Permitted Workers
  • for vulnerable children

This includes Sessional Kindergarten, Long Day Care, Outside School Hours Care, Family Day Care and In-Home Care.

Staff must not be onsite when the service has been ordered to close by DHHS.

Councils must prepare, administer and enforce planning schemes within their areas.

Staff must not be onsite for routine work like administration of the Planning and Environment Act where it can be done remotely.

Library centres, collection services and toy libraries must be closed. Maintenance work can continue if it would create risk or substantially impact the community if not done.

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite to allow community access or to provide ‘click and collect’ services.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite to do essential work, such as emergency IT maintenance to ensure online services continue

Local law enforcement is included under the ‘Public Administration and Safety’ sector and classified as a Permitted Work Premises if the work is for essential or high-risk local law enforcement.

Parking enforcement is not permitted unless it relates to issues of safety and access.

Example- not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite to do routine work which can be followed up and enforced later as required.

Example- allowable:

Staff can be onsite to do essential work, including:

  • Councils are only permitted to enforce essential parking restrictions where these are related to issues of safety and access. For example, vehicles in No Standing Zones blocking access to private property or bus lanes and vehicles without the necessary permit parked in disabled car parks.
  • collecting evidence of kerbside trading that may be contrary to the Chief Health Officer directions
  • enforcement of local laws where there is a risk to the safety of the community
  • responding to reports of animal attacks

Maternal and child health (MCH) is classified as a Permitted Work Premises if the work is for public and private health services.

Example - not allowable:

Group sessions or playgroups must not be conducted onsite.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite for essential work, such as visits for young infants, vulnerable children and urgent or critical family consultations, as per the DHHS MCH guidelines.

Parks, gardens and public facilities maintenance is classified as a Permitted Work Premises if the work is essential for the safety and upkeep of public and recreational spaces, such as parks, gardens and golf courses.

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite for routine work like new landscaping improvements and plantings.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite for work that is essential for the safety and upkeep of public and recreational spaces, including:

  • maintenance and cleaning of public toilets
  • inspection, maintenance and repairs of pathways and shared pathways that are not within road reserves
  • mowing grass
  • inspections of trees, lopping or removing dangerous trees or clearing trees from fire access tracks
  • maintenance of sporting grounds to support community and professional sport

continuing refurbishments and essential surfacing and drainage works that have already started, subject to a COVIDSafe Plan and adhering to the limits on the number of workers allowed onsite (available here).

Public infrastructure maintenance is classified as a Permitted Work Premises if the work is for road or maritime services.

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite for routine work like non-urgent footpath maintenance.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite for essential work, like clearing drains of debris or emergency road works. This includes council responsibilities under the Road Management Act, including inspections, maintenance and repairs.

Waste management and transfer stations are classified as a Permitted Work Premises for waste and resource recovery services, including:

  • collection, treatment and disposal
  • transfer stations for commercial contractors

Example - not allowable:

Staff must not be onsite for routine work such as payment collection or office work that can be done from home.

Example - allowable:

Staff can be onsite for essential work, such as kerbside waste collection, operating waste centres and transfer stations, but they must remain closed to the public.

Local Government Victoria bulletins to Local Government

Please note that all references to the Local Government Bill 2019 now refer to the Local Government Act 2020 that received Royal Assent on 24 March 2020.

16 September - Bulletin 61/2020 - Regional Victoria to move to Third Step of the Roadmap for Reopening

6 September - Bulletin 58/2020 - Reopening Roadmaps Released

21 August - Bulletin 55/2020 - Stage 4 Restrictions - Council Business Guidance

13 August - Bulletin 53/2020 - Enforcement of Local Laws - Parking 

31 July - Bulletin 52/2020 - Safe Campaigning Guidelines Published

22 July - Bulletin 51/2020 - State of Emergency Extended and Face Coverings Made Mandatory

9 July - Bulletin 48/2020 - Updated Directions for COVID-19 Restrictions from 8 July 2020

29 June - Bulletin 46/2020 - Helping Get Local Businesses Safely Back on Their Feet

23 June - Bulletin 45/2020 - Further Changes to Restrictions

4 June - Bulletin 41/2020 - Information from The Chief Health Officer for Local Governments

  • Attachment 1 (Coronavirus Disease COVID-19 CHO Letter to Local Government CEO 3 June 2020)

25 May - Bulletin 39/2020 - Further Easing of Restrictions

15 May - Bulletin 38/2020 - 2020 Local Government General Elections to Proceed as Planned

15 May - Bulletin 37/2020 - Extension of Waste Collection Hours During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

11 May - Bulletin 36/2020 - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Easing of Restrictions

4 May - Bulletin 35/2020 - Landfill Levy Rate Rises Deferred

29 Apr - Bulletin 34/2020 - Ministerial Good Practice Guideline MGPG-1: Virtual Meetings

27 Apr - Bulletin 33/2020 - Planning Matters and Conduct of Council Meetings

23 Apr - Bulletin 32/2020 - Supporting Local Construction Activity

22 Apr - Bulletin 31/2020 - Firewood Collection

17 Apr - Bulletin 29/2020 - Coronavirus COVID-19 – Emergency Food Relief

16 Apr - Bulletin 28/2020 - Council Waste Services, Recycling and Transfer Stations

16 Apr - Bulletin 27/2020 - Bill to Enable Virtual Council Meetings Introduced into Parliament Next Week

9 Apr - Bulletin 26/2020 - Extension for Adoption of Budgets, Strategic Resource Plans and Annual Reports

9 Apr - Bulletin 25/2020 - Update – COVID-19 Beach Closures

6 Apr - Bulletin 24/2020 - Fortnightly Meetings with Sector Representatives

1 Apr - Bulletin 23/2020 - COVID-19 Directions and Workplaces

  • Attachment 1 (Letter to Local Government Chief Executive - COVID-19 Update)

30 Mar - Bulletin 22/2020 - Economic Survival Package to Support Businesses and Jobs

30 Mar - Bulletin 21/2020 - Stage 3 Restrictions

29 Mar - Bulletin 20/2020 - Victorian Beaches

27 Mar - Bulletin 19/2020 - Request for Action – Victorian Beaches

27 Mar - Bulletin 18/2020 - Assisting Healthcare Workers and Patients to Travel

27 Mar - Bulletin 17/2020 - Appropriate Use of PPE for Non-Health Services

  • Attachment 1 (Guidance on The Rational Use of PPE for COVID-19 For Non-Health Services) 

27 Mar - Bulletin 16/2020 - Support of Vulnerable People in Emergencies

26 Mar - Bulletin 15/2020 - Mass Gathering Direction 3 and Non-Essential Business Closure 2 from the Deputy Chief Health Officer

25 Mar - Bulletin 14/2020 - Information for Caravan Park and Camping Ground Owners and Operators on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

23 Mar - Bulletin 12/2020 - Mass Gathering Direction 2 and Non-Essential Business Closure from the Deputy Chief Health Officer

18 Mar - Bulletin 11/2020 - Mass Gathering Directions from the Deputy Chief Health Officer

  • Attachment 1 (Chief Health Officer Direction)

18 Mar - Bulletin 10/2020 - Coronavirus (COVID-19) Transmission Reduction Measures

18 Mar - Bulletin 9/2020 - Council Meetings - Updated

18 Mar - Bulletin 9/2020 - Council Meetings

17 Mar - Bulletin 8/2020 - Direction from the Chief Health Officer

13 Mar - Bulletin 7/2020 - Assisting Supermarkets Respond to Demand

12 Mar - Bulletin 6/2020 - COVID-19

Local Government Victoria is available to provide advice to councils on 1300 764 373 for urgent queries and at lgv.emergencies@delwp.vic.gov.au for all non-urgent queries.

Page last updated: 16/09/20