All disability day programs in NSW are currently suspended. Disability day programs should cease all activities in group settings unless non-attendance at a day program would result in a risk of harm to the person with disability or others. Further information is available on Disability service providers.

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New and returning residents

Until further notice, in relation to new permanent or respite residents and returning residents discharged from hospital:

  • residential disability care facilities should undertake their own risk assessment and screening (for example, temperature testing) of new and returning residents for COVID-19. Depending on the risk assessment, facilities may implement additional infection prevention and control measures on admission/return.
  • admission of new residents from the community, either permanent or respite, can be accepted if the person:
    • has not been in any area where testing or monitoring of symptoms is advised
    • has not had contact with anyone with confirmed, suspected or probable COVID-19
    • is not awaiting a COVID-19 test result
    • does not have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Returning from overseas

Visitors and staff who have been overseas must agree to be tested for COVID-19 two days after leaving hotel quarantine (this does not apply to New Zealand). They must receive a negative test result prior to entry into a facility. This is an additional measure to protect the community. Please read Leaving hotel quarantine for more information.

Service NSW QR codes

Under the Public Health (COVID-19 Safety Order 2021 all staff (including contractors but excluding people entering the premises in response to an emergency) and visitors to residential disability care facilities will need to check-in using the Service NSW QR code app. Residents do not need to check in.

The amended order includes disability group homes where participants receive NDIS Supported Independent Living funding.

Facilities using a commercial app that combines check-in and screening can continue to use the commercial app for screening. However, an additional check-in must be done with the Service NSW QR app.

In addition RDCFs need to continue to screen people entering the facility following the Chief Health Officer advice.

Facilities can find information on setting up a Service NSW QR code here. The Service NSW Business Concierge team can be contacted on 13 77 88 for additional assistance.

Exceptional circumstances

In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible for otherwise excluded visitors to be allowed entry into the facility:

  • on compassionate grounds (for example, imminent death of a loved one)
  • where they are providing essential care.

Similar provisions exist for staff members if their exclusion will result in significant compromise to patient care.

This decision must be based on an assessment of the risk of the individual, and ability of the facility to manage their visit. Visitors and staff with symptoms, or who have been identified as a close contact, should not be exempted. Advice should be sought from your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 as to how to appropriately manage these visits.

Additional COVID-19 measures for staff and facilities

Until further notice, all residential disability care facilities should:

  • minimise staff working across different care facilities. Where ceasing staff movement across facilities is not practical, additional measures should be put in place, such as maintaining records of staff and work locations. Where staff working across multiple facilities poses an unacceptable risk, seek advice from the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, NDIA or MOH-NDIS@health.nsw.gov.au.
  • Staff who have been overseas must agree to be tested for COVID-19 two days after leaving hotel quarantine (this does not apply to New Zealand). They must receive a negative test result prior to working. This is an additional measure to protect the community. Please read Passengers leaving hotels who have completed 14 days of mandatory quarantine for more information.
  • Ensure staff actively monitor residents for symptoms. If staff become aware of a resident with symptoms, that resident should be isolated from others and arrangements made for COVID-19 testing.
  • note that face shields are not accepted as a substitute for masks
  • keep your emergency response plan up to date. Include provisions in your plan to ensure that your facility has:
    • sufficient stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) held on site for both business-as-usual needs and immediate requirements in the event of an outbreak in your facility
    • a designated infection control lead
    • undertaken regular infection control training with all staff
    • regularly visit the NSW COVID-19 website on areas of increased testing
    • provide appropriate guidance to residents about COVID-safe behaviours, including:
      • practicing physical distancing (1.5m)
      • hand hygiene, and
      • face masks- wear a mask if you are in a crowd or a physical space where 1.5 metres cannot be maintained between people.
    • record the details of all organised excursions by residents including location, name of people in the gathering and the date of the visit.

Disability workforce COVID-19 vaccination for areas of concern

From 9 September 2021 under the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order (No 2) disability support workers who live in or work in a local government area of concern must have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. However, these disability care workers can attend work between 9 September and the end of 19 September if the worker has an appointment to receive a COVID vaccine on or before 19 September 2021. These workers can only attend work if they can provide evidence of their appointment.

Disability workers provide disability support services in person to a person with a disability, including services funded or provided under the National Disability Insurance Scheme of the Commonwealth.

Evidence of vaccination or of an appointment to be vaccinated must be carried and provided to an employer, occupier of a place of work, police officer or authorised officer. On very rare occasions, there may be a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination. A COVID-19 medical contraindication certificate is required in this circumstance.

Mandatory mask wearing

  • Under the Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order (No 2) and Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) Order (No 3) 2021 masks must be worn in NSW in all indoor areas other than a person's home. This includes waiting for or using public transport. In the Local Government areas of concern masks must also be worn in all outdoor places including on the street or in a park
  • A staff member or visitor may remove their mask:
    • while communicating with another person who is deaf or hard of hearing
    • if wearing a mask creates a risk to health and safety
    • where clear enunciation or visibility of your mouth is essential
    • when the removal of a face mask is necessary for the provision of a good or service.
  • Anyone removing a mask for one of these reasons should maintain 1.5m distance from others wherever possible.
  • A resident with a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, that makes wearing a mask unsuitable is not required to wear a mask. For example, someone with a skin condition, an intellectual disability, autism or trauma, you are not required to wear a mask.
  • If a person cannot wear a face mask because of a disability, physical or mental health illness or condition, they must carry either
    • a medical certificate or letter signed by a registered health practitioner (such as a doctor) or a registered NDIS provider or
    • a statutory declaration.

Assistance

If you would like more information about this guidance or need assistance about how to manage any specific situation, please contact your local NSW Health Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055.

Further advice

If you need additional advice, see

For more information about NDIS-related issues, including any funding issues relating to compliance with these measures for NDIS participants, contact:

Additional resources

Up to date information about COVID-19 can be found at:

Go back to Advice to residential disability care facilities (RDCF)


Current as at: Sunday 5 September 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW