Under NSW Public Health (COVID-19 Gathering Restrictions) Order (No 2) 2021, in effect from 2 June 2021.

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What is the Commonwealth Department of Health advice in relation to resumption of CHSP group services?

The Commonwealth Department of Health as part of the COVID-19 restrictions advised CHSP providers on 23 March 2020 to suspend group services until further notice.

On 21 May 2020 the Commonwealth Department of Health advised CHSP providers that group services could resume with appropriate safeguards in place and in accordance with individual State and territory Public Health Orders. Department of Health Face to Face Advice – COVID-19 update 21 May 2020

Are CHSP group clients determined under the Public Health Order as vulnerable members of the public?

Schedule 2 (14) states a gathering to provide a service to assist vulnerable members of the public, including, for example, a food bank or a service providing for the needs of homeless persons is exempt from ensuring 4 square metres of space per person under Clause 8 (1) (h).

In the interests of minimising risks for CHSP group clients, it is recommended that:

  • CHSP providers ensure that there is 2 square metres of space per person on premises (excluding staff)
  • the restrictions and risk-based approaches described below for general clients in community centres be adopted.

What requirements under the NSW Public Health Order apply to CHSP group services held in community centres?

Under the NSW Public Health (COVID-19 Gathering Restrictions) Order (No 2) 2021, in effect from 2 June 2021:

How many people can participate in a CHSP group at a community centre?

It is recommended that CHSP providers ensure one person per 2 square metres of space participate in group services.

Under [Clause 6 (1)(a)] of the current NSW Public Health Order any person engaged in work on the premises is excluded when calculating both the space available for each person and the number of persons on the premises.

Example – requirements for a room of 100 square metres:

  • The community centre room is 10m x 10m = 100 square metres
  • Divide by 2 (square metres per person) = 50 people
  • Group participants for this room is a maximum of 50 people
  • Staff engaged in work on the premises are not included in the 2 square metre calculation
When calculating the space available for each person on premises, only the areas that are open to the public are to be included in the calculations.

Is a community centre required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan?

Yes, under Clause 10 of the Public Health Order a community centre must have a Gyms and indoor recreation – COVID-19 Safety Plan for how clients and staff will be kept safe. Community centres are listed in Schedule 1 (10) as premises requiring a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Under Clause 10 (a), the occupiers of the premises must develop and comply with a COVID-19 Safety Plan. The Safety Plan must address the COVID-19 safety checklist approved by the Chief Health Officer in relation to the type of premises and published on the NSW Government website.

A copy of the COVID-19 Safety Plan must be kept on the premises and made available for inspection by an authorised officer on request.

What are the requirements for CHSP group services conducted on NSW Health premises?

Schedule 2 (3) of the Public Health Order indicates that restrictions on gatherings at premises do not apply where normal business is being conducted at a hospital, medical or health facility. However, in the interests of minimising risks for vulnerable clients, it is recommended that the restrictions and risk-based approaches described above for community centres be similarly adopted for CHSP group services conducted at a NSW Health facility.

When considering resumption of CHSP group services what precautions should CHSP managers take?

CHSP Managers should, noting client vulnerability and benefits of group attendance, undertake a risk management approach including:

  • prioritising clients according to need
  • screening clients for symptoms or contact with a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19
  • identifying and excluding unwell staff members and clients
  • compliance with the 2 square metres per person rule and maintenance of a distance of at least 1.5 metres per person wherever practical
  • limit attendance by visitors and carers wherever possible
  • promotion of effective hygiene measures and physical distancing
  • infection control procedures (e.g. access to soap and water or hand sanitiser)
  • enhanced environmental cleaning, focusing on regular, frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces and people’s desks/personal work areas in line with the national guidelines for routine environmental cleaning and disinfection in the community
  • infection prevention and control measures for any transport services to and from the group
  • registration/monitoring of the time of attendance, names and contact details of all clients/patients/staff members
  • ensuring appropriate arrangements are in place to protect any vulnerable staff members
  • any other measures considered appropriate based on the risk assessment undertaken by the service
  • considering whether there are alternative ways to run CHSP group services.

What other information is available to guide decisions about resumption of group services?

Additional resources include:

Current as at: Tuesday 8 June 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW