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Information for people with disability

NSW Health has issued Public Health Orders to protect the community and limit the spread of COVID-19. This page explains the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 (the Order).

The terms ‘disability facility’ or ‘aged care facility’ are not defined in the Order. In the absence of a definition, it has its ordinary meaning.

Movement and staying at home

You may only leave your place of residence (such as a group or private home) if you have a reasonable excuse.
A reasonable excuse includes:

  • Accessing social services (social services may include the supports provided to people with disability that enable them to be included in society or live independently, or the activities of disability facilities like ‘day programs’)
  • provide care and assistance (including personal care) to a vulnerable person (such as a person with disability)
  • travelling for work purposes, where you can’t work from your residence (including disability enterprises where that work cannot be done remotely)
  • travelling for the purposes of facilitating attendance at a school, where you cannot learn from your place of residence
  • obtaining food or other essential goods and services
  • obtaining medical care or medicines
  • exercise
  • emergencies or compassionate reasons.
  • See Schedule 1 of the Order for other examples of reasonable excuses.

Gatherings

Do not participate in a gathering in a public place of more than 2 people. Exceptions to this include:

  • a gathering of persons all of whom are members of the same household (meaning any persons living together in the same place of residence – such as a group home)
  • a gathering of persons for the purposes of work (including work at disability facilities)
  • a gathering to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person (such as a person with disability).

Gatherings at disability or aged care facilities

A gathering at a disability or aged care facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facility is exempt from:

  • The 2 person gathering rule (i.e. gatherings in a public place limited to two people, with exceptions)
  • The 500 person rule (i.e. outdoor spaces allowing up to 500 persons to enter or stay on premises at the same time)
  • The 100 person rule (i.e. indoor spaces allowing up to 100 persons to enter or stay on premises at the same time)
  • The 4 square metre rule (i.e. in a place that may remain open to the public, occupiers and operators of the premises must allow at least 4 square metres of space for each person on the premises).

See Schedule 2 of the Order for other exempted gatherings.

Information for disability support providers

Premises

The Order has closed certain premises to the public, such as community facilities. However, the Order does not prevent the use of premises to provide services to assist vulnerable members of the community.

Disability support providers must take steps to prevent, control and manage the individual and public health risks associated with COVID-19 as they deliver supports to people with disability through this time:

  • Providers delivering supports in a person’s home must refer to public health guidelines in the context of group accommodation, supported independent living and residential settings. NDIS registered service providers must also refer to the guidelines published by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission
  • Providers delivering supports in the community must do so in a way that manages the risk of exposure to COVID-19 including by using alternatives to face-to-face service delivery. The NDIA and NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has published advice for providers on some ways to do this
  • NDIS providers must notify the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission of substantial changes to supports as a result of COVID-19. Enquiries to the NDIS Commission can be made via telephone on 1800 035 544.

Centre-based activities for people with disability

The Orders do not prevent the use of premises to provide a service to assist vulnerable people, for example, day activities that assist vulnerable people.

A gathering for the purpose of providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person is exempt from the 2 person gathering rule. The 2 person gathering rule is also only for a public place so would not prevent gatherings in disability facilities.

Similarly, a gathering at a disability facility that is necessary for the normal business of the facility is also exempt from the 2 person gathering rule (and the 500 and 100 person rule and 4 square metre rule).

Find out more

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Current as at: Wednesday 22 April 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW