COVID-19 community update 3 - April 1

 

April 1, 2020

RESTRICTIONS 

  • People over the age of 70 should self-isolate, and only leave home if absolutely necessary;
  • Public gatherings are limited to 2 people – except for your family you live with, and for work;
  • There are only four reasons to be away from home:
  • Shopping for food and essential supplies;
  • Medical care or compassionate needs;
  • Exercise – adhering to social gathering and distancing rules; and
  • Work and education – where working/learning from home is not possible

Police now have the power to issue on-the-spot fines of $1600 to people who don’t adhere to the two-person public gathering limit.
 
STAY INFORMED
Ensuring you have accurate information is essential. The following resources are a great place to start:

  • australia.gov.au contains information about restrictions, financial assistance, community support and health advice;
  • The Coronavirus Australia app can be downloaded to your smartphone via the Apple or Google Play stores;
  • The Australian Government’s Whats App channel provides updates directly from the government. You can download the app here, and subscribe by sending a message to 0400 253 787.

CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES
Figures from the Department of Health and Human Services, correct at 1pm on April 1.

 

SUPPORT IF YOU HAVE LOST YOUR JOB
On Monday, the Federal Government announced a $130-billion JobKeeper initiative, to provide wage subsidies to about 6 million workers. Eligible workers will receive a flat payment of $1500 per fortnight through their employer, before tax.  The payment will be open to eligible businesses that receive a significant financial hit caused by the coronavirus.
 
People who have experienced financial difficulty as a result of the pandemic can also apply for assistance through Centrelink. If you are already receiving a Centrelink payment, you do not need to do anything else to receive the extra financial assistance.
 
Centrelink is encouraging people to visit the myGov website where application forms can be competed online. For assistance with My Gov, contact the MyGov Helpdesk by phone: 132 307.

SUPPORT FOR THOSE SELF-ISOLATING
The Victorian Government has promised to deliver care packages to those self-isolating who don’t have anyone nearby to support them. Please share this information with those who might need assistance and encourage them to call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
I have also called on the government to expand the eligibility criteria for the care packages to ensure our most vulnerable residents have the essentials they need. You can read more about that here.
 
SUPPORT FOR LANDLORDS AND RENTERS
A moratorium has been placed on evictions over the next six months for commercial and residential tenants who are in financial distress and are unable to meet their commitments because of the impact of coronavirus.
 
Commercial tenants, landlords and financial institutions are encouraged to work together to find a way through to ensure businesses survive. More information is available here.
 
I have also called on the Victorian Government to provide land tax credits to property owners who give rent relief to tenants. You can read more about that here.

BUSINESS, HOUSEHOLD AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Previous editions of this update containing information on financial assistance available to households and business can be found here and here.
 
MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
If you are worried about coronavirus and how it is affecting your life or people you love, you are not alone. Make sure you get regular fresh air, exercise as appropriate and keep in touch with family and friends over the phone. There are also a range of services here to help you at this time:

  • Head to Health is a digital mental health service that can link you to trusted Australian online and phone supports, resources and treatment options.
  • Beyond Blue also has some excellent resources to help you through this difficult time – you can find them here.

Please make sure you pass this information on to those who need it most.
 
IF YOU BECOME UNWELL
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, breathing difficulties, cough, sore throat, and fatigue or tiredness. If you suspect that you or someone you know might have coronavirus, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero for medical emergencies.
 
You can also use this symptom checker.

WE’RE HERE TO HELP
As always, we are available to assist in any way we can. Please give my office a call on 5382 0097 or email emma.kealy@parliament.vic.gov.au if you need help to interpret the new directives or have any questions.

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