Last updated: 7 August 2020

Introduction

The State and Territory and Federal Governments have an array of statutory powers that can be exercised in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The key statutes which confer these types of powers for use in the current circumstances are powers that are conferred under various Public Health and Biosecurity statutes.

The majority of the States and Territories have already declared a "public health emergency" in respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, which then provides these Governments with a range of legislative powers to respond to the pandemic. The States and Territories have similar powers under "public health" related legislation, with enables them to restrict movement and require isolation.

Commonwealth powers

At the Federal level, the Government has the capacity to control border access, and has now implemented travel restrictions in respect to all international travel. The Government has also implemented a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period for individuals entering into Australia from any other country.

Under the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cth), the Federal Government has a range of prescribed powers including the capacity to restrict the movement of goods or people in responding to a human biosecurity event.

Under Chapter 8, Part 2 of the Biosecurity Act, the Governor-General has now declared that a human biosecurity emergency exists as a Listed Human Disease is now posing a severe and immediate threat, or is causing harm to human health on a nationally significant scale and the declaration is necessary to prevent or control the spread of the disease. This declaration provides the Health Minister with broad powers to determine any requirement that they consider is necessary to prevent or control the spread of the disease or to implement a recommendation of the World Health Organisation. The requirements that the Health Minister may determine may include (but are not limited to):

  • requirements that apply to persons, goods or conveyances when entering or leaving specified places;
  • requirements that restrict or prevent the movement of persons, goods or conveyances in or between specified places; and
  • requirements for specified places to be evacuated.

During a human biosecurity emergency period, the Health Minister also has a broad power to give directions, including directions to close or prevent access to premises. An individual may commit an offence if they fail to comply with a requirement or direction made by the Health Minister under these provisions and the Biosecurity Act also provides compliance monitoring and enforcement powers

 

ACT: Public Health Emergency declared

Power: Power to declare a public health emergency

The ACT Government has declared and extended an ongoing public health emergency.

Legislative authority:

  • Public Health Act 1997 (ACT), section 119
  • Public  Health  (Emergency) Declaration 2020 (No 1)
  • Public Health (Emergency) Declaration Extension 2020
  • Public Health (Emergency) Declaration Further Extension 2020 (No 1)
  • Public Health (Emergency) Declaration Further Extension 2020 (No 2)

Penalty: N / A

Power: Actions and directions of Chief Health Officer

While an emergency declaration is in force, the Chief Health Officer may take any action, give any direction he or she considers necessary to alleviate the emergency specified in the declaration, including actions or directions relating to:

  • reduction, removal or destruction of any threat to public health;
  • segregation or isolation of any persons in an area;
  • evacuation of any persons from an area;
  • prevention or permission of access to an area; and
  • control of vehicle movement.

The directions the Chief Health Officer may give to a person include:

  • that the person undergoes a medical examination;
  • that the person move away or remain in a specified area;
  • that the person surrender any substance or thing in their possession and control to an authorised person;
  • that the person destroy any substance or thing in their possession and control; and
  • that the person take any other specified action, or cease taking any other specified action.

Legislative authority: Public Health Act 1997 (ACT), section 120.

Penalty: A person must not fail to comply with a direction under section 120 without a reasonable excuse (section 120(3)). Maximum penalty for a person who is not a utility $8,000 (section 120(4))

Power: Powers of authorised persons

While an emergency declaration is in force, an authorised person may for the purposes of section 120:

  • enter any place using reasonable force and assistance as necessary to save a person's life, prevent injury or rescue a person (must present ID if requested);
  • prevent access to a place;
  • close a roadway, path or other thoroughfare;
  • remove a person from a place obstructing the authorised person's exercise of power.

The Chief Health Officer may, by writing, authorise a person, or a person of a specified class, for the purposes of this section (section 121).

Legislative authority: Public Health Act 1997 (ACT), section 121

Penalty: A person must not fail to comply with a direction under section 120 Public Health Act 1997 (ACT) without a reasonable excuse (section 120(3)). Maximum penalty is $8,000 for an individual, $40,500 for a body corporate and $1,620,000 for a utility that is a body corporate.

Direction: Restriction on outdoor gatherings

From 19 March 2020:

  • a person who owns or operates premises in the ACT must not allow an outdoor gathering of greater than 500 people to occur on the premises; and
  • a person must not organise an outdoor gathering of greater than 500 people on premises in the ACT.

"Outdoor gathering" means a gathering of 500 or more persons in a single undivided space at the same time in an outdoor space.

This is subject to exceptions including airports, health facilities, public transport, emergency services, prisons and correctional facilities, courts and tribunals, the Legislative Assembly and Parliament, supermarkets and other stores, offices, schools and educational institutions, hotels and other accommodation.

Legislative authority: Public Health (Indoor gatherings) Emergency Direction 2020

Penalty: A person must not fail to comply with a direction under section 120 of the Public Health Act 1997 (ACT) without a reasonable excuse (section 120(3)). Maximum penalty is $8,000 for an individual, $40,500 for a body corporate and $1,620,000 for a utility that is a body corporate.

Direction: Restriction on returned overseas travellers

All persons (other than diplomatic visa holders) entering the ACT following a flight that originated from a place outside Australia (other than New Zealand) are subject to mandatory quarantine. There are a number of exceptions, including members of an international flight crew, air ambulance or medvac crew who will be subject to self-quarantine and children who have travelled unaccompanied who will be subject to supervised home quarantine instead.

Further information can be found here: Public Health (Returned Travellers) Emergency Direction 2020 (No 6).

Direction: Restriction on interstate travellers

A person who has been in Victoria at any time in the previous 14 days, excluding a person who is ordinarily a resident of the ACT, must not enter the ACT unless they fall within an exception. An ordinary resident of the ACT may enter the territory, however they will be required to notify ACT Health prior to their entry and then quarantine in the designated premises. 

Further information can be found here: Public Health (COVID-19 Interstate Travellers) Emergency Direction 2020 (No 3).

A person who has been in a COVID-19 hotspot on one of the dates specified in the table below must travel immediately to a designated premises to undertake a period of quarantine.

  • Batemans Bay: Soldiers Club – Monday 13 July 2020; and Wednesday 15 July 2020 to Friday 17 July 2020
  • Casula: Crossroads Hotel – Friday 3 July to Friday 10 July 2020
  • Casula: Planet Fitness – Saturday 4 July to Friday 10 July 2020
  • Picton: Picton Hotel – Saturday 4 July 2020,Sunday 5 July 2020, Thursday 9 July 2020; and Friday 10 July 2020

Further information can be found here: Public Health (COVID-19 Interstate Hotspots) Emergency Direction 2020 (No 5).

Direction: Restriction on gatherings, business or undertaking

The current restrictions are as follows:

  • Public gatherings (excluding the hospitality sector) are permitted for up to 100 people (one person per 4 sq metres) for each indoor and outdoor space.
  • For the hospitality sector (cafés, restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs) gatherings will be set at 100 people for each indoor or outdoor space, or one person per 4 square metres, whichever is lesser.
  • Full contact sporting competition, including dance and martial arts may commence, subject to restrictions.

Further information can be found here: Public Health (Restricted Activities - Gatherings, Business or Undertakings) Emergency Direction 2020 (No 5).

A person must not enter or remain on the premises of a residential aged care facility unless they fall within an exempt category of persons. An aged care residential facility must take all reasonable steps to ensure persons do not enter or remain on the premises in accordance with the Minister's directions.

Further information can be found here: Public Health (Residential Aged Care Facilities) Emergency Direction 2020 (No 3).

Direction: Public Health (Self-Isolation) Emergency Direction 2020 (No 2)

Persons who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are notified by ACT Health that they are a close contact of a person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 must adhere to self-isolation directions concerning location of isolation, travel to a premises for the purpose of isolation, communication of their diagnosis and complying with requests from authorised persons as to proof of identification.  Clearance from self-isolation can only be given by an authorised medical officer.

Further information can be found here.

NSW: Public Health COVID-19 Orders issued

Power: Power to deal with health risks generally

Where the Minister for Health considers on reasonable grounds that a situation has arisen that is, or is likely to be a risk to public health the Minister may take any action and may by order give any directions as the Minister "considers necessary to deal with the risk and its possible consequences".

An order may also specify any part of NSW to be a "public health risk area" and may contain any directions considered necessary by the Minister to:

  • reduce or remove the risk;
  • segregate or isolate the inhabitants; and
  • prevent access to the area.

Legislative authority: Public Health Act 2010 (NSW), section 7

Penalty: A person who is subject to a direction under section 7 and has notice of the direction must not fail to comply with it without reasonable excuse (section 10).

For individuals, maximum penalty of imprisonment for 6 months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues.

Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.

Direction: Restrictions on gatherings and use of premises

From 21 March 2020 until 18 June 2020, a person must not:

If the person is the occupier or operator of premises in New South Wales:

  • allow a mass gathering to occur on the premises; or
  • allow another gathering to occur on the premises unless the size of the premises is sufficient to ensure there is 4 square metres of space for each person of the premises;
  • organise a mass gathering on premises in New South Wales; or
  • attend a mass gathering on premises in New South Wales.

The Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) defines the occupier of premises or a part of premises to mean the "owner of the premises or part of premises or if any other person is entitled to occupy the premises or part to the exclusion of the owner, that person".

This is subject to exceptions including airports, health facilities, public transport, emergency services, prisons and correctional facilities, courts and tribunals, Parliament supermarkets and other stores, offices, schools and educational institutions, hotels and other accommodation and outdoor areas where 500 or more people may be transiting.

From 23 March 2020, the Minister for Health and Medical Research has directed that the following must not be open to members of the public except as provided:

  • pubs, registered clubs and food and drink premises, except for the purposes of:
    • selling takeaway food and beverages;
    • if the premises include hotel or motel accommodation, providing food and beverages to persons using that accommodation in their rooms;
  • entertainment facilities and amusement centres;
  • casinos, except if the premises include hotel or motel accommodation, providing that accommodation, including providing food and beverages to persons using that accommodation in their rooms;
  • recreation facilities; and
  • places of public worship, except for the purposes of conducting weddings and funerals.

Legislative authority: Public Health (Places of Social Gathering) Order 2020 (NSW)

Penalty:

A person who is subject to a direction under section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) and has notice of the direction must not fail to comply with it without reasonable excuse (section 10).

For individuals, maximum penalty of imprisonment for 6 months or a fine of up to $11,000 (or both) plus a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues.

Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.

From 1 July 2020 the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) 2020 directs limitations on gatherings, use of non-residential and residential premises and community sporting activities. Key directions are outlined below:

  • Non-residential premises: New South Wales occupiers must not allow persons on the premises if the size of their premises is insufficient to ensure there is at least 4 square metres of space for each person on the premises. A number of non-residential premises are exempted from this requirement.
    • Certain premises are required to develop, comply and keep a copy on site of a COVID-19 Safety Plan.A list of occupiers required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan is outlined at Schedule 1 of the Public Health Order.NSW pubs are required to register their COVID-19 Safety Plan with the NSW Government from 18 July 2020.
    • Pubs: From 17 July 2020, NSW pubs can only have the lesser of 300 persons or the number of persons that is equivalent to one person per 4 square metres of space in the premises. Individual groups in a pub can only have a maximum of 10 people. Contact details for each person in the pub must be collected (rather than the contact details of just one person in a group).
  • Residential premises: Each adult member of a household must not allow more than 20 visitors to be at the place of residence of the household at any one time. Exemptions apply in relation to weddings, funerals, memorial services and gatherings following those events.
  • Outdoor gatherings: People can participate in outdoor public gatherings of not more than 20 people.
  • Working from home: NSW employers must allow an employee to work at the employee’s place of residence if it is reasonably practicable to do so.
  • Other exemptions: Directions regarding community sporting activities, holiday homes and short-term rentals, nightclubs and music festival have also been updated in this PHO.

The directions were amended on:

  • 23 July 2020 to introduce a mandatory requirement for specified premises to develop and comply with a COVID-19 Safety Plan and outlines other requirements for gatherings at specified premises and in relation to significant events such as weddings and funerals;
  • 31 July 2020 to require gymnasiums (that is, indoor recreation facilities excluding dance, yoga, Pilates, gymnastics or martial arts studios) to register with the NSW Government as a COVID-19 Safe business, and have a COVID-19 Safety Hygiene Marshal on the premises if open.The amendment also clarifies the 4 square metre rule does not apply to a vessel used for commercial tours for scuba diving, snorkelling or whale, dolphin or marine animal watching.

Exemptions to the directions are currently in place for operators of (non-commercial) recreational vessels where all person on the vessel are members of the same household or where a physical distance of 1.5 metres can be maintained, ski resorts, and netball associations. 

Further information can be found here: Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) 2020

Direction: Persons who in the last 14 days have been in Victoria

From 8 July 2020, the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020 requires people entering NSW generally to obtain an entry permit and comply with the conditions on the permit or specific conditions in the order (eg. returning NSW residents have to self-isolate).

An exemption applies to allow NSW residents to enter NSW without a permit and without requiring self-isolation where:

  • the only location in Victoria the resident has been is Melbourne Tullamarine Airport or Avalon Airport;
  • the person entered Victoria on the Spirit of Tasmania and travelled directly from the port to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport or Avalon Airport or the NSW border; or
  • the person has completed 14 days of quarantine in Victoria after arriving from overseas and has travelled directly to the NSW after completing that quarantine and has documentary evidence by, or on behalf of, the Victorian Government to indicate that the person has completed their quarantine period.

Applications can also be made to NSW Health for a Compassionate Permit, however such permits to enter NSW from Victoria are only granted in very limited circumstances.

An exemption exists for persons living in or near selected remote communities to cross the border in order to obtain essential services. A list of communities and conditions is outlined in Exemption - Remote Communities to the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020.

Further information can be found in the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020

Direction: Restrictions on entering and remaining on residential aged care facility premises

From 23 June 2020, the Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order (No 2) 2020 amended the previous Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order, easing some of the restrictions in relation to visitors.

Persons are not to enter and remain on residential aged care facility premises unless they are of a category of persons outlined in the order (eg. employee of the facility or providing goods or services necessary for operation of the facility).  Those persons permitted to attend the facility are not permitted to enter if they arrived from outside of Australia in the prior 14 days to the proposed entry, had contact with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19, have a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees or acute respiratory infection symptoms or, do not have an up-to-date influenza vaccination (some exemptions apply in relation to influenza vaccination).

Further information can be found here Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order (No 2) 2020

Direction: Spitting and coughing

From 9 April 2020, the Public Health (COVID-19 Spitting and Coughing) Order 2020 directs that a person must not intentionally spit at or cough on public officials or other workers in a way that is reasonably likely to cause fear about the spread of COVID-19.

On 20 April 2020 the Spitting and Coughing Order was amended to allow for the issue of penalty notices for contraventions of the order.  $5,000 fines can be issued if a person is found to have breached the Order.

Further information can be found here

Direction: Quarantine, air transportation, maritime

From 25 June 2020 the:

  • Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 2) 2020 as amended by Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation and Maritime Quarantine) Amendment Order (No 2) directs a person who arrives in NSW by aircraft and has been in a country other than Australia within 14 days before that arrival to undertake mandatory quarantine for a period of up to 24 days.

Where the Chief Health Officer is satisfied that the person does not pose a risk of infecting another person with COVID-19 the quarantine period may end at any time after 14 days.

Quarantine requirements differ for flight crews of the aircraft including by waiving the quarantine period in circumstances where flight crew members attend another flight that leaves NSW. 

  • Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 2) 2020 as amended by Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation and Maritime Quarantine) Amendment Order (No 2) directs that a person who arrives in NSW on a vessel that has come from a port outside of NSW not to disembark from the vessel unless authorised by the Commissioner of Police or because of an emergency, and once authorised to disembark must do go directly to a quarantine facility, hospital or other medical facility to undertake a 24 day quarantine period.The quarantine period stars a person disembarks the vessel.

Where the Chief Health Officer is satisfied that the person does not pose a risk of infecting another person with COVID-19 the quarantine period may end at any time after 14 days. 

Crew members are permitted to disembark the vessel to undertake essential tasks, and specified authorised persons can board the vessel to perform additional functions

Further information can be found here Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order (No 2) 2020 and Public Health (COVID-19 Maritime Quarantine) Order (No 2) 2020

Direction: Self-isolation 

From 23 July 2020 the Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) 2020 directs that a person diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-isolate in their residence or other suitable location until medically cleared and comply with the self isolation guidelines.

This direction also requires that close contacts of persons diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-isolate for the period of time, not exceeding 14 days, as determined by an authorised contact tracer.

The NSW Health website provides self isolation guidelines for:

Further information can be found here: Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) 2020 and https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/isolation-guidelines.aspx (Self-Isolation Guidelines)

Direction: Lord Howe Island

From 18 June 2020, the restrictions on access on leaving Lord Howe Island and self-isolation requirements have changed by amendment to the Public Health (COVID-19 Lord Howe Island) Order (No 2) 2020.

Lord Howe Island is declared to be a public health risk area by the NSW Government.  Access to the island is therefore restricted to certain persons (eg. such as residents and persons requires to provide support, health services and other essential services).  Quarantine requirements apply to persons who arrive on the island. 

Further information can be found here Public Health (COVID-19 Lord Howe Island) Order (No 2) 2020.

Penalties for breaching public health orders

Individuals and corporations can be convicted and charged for non-compliance with NSW public health orders. 

Individuals can be imprisoned for up to 6 months and or receive a penalty of up to $11,000 with a further $5,500 fine each day the offence continues.

Corporations that fail to comply with a direction are liable to a fine of $55,000 and $27,500 each day the offence continues.

On the spot fines can also be issued:

  • amount of $4,000 for a breach of clause 6 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020 – failing to provide or falsifying information to an enforcement officer
  • an amount of $5000 for a breach of the Public Health (COVID-19 Spitting and Coughing) Order (No 2) 2020
  • and $1,000 in other cases.

Northern Territory: Public Health Emergency declared

Power: Power to declare a public health emergency

The Minister for Health may, in writing, declare a public health emergency if the Minister is satisfied:

  • circumstances of such seriousness and urgency exist that are, or threaten to cause, an immediate serious public health risk; and
  • after consulting the chairperson, as defined in section 8 of the Emergency Management Act 2013 (NT), of the Territory Emergency Management Council:
    • a state of disaster or state of emergency has not been declared under the Emergency Management Act 2013 because of the circumstances; and
    • it is not appropriate to declare a state of disaster or state of emergency under the Act.

An emergency declaration must:

  • state the nature of the emergency;
  • state where in the NT the declaration has effect;
  • state the period the declaration is in effect for.

A declaration can be made for a period of no more than 5 days. The Minister can extend this period by one or more further periods, each not over 5 days.

The Minister for Health declared a Public Health Emergency on 18 March 2020 which was extended on 20 March 2020.

Legislative authority:

  • Public and Environmental Health Act 2011, section 48
  • Declaration of Public Health Emergency on 18 March 2020
  • Extension of Operation of Declaration of Public Health Emergency on 20 March 2020

Penalty: N / A

Power: Powers of the Chief Health Officer

If an emergency declaration is in force, the Chief Health Officer may take actions (including giving oral or written directions) that they consider necessary, appropriate or desirable to alleviate the public health emergency.

These actions include any of the following:

  • reducing, removing or destroying the public health risk causing or threatening to cause the emergency;
  • issuing warnings;
  • isolating or segregating persons in an area or place;
  • evacuating persons from an area;
  • preventing persons from accessing an area;
  • controlling vehicle movement.

These directions include any of the following:

  • requiring a person to undergo a medical examination;
  • requiring a person to remain in or move from an area place;
  • requiring a stated thing to be seized or destroyed; and
  • requiring a state person to give oral or written information in relation to the emergency.

Legislative authority: Public and Environmental Health Act 2011 (NT), section 51-52

Penalty:

Under the Public and Environmental Health Act 2011 (NT), a person commits an offence if they contravene a declaration or direction made by the Chief Health Officer, without a reasonable excuse (section 56).

Fault elements to be satisfied:

  • the person intentionally engages in the conduct; and
  • is reckless as to whether the conduct would result in a contravention.

Maximum penalty $62,800.

Power: Appointment of authorised officers and powers of authorised officers

While an emergency declaration is in force, the Chief Health Officer may appoint or direct authorised officers for the purpose of assisting the Chief Health Officer in exercising his or her powers in relation to the emergency declaration.

An authorised officer assisting the Chief Health Officer may use force that is reasonable and necessary to do any of the following:

  • enter a place to save human life, prevent injury to a person, rescue an injured or endangered person;
  • prevent entry into or close off an area or place;
  • remove a person from an area or place;
  • search for or seize a thing;
  • search for, examine, copy, remove and retain documents relating to the emergency for as long as is reasonably necessary to make copies of the documents.

An authorised officer:

  • may take action at any time of day;
  • is not required to give notice to any person of the officer's intention to take action;
  • is not required to obtain consent to take action from any person concerned or the owner / occupier of an area or place;
  • is not required to hold a warrant or other form of authorisation required under NT law to enter or remain at any place (including Aboriginal land), or search any person or place concerned.

Legislative authority: Public and Environmental Health Act 2011 (NT), section 53

Penalty:

  • Under the Public and Environmental Health Act 2011 (NT), a person commits an offence if they contravene a declaration or direction made by the Chief Health Officer, without a reasonable excuse (section 56).
  • Fault elements to be satisfied:
  • the person intentionally engages in the conduct; and
  • is reckless as to whether the conduct would result in a contravention.
  • Maximum penalty $62,800

Direction: Restrictions on crew of commercial vessels

Crew members of commercial vessels entering the NT will be required to submit, at the place of entry, to a screening procedure for COVID-19. Crew members will also be required to declare information pertaining to their intended place of stay, contact details, whether they have entered a COVID-19 hotspot and other information.

Further information can be found here: COVID-19 Directions (No. 46) 2020 – Commercial Vessels – Crew Directions

Direction: Restrictions on entering the Territory

Every person entering the Territory must submit, at the place of entry, to a screening procedure and declare information including, their location during the past 28 days and whether they have been to a COVID-19 hotspot in the past 14 days. Persons who have been to a COVID-19 hotspot in the past 14 days will be required to quarantine for 14 days in a specified location and undergo testing.

Further information can be found here: COVID-19 Directions (No. 45) 2020 and (No. 47) – Directions for Territory Border Restrictions

Direction: Restrictions on entering aged care facilities

A person must not enter or remain on the premises of an aged care facility unless the person falls within an exempt category of persons. The proprietor of an aged care facility must take all reasonable steps to ensure that an unauthorised person does not enter or remain on the premises of the facility.

Further information can be found here: COVID-19 Directions (No. 40) 2020 – Directions for Aged Care Facilities

Direction: Restrictions on major public events

Any major public event that is expected to have more than 500 people in attendance must complete and have approved a COVID-19 event safety plan.

Further information can be found here: COVID-19 Directions (No. 39) 2020 – Directions for Major Public Events

Direction: Safety measures at reopened places, businesses, activities, services and premises

Places, businesses, activities, services or premises which were previously required to close to the public may now reopen or resume activity. However, they will be required to complete a COVID-19 safety plan and ensure that they provide hand sanitiser, display the required signage and ensure social distancing practices are followed.

Further information can be found here: COVID-19 Directions (No. 36) 2020 – Directions for Safety Measures at Reopened Places, Businesses, Activities, Services and Premises

Direction: restrictions on potentially infected persons

Where a person is notified by a medical officer that they suspect the person is infected with COVID-19, or knows that the person has been in close contact with a person whom the medical officer knows or suspects on reasonable ground is infected with COVID-19, they will be required to submit to testing and remain isolated until they are permitted to leave.

Further information can be found here: COVID-19 Directions (No. 21) 2020 – Directions for Potentially Infected Persons

Direction: restrictions on infected persons

Where a person is notified by an authorised officer or health practitioner that they are infected with COVID-19, they must travel directly to the specified hospital or place for medical treatment and remain isolated until permission is granted by the relevant authority.

Further information can be found here: COVID-19 Directions (No. 7) 2020 – Directions for Infected Persons

Direction: assistance of police officer

Authorised police officers must assist the Chief Health Officer to ensure compliance with the directions that are made in relation to the public health emergency.

Further information can be found here: COVID-19 Directions (No. 5) 2020 – Directions for Assistance of Police Officers

Queensland: Public Health Emergency declared

Power: Power to declare a public health emergency

The Health Minister can declare a public health emergency for a period of 7 days.

A Public Health Emergency Declaration can be extended for up to 90 days.

The Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) does not provide for the declaration of a state of emergency in response to a public health emergency, however emergency measures may be enacted following a public health emergency declaration.

The Queensland Health Minister declared a public health emergency on 29 January 2020. The public health emergency has been extended until 17 August 2020. The public health emergency declaration allows the Queensland Government to give effect to the Federal Government’s containment measures.

The Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 (Qld) does not apply to health pandemics.

Legislative authority:

Public Health Act 2005 (Qld), sections 319, 322 and 323

Public Health (Further Extension of Declared Public Health Emergency – COVID-19) Regulation (No. 3) 2020

Power: Act to amend functions of Parliament

On 19 March 2020, the Queensland Parliament passed the Public Health and Other Legislation (Public Health Emergency) Amendment Act 2020.

The Bill:

  • amends the Queensland constitution to allow meetings of the Executive Council to be held remotely; and
  • amends the Electoral Act 1992 (Qld) to allow the postponing or suspension of council election and by-elections, allow for voting to take place electronically and extend postal vote return dates.

Legislative authority: Public Health and Other Legislation (Public Health Emergency) Amendment Act 2020

Power: Appointment of emergency officers

The Chief Executive may appoint the following persons as “emergency officers” for declared public health emergencies:

  • public service officers or employees;
  • health service employees;
  • persons employed by local government;
  • SES members; and
  • any person prescribed under a regulation.

The Chief Executive may appoint doctors as “emergency officers (medical)” if they are:

  • public service officers or employees;
  • health service employees; or
  • other persons prescribed under a regulation.

Legislative authority: Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) sections 333 and 335

Power: Emergency Powers

An emergency officer responding to a declared public health emergency may do any of the following the emergency officer reasonably believes is necessary to respond to the declared public health emergency:

  • require a person not to enter or not to remain within a place;
  • require a person to stop using a place for a stated purpose;
  • require a person to go to a stated place;
  • require a person to stay at or in a stated place;
  • require a person to take measures to remove from the person a substance that is   a hazard to human health, for example, by showering;
  • direct the movement of a person, animal or a vehicle into, out of, or around the    public health emergency area;
  • require a person to state the person’s name and residential address;
  • require a person to answer questions by the emergency officer;
  • clean or disinfect a place, structure or thing;
  • carry out insect or pest control;
  • demolish stated structures or other property;
  • contain an animal, substance or thing within the public health emergency area;
  • remove an animal, substance or thing from a place;
  • destroy animals at a place or remove animals from a place for destruction at another place;
  • dispose of an animal, substance or thing at a place, for example, by burying the animal, substance or thing;
  • take action in relation to property including, for example, to allow the officer to take   control of a building for the purposes of the emergency;
  • require a person to give the emergency officer reasonable help to exercise the   emergency officer’s powers under paragraphs (i) to (p).

Legislative authority: Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) section 345

Penalty: Failure to comply with the powers listed from a) to h) without a reasonable excuse has a maximum penalty of $13,345 (Public Health Act, section 346)

Power: Extra Powers of Emergency Officers (Medical) – Detention Orders

Emergency Officers (Medical) may order detention of a person during a declared public health emergency for a period of 14 days.

Before enforcing a detention order against a person, an emergency officer (medical) must give the person the opportunity of voluntarily complying with the detention order.

The emergency officer (medical) may apply to a magistrate to extend a detention order.

Legislative authority: Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) sections 349 – 355, 360

Penalty: A person to whom a detention order applies must comply with the order. The penalty for failing to comply with a detention order is $26,690 (Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) section 351(4)).

Power to make regulations and instruments

The COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (Qld) came into effect on 23 April 2020.

The Act provides for 'additional regulation-making provisions' relevant to powers under other relevant Acts. These provisions include:

  • Power to vary a requirement to attend a place or meeting
  • Power to vary a requirement regarding the signing of documents
  • Power to modify statutory time limits
  • Power to vary time limits and the way in which proceedings are conducted

Legislative authority: COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 (Qld) sections 8, 9, 13, 15, 17

Directions issued by the Chief Health OfficerBorder restrictions Direction (No. 9) – effective from 27 July 2020

Queensland has now opened its borders, though restrictions have been introduced for persons who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot in the 14 days prior to entering Queensland (unless an exception applies). Information regarding declared COVID-19 hotspots is available on the Queensland government website.

The Direction requires persons entering or proposing to enter Queensland from another State or Territory (unless an exemption applies) to:

  • Provide a valid Queensland Border Declaration Pass;
  • Undertake to present for a COVID-19 test if the person develops 'symptoms consistent with COVID-19'; and
  • Comply with the undertaking while present in Queensland.

Restrictions have been tightened such that people who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot within the last 14 days will not be able to quarantine in Queensland and will be turned away at the border.  Limited exceptions apply, such as people required for essential activities.

For Queensland residents who have been in a COVID-19 hotspot, they are able to return home however must quarantine in a government provided accommodation at their own expense. 

Further details can be found here: Border Restrictions Direction (No. 9)  

Movement and Gathering Direction (No. 2) – effective from 3 July 2020

Requirements for gatherings now include the following:

  • Outdoor gatherings are permitted up to a maximum of 100 people;
  • A maximum of 100 people may gather at a residence (with some exceptions); and
  • A person who owns, controls or operates premises other than a residence must not organise a gathering to occur on the premises.

Further details can be found here: Movement and Gathering Direction (No. 2).

Restrictions on Business, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 5) – effective from 24 July 2020

This Direction reinstates the restriction for businesses to ensure all dining and drinking is for seated patrons, and provide clarity for event organisers.

From 24 July 2020:

  • All patrons in food and drink venues must be seated when eating or drinking. You can still order, pay or collect food and drinks at the bar or service counter, but you'll need to pull up a chair to drink and eat.
  • Events may operate in compliance with an Approved Industry or Site Specific Plan, in addition to a COVID SAFE Event Plan. If more than 500 people will be attending an event operating under an Industry or Site Specific Plan, the organiser must tell the local public health unit at least 10 business days before the event taking place

Restrictions relating to physical distancing continue to apply.  Such restrictions include:

  • if the venue or space is:
    • less than 200 square metres – ensure that the occupation density is no more than one person per 2 square metres; or
    • more than 200 square metres – ensure that the occupation density is no more than one person per 4 square metres;
  • operate the business, activity or undertaking un accordance with the 'COVID SAFE Framework' (which may require businesses to submit an Approved Plan); and
  • keep information about all guests and staff for contract tracing purposes for 56 days.

Different restrictions and allowances will apply to different categories of businesses.

Further details can be found here: Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction (No. 5)

Aged Care Direction (No. 8) – effective from 30 July 2020

This Direction manages the contact between residents and non-residents of residential aged care facilities in Queensland.

All residential aged care facility operators, no matter where they are located:

  • Must have a workforce management plan in place that makes it mandatory for employees to:
    • Tell their residential aged care facility employer of any other places of employment
    • Tell their residential aged care facility employer if a COVID-19 case is identified at their other workplace.

Due to recently announced cases in Queensland extra restrictions in relation to visitation have now been put in place for residential aged care facilities in Metro South and neighbouring suburbs in the West Moreton region.

A list of suburbs that are classified as ‘restricted areas’ by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer can be found here

Restrictions on visitation to aged care facilities that are not within a restricted area have been eased.  This direction allows:

  • visitation from up to two visitors at a time, with no limit of the number of visits allowed in a day or the length of each visit
  • visitation from service providers such as allied health and hairdressers; and
  • an expanded list of reasons that a resident can leave the aged care facility.

Further details can be found here: Aged Care Direction (No. 8)

Hospital Visitors Direction (No. 5) – effective from 10 July 2020

This Direction manages visits to hospitals in Queensland. Restrictions include:

  • Hospital visits (other than end of life visits) are limited to two visitors at a time; and
  • Certain persons must not enter a hospital in Queensland (including persons who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or persons who have, in the past 14 days, been outside Australia).

Further details can be found here: Hospital Visitors Direction (No. 5).

Self-quarantine for Persons Arriving in Queensland from Overseas Direction (No. 5) – effective from 8 July 2020

Persons arriving in Queensland from overseas must self-quarantine in a nominated premises for 14 days. Persons required to self-quarantine:

  • must travel directly from their port of disembarkation to the nominated premises;
  • must not leave the nominated premises for 14 days, except for specified reasons (eg. to obtain essential medical care);
  • must not permit any other person to enter the nominated premises, except for specified reasons (eg. the other person is providing emergency or medical care).

Certain persons may quarantine outside nominated premises, including unaccompanied minors and air crew.

Further details can be found here: Self-quarantine for Persons Arriving in Queensland from Overseas Direction (No. 5).

Restricting Cruise Ships from Entering Queensland Waters Direction (No. 2) – effective from 11 June 2020

The operator of a foreign flagged cruise ship must not allow the ship to enter Queensland waters unless permitted under the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Emergency Requirements for Cruise Ships) Determination 2020 (Cth).

Further details can be found here: Restricting Cruise Ships from Entering Queensland Waters Direction No. 2).

Self-isolation for Diagnosed Cases of COVID-19 Direction (No. 3) – effective from 19 May 2020

Persons diagnosed with COVID-19 are required to self-isolate. Persons must not leave the premises except for permitted reasons (eg. to obtain essential medical care).

Clearance from self-isolation is given at the earliest of the following:

  • 14 days after diagnosis;
  • 14 days after the issue of any further direction given to the person;
  • if a registered nurse or medical practitioner from a treating Hospital and Health Service certifies that the person has met the 'release from isolation' criteria.

Further details can be found here: Self-isolation for Diagnosed Cases of COVID-19 Direction (No. 3).

Protecting Public Officials and Workers (Spitting, Coughing and Sneezing) Direction (No. 3) – effective from 15 May 2020

A person must not intentionally spit at, cough or sneeze on, or threaten to spit at or cough or sneeze on a public official or another worker who is either at work or travelling to their place of work in a way that would be reasonably likely to cause apprehension or fear of being exposed to COVID-19.

Further details can be found here: Protecting Public Officials and Workers (Spitting, Coughing and Sneezing) Direction (No. 3).

Seasonal Workers Health Management Plans Direction – effective from 1 May 2020

Certain prescribed businesses must have a health management plan and operate the business in accordance with the health management plan. The Chief Health Officer may give a person or class of persons an exemption from this requirement.

Further details can be found here: Seasonal Workers Health Management Plans Direction.

Point of Care Serology Tests Direction – effective from 23 April 2020

A person must not use a point of care serological test to detect or diagnose COVID-19 unless permitted by this Direction.

Further details can be found here: Point of Care Serology Tests Direction.

Prescribing, Dispensing or Supply of Hydroxychloroquine Direction – effective from 7 April 2020

A prescriber must not prescribe hydroxychloroquine for treatment of a person unless permitted by this Direction.

Further details can be found here: Prescribing, Dispensing or Supply of Hydroxychloroquine Direction.

School and Early Childhood Service Exclusion Direction – effective from 29 March 2020

If an educator or staff member of a school or approved early childhood service reasonably suspects that a child is unwell and must be removed from the service and notifies the parent of this, the parent of the child must ensure that the child is removed from the school or service and that the child does not return until either the prescribed period for the contagious condition has ended or the child is no longer exhibiting symptoms of illness.

Further details can be found here: School and Early Childhood Service Exclusion Direction.

South Australia: Public Health Emergency declared

Power: Power of the Chief Executive to declare a public health emergency

The Public Health Emergency Plan may contain guidelines setting out circumstances in which an emergency should be declared a public health emergency. Before making a declaration, the Chief Executive must consult with the Chief Public Health Officer and State Co-ordinator.

Legislative authority:

  • Public Health Act 2011 (SA), sections 87-88
  • Declaration of a Public Health Emergency dated 15 March 2020

Penalty: N / A

Power: Powers and functions of the Chief Executive

While the declaration remains in force, the Chief Executive "must take any necessary action to implement the Public Health Emergency Plan and cause such response and recovery operations to be carried out as he or she thinks appropriate".

Legislative authority: Public Health Act 2011 (SA), section 89

Penalty:

  • Under section 57 of the Public Health Act 2011 (SA), a person who causes a material risk to public health intentionally or recklessly and with the knowledge that harm to public health will result is guilty of an offence – maximum penalty is $250,000, 5 years' imprisonment or both.
  • A person who causes a material risk to public health in circumstances where the person ought reasonably be expected to know that harm to public health will result is guilty of an offence – maximum penalty is $120,000, 2 years' imprisonment or both.
  • A person who causes a material risk to public health is guilty of an offence – maximum penalty $25,000.

A "material risk" to public health occurs if the health of one or more persons has been, or might reasonably be expected to be, harmed by an act or omission of another, but does not include a case where the harm or risk or harm is negligible (section 57(4)).

Power: Powers and functions of the State Coordinator

If it appears to the State Co-ordinator that a major emergency has occurred, is occurring or is about to occur, the State Co-ordinator may declare the emergency to be a major emergency.

Legislative authority: Emergency Management Act 2004 (SA), section 23

The State Coordinator declared a Major Emergency in respect of the outbreak of COVID-19 within South Australia on 22 March 2020, and extended on 4 April 2020, 2 May 2020, 30 May 2020 and 27 June 2020 for a period of 28 days.

Power: Powers of authorised officers

In the state of an identified major incident, a major emergency or a disaster, and while that declaration remains in force, certain provisions of the Emergency Management Act 2004 (SA) apply, subject to modifications. This includes that authorised officers may:

  • enter premises;
  • direct or prohibit the movement of persons or vehicles;
  • direct a person to remain isolated or segregated from other persons or take other measures to prevent the transmission of a disease to other persons;
  • direct a person to undergo a medical observation; and
  • exercise any prescribed power.

However, an authorised officer may only exercise a power of direction that a person be isolated, segregated or remain in a particular place if there is no reasonable cause to act under Part 10 of the Public Health Act 2011 (Controlled notifiable conditions) or under the Mental Health Act 2009 (SA), or if there are significant public health advantages to acting under the Emergency Management Act 2004 under section 90 of the Public Health Act 2011.

If a direction to be isolated, segregated or remain in one place has effect for a period of over 24 hours a person may apply to the Magistrates Court for review of the decision.

Legislative authority:

  • Public Health Act 2011 (SA), section 90
  • Emergency Management Act 2004 (SA), section 25
  • Mental Health Act 2009 (SA)

Penalty:

  • Under section 57 of the Public Health Act 2011 (SA), a person who causes a material risk to public health intentionally or recklessly and with the knowledge that harm to public health will result is guilty of an offence – maximum penalty is $250,000, 5 years' imprisonment or both.
  • A person who causes a material risk to public health in circumstances where the person ought reasonably be expected to know that harm to public health will result is guilty of an offence – maximum penalty is $120,000, 2 years' imprisonment or both.
  • A person who causes a material risk to public health is guilty of an offence – maximum penalty $25,000.
  • A "material risk" to public health occurs if the health of one or more persons has been, or might reasonably be expected to be, harmed by an act or omission of another, but does not include a case where the harm or risk or harm is negligible (section 57(4)).

Direction: Aged Care Facility Visitation in South Australia

Under this direction:

  • Residents may now leave an aged care facility and return for any reason;
  • Children under the age of 16 years are now able to visit, provided that they have had their flu vaccination (excluding babies under 6 months);
  • Care and support visits are limited to one visit per day by up to two people, however, additional visits can be approved if necessary; and
  • Visitors coming from the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Tasmania or Queensland are now permitted to visit aged care facilities upon arrival in South Australia. Visitors coming from other states/territories are only permitted to visit within 14 days if they are providing end of life support to a resident (and are required to self-quarantine at all other times).

Further information can be found here: Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 6) (COVID-19) Direction 2020

Direction: Public activities COVID-19 Direction 2020 (No 5)

This direction commenced at 12:01 am on 29 July 2020 and revokes the Emergency Management (Public Activities No 4) (COVID-19) Direction 2020.

The direction requires an approved COVID-Safe Plan for defined public activities as specified in the directions.  Businesses and defined public activities that do not have a COVID-Safe Plan cannot commence operations until they have a COVID-Safe Plan.

Record keeping for contact tracing is required by specified businesses such as gaming machine venues, indoor fitness classes, indoor public meetings, personal care services, ceremonies, weddings, funeral services (including a wake), auctions and inspections of premises for the purpose of sale or rental, provision of recreational transport and driver instruction.

The 1 person per 2 square metre and social distancing rules continue to apply for private and public gatherings.

Wedding and funeral attendees are capped at 100 people or if held at a private residence, 50 people.

Further information can be found here: Emergency Management (Public Activities No 5) (COVID-19) Direction 2020

Direction: Court operations

Court operations have been impacted as a result of COVID-19. For example, courts have implemented a screening process which may require queuing to enter court buildings.

Further information can be found here: Courts Administration Authority.

Direction: Travel restrictions

Overseas travellers

All new overseas arrivals are required to quarantine in supervised accommodation, at their own expense, for 14 days.

The following fees apply:

  • one adult: $3,000
  • additional adults: $1,000 each
  • additional children: $500 each
  • child under 3: no additional cost

Interstate travellers

Victorian residents, other than Essential Travellers, are prohibited to travel to South Australia. Travellers from the Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia can travel to South Australia without restriction. Travellers from the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales are required to self-quarantine for 14 days and submit to COVID-19 testing.

Cross Border Travel Registration

All travellers are required to complete the Cross Border Travel Registration at least three days before entering South Australia. The Registration can be completed here.

Further information can be found here: Travel restrictions and in the current Cross Border Travel Direction: Emergency Management (Cross Border Travel No 10) (COVID-19) Direction 2020.

Direction: Limitations to surgical treatment across the State

From 14 May 2020, public and private hospitals in South Australia have been able to increase the number of elective surgeries. This Direction seeks to ensure that overdue procedures are prioritised.

Further information can be found here: Elective Surgery Direction.

Direction: Prison visits

From 13 July 2020, limited visitation will be introduced, excluding Mount Gambier Prison, due to the current outbreak in Victoria. New safety measures will apply to face to face visits including:

  • A limit of one adult visitor (plus children) per prisoner
  • Prisoner and visitor must sit at least 1.5 metres apart
  • Maximum of 45 minutes.

Revised restrictions will be introduced on 27 July 2020.

Further information can be found here.

Direction: Restrictions on blood tests (prohibition of point of care serology tests)

This direction prohibits a person from using a point of care serological (blood) test as an acute illness diagnostic tool for COVID-19, as their use may adversely affect the prevention, control and abatement of the serious public health risk present by COVID-19.

This direction does not apply to employees of SA Pathology or the Department of Health and Wellbeing.

Further information can be found here: Prohibition of Point of Care Serology Tests (COVID-19) Direction 2020

Direction: Isolation following diagnosis or close contact 

This direction commenced on 28 March 2020 and is purposed to require any person diagnosed with COVID-19 or who has come in close contact with someone with COVID-19 to follow the direction to isolate and segregate themselves from other people.

During isolation, a person may be contacted by a member of the Communicable Diseases Control Branch of the Department of Health and Wellbeing and be given information and instructions to help them through the process.

Further information can be found here: Emergency Management (COVID-19) (Isolation Following Diagnosis or Close Contact) Direction 2020

Tasmania: State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency declared

Power: To declare a state of emergency and exercise emergency powers

Under section 42 of the Emergency Management Act 2004 (Tas), the Premier may declare a state of emergency if he or she is satisfied, on reasonable grounds, of one or more of the following:

  • that an emergency, or a significant threat of an emergency, is occurring or has occurred in Tasmania;
  • that the existing circumstances require, or may require, the exercise of special emergency powers.

Tasmania first announced a State of Emergency on 19 March 2020.  The State of Emergency Declaration has since been extended by an Extension of Declaration of State of Emergency across the whole of Tasmania and will continue until 31 August 2020.

Under section 40 of the Emergency Management Act 2004 (Tas), the State Controller may authorise the exercise, in accordance with the authorisation, of emergency powers if he or she:

  • is satisfied that an emergency, or a significant threat of an emergency, is occurring or has occurred in Tasmania and, due to the occurrence of that emergency, there are reasonable grounds for the exercise of those powers for the purpose of –
    • protecting persons from distress, injury or death; or
    • protecting property or the environment from damage or destruction; or
    • is satisfied on credible information that an emergency that may impact on Tasmania is occurring outside Tasmania.

The State Controller may make an authorisation whether or not a state of emergency has been declared.

Powers include the ability to evacuate persons; prohibit or direct the movement of persons; to detain persons; to medically examine persons; to restrict or direct movement of traffic; to close off a public place; to enter premises; to stop and enter vehicles; and require persons to answer questions and provide information (Schedule 1).

Under section 60, a person must not –

  • assault, resist, impede or obstruct an emergency management worker who is participating in emergency management or a rescue and retrieval operation, or performing or exercising a function or power, under the Act; or
  • use threatening, abusive or insulting language to such an emergency management worker; or
  • fail to comply with a lawful requirement or direction of such an emergency management worker; or
  • knowingly provide false or misleading information to such an emergency management worker; or
  • impersonate an emergency management worker.

Penalty: Fine not exceeding $16,800 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 3 months, or both.

Under section 61, if a body corporate commits an offence against the Act, each person concerned in the management of the body corporate is taken to have also committed the offence and may be convicted of the offence unless the person shows that –

  • the act or omission constituting the offence took place without the person's knowledge or consent; or
  • the person used all due diligence to prevent that act or omission by the body corporate.

A person may be convicted of an offence against the Act whether or not the body corporate is charged with or convicted of the offence.

Legislative authority: Emergency Management Act 2006

Power: To declare a public state of emergency

The Director of Public Health, by any means the Director considers appropriate, may declare that a public health emergency exists "if satisfied that the situation requires it" (s 14(1) of the Public Health Act 1997 (Tas)).

The declaration must specify the nature of the emergency, any area to which it relates and the period during which it is in force (s 14(2)).  The period of the declaration must not be longer than 7 days but can be extended by 7 day periods (s 15).

Tasmania declared a Public Health Emergency on 17 March 2020 and extended the period on 24 March 2020. 

Legislative authority:

  • Public Health Act 1997 (Tas), sections 14-15
  • Public Health Emergency for Tasmania declared 17 March 2020 and extended on 24 March 2020

Penalty: N / A

Power: Directions of Director during emergency declaration

The Director may take any action or give any direction to:

  • manage a threat to public health or likely threat to public health;
  • quarantine or isolate persons in any area;
  • evacuate persons from any area;
  • prevent or permit access to any area; or
  • control vehicle movement.

The Director may give one or more of the following directions while the emergency declaration is in force:

  • that a person undergo a clinical assessment;
  • that a person move to, or stay in a specified area;
  • that a substance or thing be seized or destroyed; or
  • any other action the Director considers appropriate.

In relation to a person directed to quarantine or isolate or stay in a specified area, the Director must consider at required intervals whether it is necessary for the person to remain subject to the declaration or order or whether it is necessary the person undergo a clinical assessment to determine whether they should remain subject to the declaration or order. Required intervals are to be determined by the Director but cannot be less than once every 7 days.

Legislative authority: Public Health Act 1997 (Tas), section 16

Penalty: 

  • A person must comply with a direction under section 16 (section 16(3)) – fine of up $16,800 to or imprisonment of up to 6 months, or both.
  • A person carrying out a clinical assessment for the purposes of section 16(2)(a) must provide the Director with a written report as soon as practicable – fine of up to $4,200 (section 16(4)).
  • The Director may apply to a magistrate to issue a warrant in relation to a person who has failed to comply with a direction under section 16 and the Director considers it necessary, for the purposes of managing a threat or likely threat to public health, for the direction to be complied with (section 16A).

Power: Special powers of authorised persons

The Director may authorise persons or classes of persons for the purposes of Division 2 of the Public Health Act 1997 (Tas) (Emergency Powers).

The Director may require any authorised person to assist in carrying out a direction under the Division.

An authorised person, in carrying out a direction, may:

  • enter, by reasonable force if necessary a place in order to save human life, prevent injury or rescue an injured or endangered person;
  • close any area, premises or vehicle;
  • close roads, streets or other ways used by traffic; and
  • remove by reasonable force any person who fails to comply with the direction.

Legislative authority: Public Health Act 1997 (Tas), section 167

Penalty:

A person must comply with a direction under section 16 (section 16(3)) – fine of up $16,800 to or imprisonment of up to 6 months, or both.

A person carrying out a clinical assessment for the purposes of section 16(2)(a) must provide the Director with a written report as soon as practicable – fine of up to $4,200 (section 16(4)).

The Director may apply to a magistrate to issue a warrant in relation to a person who has failed to comply with a direction under section 16 and the Director considers it necessary, for the purposes of managing a threat or likely threat to public health, for the direction to be complied with (section 16A).

Power: Miscellaneous powers

On 5 May 2020 the Tasmanian Parliament enacted the COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No 2) 2020.

The Act’s objective is to reduce the risks to the State, and the risk to, or hardship suffered by, members of the public, arising from, or related to, the presence of COVID-19 by amending or modifying the application of specified legislation (eg. Electoral Act 2004).  

The Act amends certain legislation by extending statutory timelines, relaxing legislative requirements to reduce the need for public physical contact and introducing financial hardship provisions.

Further information about the Act can be found here: COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No 2) 2020.

Direction: Persons arriving in Tasmania

From 17 July 2020, the Directions in Relation to Persons Arriving in Tasmania (General) requires any person who arrives in Tasmania after 11:59 PM on 17 July 2020 (from a departure point outside of Tasmania) to:

  • answer any question by an authorised officer of provide any document or other information required by an authorised officer;
  • isolate for 14 days at an accommodation facility specified by an authorised officer

Isolation requirements will differ for Tasmanian residents who in certain circumstances can isolate at their residence.  If a Tasmanian resident displays COVID-19 symptoms, arrives from outside of Australia or disembarks a cruise ship within 14 days of their arrival to Tasmania, they are required to isolate in an accommodation facility specified by an authorised officer.

Also commencing on 30 July 2020 is the Directions in relation to persons arriving in Tasmania from affected regions and premises which applies to persons arriving in Tasmania from an affected region and or premises.  Affected regions and premises are listed on the Tasmanian Government COVID-19 website.  This direction requires authorised persons to direct non-residents to leave Tasmania as soon as possible and to comply with any isolation direction until they are able to depart.

Further information can be found here Directions in relation to persons arriving in Tasmania from affected regions and premises and Directions in Relation to Persons Arriving in Tasmania (General)

Direction: Management of Persons

From 26 June 2020, Management of premises – No.1 directs the current limitations on gathering numbers at premises.

The direction sets out the gathering numbers permitted for residential premises and other premises such as airports, disability or aged care facilities, courts, schools and universities and indoor or outdoor spaces primarily used for the purpose of transiting through the space.

Residential premises gathering numbers remain limited to the sum of persons who ordinarily reside at the premises plus 20 other persons.  Other premises are limited by other means such as occupancy permits and temporary occupancy permits in force under the Building Act 2016 and the number of persons equal to the maximum density calculated for that space. 

Further information can be found here: Management of premises – No.1

Direction: Workplace COVID Plan – No. 1

From 15 June 2020, Workplace COVID Plan – No 1 directs all persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) to implement and record in writing, measures in relation to managing the risk of COVID at the workplace including in relation to social distancing, reviewing information and guidance at reasonable intervals to ensure COVID control measures remain appropriate, cleaning and hygiene measures and training and instruction for workers. 

Further information can be found here Workplace COVID Plan – No 1.

Direction: Regulation of aircraft movement

From 27 March 2020, Regulation of aircraft movement prohibits the landing of any aeroplane or aircraft whose flight commenced outside from Tasmania from landing (other than in the case of an emergency or with prior consent) at any place within Tasmania other than a specified list of airports.  

Further information can be found here: Regulation of aircraft movement

Direction: Quarantine procedures

A person who has been notified, at the direction of the Director of Public Health, that they have been, or are suspected on reasonable grounds of having been, exposed to the disease must immediately travel to a suitable place and remain in quarantine for at least 14 days. A suitable place may be a hospital if the person requires treatment, alternatively, it may be the person's primary residence or other premises as approved by the Director of Public Health.

Further information can be found here: Public Health Act 1997 – Direction under s 16 – Quarantine No. 1

Direction: Isolation procedures

On receiving notification that a person has contracted COVID-19, they must travel immediately and directly to a suitable place and remain at the location until they are cleared by the relevant authority. A person must not be released from isolation unless they meet the criteria and satisfy the relevant authority.

Further information can be found here: Public Health Act 1997 – Direction under s 16 – Isolation No. 2

Direction: Entering a residential ages care facility

People are not permitted to enter or remain on the premises of a residential aged care facility unless they fall under the category of exempt persons. The operator of a residential aged care facility must take all reasonable steps to ensure that unauthorised people do not enter, or remain on, the premises of the facility. Furthermore, operators must also ensure that people who are permitted to enter the facility have been screened as directed by the Director of Public Health.

Further information can be found here: Public Health Act 1997 – Direction under s 16 – Residential Aged Care Facilities No. 9

Direction: Assessment of persons from affected regions and premises – No. 1

From 31 July 2020, an affected person as defined in the Directions in relation to persons arriving in Tasmania from affected regions and premises (i.e. anyone who has been in an affected region or premises within 14 days of their arrival in Tasmania.  Limited exemptions apply.) who arrives in Tasmania is required to undergo the following clinical assessments on arrival

  • questions as to the health of the person in respect of the symptoms of the disease, on his or her arrival;
  • a check of the temperature of the person;
  • a test for the disease

Some exemptions apply in relation to this direction such as a person who is an authorised person under the Affected Regions and Premises Direction in respect of transport, freight or logistics who does not leave the seaport or airport where they arrived in Tasmania.

Further information can be found here: Assessment of persons from affected regions and premises – No 1.

Victoria: Stage 4 restrictions declared

Power: Power to declare a state of emergency

The Minister for Health has powers to declare a state of emergency arising out of any circumstances causing a serious risk to health.  On 16 March 2020, the Minister for Health made a declaration of a state of emergency throughout the State of Victoria arising from the serious risk to public health from COVID-19. 

The declaration has since been extended on a further four occasions, being 12 April, 11 May, 31 May and 21 June 2020.  On 19 July 2020, the Minister for Health extended the state of emergency declaration for a further period to 11:59 pm on 16 August 2020.

Legislative authority:

  • Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, section 198(1)
  • Declaration of a state of emergency dated 16 March 2020

Penalty: N / A

Power: Appointment of authorised officers

The Chief Health Officer may authorise:

  • authorised officers appointed by the Secretary to exercise any of the public health risk powers and emergency powers; and
  • if specified in the authorisation, a specified class / classes of authorised officer to exercise these powers.

An authorisation may be given orally or in writing and must include certain specifics including detail of the serious risk to public health and the time the authorisation is to continue in force for.

Legislative authority: Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, sections 189, 199 and 201

Penalty: N / A

Power: Public health risk powers

Relevant public health risk powers that are able to be exercised by authorised officers include the power:

  • to close premises to investigate, eliminate or reduce the public health risk;
  • direct person(s) to enter / not enter premises;
  • enter any premises without a warrant and search and seize any thing necessary to investigate, eliminate or reduce the public health risk (subject to section 190(7);
  • require provision of information;
  • inspect any premises;
  • require cleaning or disinfection of premises;
  • require the destruction or disposal of any thing necessary to eliminate or reduce the public health risk;
  • direct the owner of premises or any other person to take any action necessary eliminate or reduce the public health risk; and
  • exercise any of the general enforcement powers conferred on an authorised officer.

Legislative authority: Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, section 190(1)

Penalty:

Under section 193(1) of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic), a person must not refuse or fail to comply with a direction given to the person, or a requirement made of the person, in the exercise of a power under an authorisation given under section 189. This attracts a penalty of up to $20,000 for a person or $100,000 for a body corporate.

A person is not guilty of an offence under section 193 (1) if they had a reasonable excuse for refusing or failing to comply with the direction or requirement (section 193(2)).

Power: Emergency powers

Relevant powers are:

  • to detain any person(s) in the emergency area;
  • restrict movement of any person(s) in the emergency area;
  • prevent any person(s) entering the emergency area; and
  • give any other direction an authorised officer considers is reasonably necessary to protect public health.

Legislative authority: Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, section 200

Penalty:

Under section 203(1) of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic), a person must not refuse or fail to comply with a direction given to the person, or a requirement made of the person, in the exercise of a power under an authorisation given under section 199. This attracts a penalty of up to $20,000 for a person or $100,000 for a body corporate.

A person is not guilty of an offence under section 203(1) if they had a reasonable excuse for refusing or failing to comply with the direction or requirement (section 203(2)). 

Direction: Area Directions (No 5)

These directions identify areas within Victoria which have a higher prevalence of, or risk of exposure to, COVID-19 and which are subject to specific directions which are reasonably necessary to protect public health. The directions came into force at 11:59 pm on 30 July 2020 and replaced the Area Directions (No 4).

The direction establishes areas known as the Restricted Area and Safety Area, and must be read in conjunction with other directions currently in force.

A Restricted Area means the aggregate area consisting of the municipal districts, suburbs, localities and addresses within greater Melbourne and the Shire of Mitchell. 

A Safety Area means the aggregate area consisting of the municipal districts under the local government of Colac Otway Shire Council, Golden Plaints Shire Council, City of Greater Geelong Council, Moorabool Shire Council, Borough of Queenscliffe Council; and Surf Coast Shire Council. 

The Chief Health Officer or Deputy Chief Health Officer may add to or exclude any municipal district, suburb, locality, address or other identified area from a Restricted Area or a Safety Area having regard to public health and available statutory powers.

Further information can be found here: Area Directions (No 5)

Direction: Stay at Home Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 7)

These directions, in addition to maintaining restrictions for residents within a Restricted Area in relation to interactions with others, gatherings and reasons for leaving the home, impose tighter travel restrictions for leaving home and update face covering requirements.

The Stay at Home Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 7) came into force at 7:59 pm on 2 August 2020 and replaced the Stay at Home Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 6).

Requirement to stay at home and introduction of curfew

The directions require anyone who ordinarily resides in the Restricted Area (defined in the Area Directions (No 5)) not to leave the premises where they ordinarily reside, other than for:

  • Necessary goods or services;
  • Care or other compassionate reasons;
  • Work or education;
  • Exercise (not for more than 1 hour); or
  • other specified reasons.

The directions mandate a "stay at home period" commencing 7:59 pm on 2 August 2020 and ending at 11:59 pm on 16 August 2020.  A curfew has also been introduced for the stay at home period which directs persons not to leave their premises between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am unless for a specified reason.  

This seventh amendment to the Stay at Home Directions tightens travel restrictions so that persons living in a Restricted Area must:

  • not leave their premises other than for a permitted reason and where that permitted reason does not involve unreasonable travel or travelling to a place for an unreasonable period of time;
  • not travel in a vehicle with another person they do not ordinarily reside with unless it is not otherwise reasonably practicable for either person to leave their premises for a permitted purpose (eg. a person without a driver’s licence may travel in a vehicle with a person they do not ordinarily reside with to attend a medical appointment or complete their grocery shopping if it is not reasonably practicable to get there another way)
  • not travel further than 5km from their premises for necessary goods or services or exercise and must not travel for either of these reasons more than once per day. 
    • A person must not travel outside of a Restricted Area for the purpose of exercise regardless of whether they are still within 5km of their premises.  Persons must also not use a vehicle to travel for the purpose of exercise (within 5km of their premises and not outside the Restricted Area) unless it is not reasonably practicable for a person to undertake exercise without using a vehicle;  
    • A person who leaves their premises to obtain goods or services provide by a specified financial institution or government body or agency may travel more than once per day;
    • Where it is not reasonably practicable for a person to obtain necessary goods or services within a 5km distance from their premises (for example if the closest necessary goods or services are more than 5km from a person’s ordinary residence) the person may travel outside of the 5km limit to obtain the necessary goods or services;
  • where a person has more than one ordinary place of residence, must stay within the place of residence they were in as at 11:59 pm on 1 August 2020 and not travel to the other place of residence unless for a specified reason (eg. to meet obligations in relation to shared parenting arrangements).

Face covering requirement

This direction also introduces a mandatory requirement for people to wear a face covering at all times when leaving their premises in accordance with one of the specified reasons.  Limited exemptions apply to the requirement to wear a face covering.  For example, while onsite at a primary school, students are exempted from the requirement to wear a face covering, whether that school be within or outside of a Restricted Area, however they must still carry a face covering at all other times.

Reasons to leave premises

The direction outlines the limitations for leaving premises for each of the following permitted reasons:

  • to obtain necessary goods and services;
  • for care or other compassionate reasons;
  • to attend work or education;
  • for exercise;
  • for other reasons which include,  but are not limited to, for emergency purposes, as required or authorised by law, for purposes relating to the administration of justice, to attend a place of worship that is operating in accordance with the Restricted Activity Directions, for the purpose of moving to a new premises at which the person will ordinarily reside.

Restrictions on gatherings

During the stay at home period a person:

  • must not enter a premises at which they do not ordinarily reside within a Restricted Area, except for one or more of the specified purposes (i.e. necessary goods or services, care or other compassionate reasons, work or education or other specified reasons) and provided the limitations associated with those specified purposes are complied with;
  • who ordinarily resides in a Restricted Area must not enter a premises that they do not ordinarily reside outside of a Restricted Area unless for one or more specified purposes;
  • must not arrange to meet, or organise or intentionally attend a gathering of more than one other person for a common purpose at a public place unless for a specified purpose.For example, where it is necessary for person to meet one other person at a public place if one person required care and support due to age, infirmity, disability, illness or a chronic health condition.

Weddings and funerals in Restricted Areas

  • Weddings are limited to 5 people comprised of the two persons being married, the authorised celebrant and the two witnesses required to comply with the Marriage Act 1961.Restrictions will vary based on density quotient and location variables.
  • Funerals are limited to 10 people regardless of whether held in an outdoor or indoor space.

Further information can be found here: Stay at Home Directions (Restricted Area) (No 7)

Direction: Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 5)

The purpose of these directions is to restrict the operation of certain businesses and undertakings in Restricted Areas in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 5) came into force at 11:59 pm on 2 August 2020 and replaced the Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 4).

The directions prevent certain businesses and undertakings from operating in the Restricted Area unless an exemption applies.   

Pubs, bars, clubs, and hotels must not operate in the Restricted Area except for the purposes of:

  • operating a bottleshop; or
  • providing food or drink to be consumed off the premises; or
  • providing accommodation however only for certain permitted operations (eg. to a person who on a temporary basis, who has travelled to Victoria for work purposes);

Physical recreational facilities (whether for profit or not-for-profit), entertainment facilities, places of worship, open retail facilities, cafes and restaurants, accommodation facilities, swimming pools and zoos and aquariums are all prevented from operating in the Restricted Area unless an exemption applies.

The direction outlines signage, cleaning and records requirements for applicable persons and requires employers located in a Restricted Area to allow their employees to work from home where it is reasonably practicable to do so. 

Further information can be found here: Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 5)

Direction: Restricted activity (No 16)

The purpose of these directions is to place restrictions on businesses and other organisations who are not located within a Restricted Area, and limit recreational, cultural and entertainment activities.  The Restricted Activity Directions (No 16) came into force at 11:59 pm on 2 August 2020 and replaced the Restricted Activity Directions (No 15).

This direction outlines how the density quotient formula works for different spaces (i.e. indoor, space, indoor zones, outdoor spaces, markets or retail shopping centres) and is required for businesses to determine the limitation on how many members of the public are permitted in the one space at any one time.

Activity restrictions in relation to pubs, bars, clubs, nightclubs, hotels, physical recreational facilities, community facilities, community sport and physical recreation, entertainment facilities, places of worship, retail facilities, food and drink facilities, accommodation facilities, swimming pools, animal facilities and real estate auctions and inspections are outlined within this direction.

Further information can be found here: Restricted Activity Directions (No 16)

Direction: Stay Safe (No 9)

The purpose of these directions is to outline the limitations on leaving home for Victorians other than Victorians who reside in a Restricted Area (Restricted Areas are subject to specific Restricted Area Directions such as Stay at Home Directions (Restricted Area) (No 7). The Stay Safe Directions (No 9) came into force at 11.59 pm on 2 August 2020 and replaces the Stay Safe Directions (No 8). 

The directions refer to a "stay safe period" which beings on at 11:59 pm on 2 August 2020 and end at 11:59 pm on 16 August 2020.  If a person lives within a Restricted Area, this Direction applies where the person moves outside of the Restricted Area.

During the "stay safe period" Victorian residents can only leave their premises for specified reasons and provided they comply with:

  • face covering requirements (noting that where an exemption applies, a person may still be required to carry the face covering at all other times outside of the exempted activity)
  • directions currently in force, such as the Restricted Activity Directions (No 16);
  • restrictions in relation to a Restricted Area if entering the Restricted Area for a permitted reason (eg. Stay at Home Directions (Restricted Area) (No 7) and Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 5))

Further information can be found here: Stay Safe Direction (No 9)           

Direction: Care Facilities Directions (No 9) 

The purpose of these directions is to outline restrictions to care facilities, including alcohol and drug residential service, disability residential service and homelessness residential service.  The Care Facilities Directions (No 9) came into force at 11:59 pm on 3 August 2020 and replaced the Care Facilities Directions (No 8).  

The directions introduce strict prohibitions on entry to a care facility from 11:59 pm on 3 August 2020 until 11:59 pm on 16 August 2020, unless a person is:

  • a resident of the facility;
  • a worker in relation to the facility; and
  • a visitor but only where the person’s visit complies with specified limitations.

Limitations on visitations to a care facility include:

  • for a resident of a facility aged under 18 years – only 1 visitor at a time if the visitor is the resident’s parent or guardian who has temporary care of the residents;
  • for a resident of a facility aged 18 years and over – only 1 visitor once per day for maximum of one hour if the visitor is the parent, guardian, partner, carer or support person and the purpose of the visit to provide emotional and social support to the resident that cannot be provided by that person via electronic or other non-contact means;
  • for a resident of a facility who has a mental illness – only 1 visitor at any one time for a maximum of 1 hour per visit where the person is the resident’s nominated person and the person’s presence at the facility is for the purposes of matters relating to their role as the nominated person;
  • where a person’s presence at a facility is for the purposes of providing essential care and support which cannot be provided via electronic means and is necessary for the resident’s:
    • immediate physical wellbeing that optimises the care and support delivered by workers at the facility;
    • immediate emotional and social wellbeing (including mental health supports) that optimises the care and support delivered by workers at the facility.
  • other specified reasons such as interpreter support, learning to support a resident’s care upon a resident’s discharge from a facility, to provide end of life support, as a prospective resident of the facility and accompanying a prospective resident.Visit duration and visitor number restrictions apply to each of these situations.

The directions also require the operator of a care facility to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a person does not enter or remain on the premises of the facility if they are not permitted to do so by the directions.

Further information can be found here: The Care Facilities Directions (No 9)

Direction: Detention Notice (No 7)

The purpose of these directions is to outline the restrictions that apply to people arriving in Victoria from overseas, including by detailing the compulsory quarantine requirements that apply on entry.  The Detention Notice (No 7) Direction came into force at 11:59 pm on 19 July 2020 and replaced the Direction and Detention Notice (No 6).

The directions require that if a person has arrived in Victoria on or after 11:59 pm on 19 July 2020, that the person:

  • will be detained in a hotel and room specified in the direction for a period of 14 days. 
  • will be detained for a further 10 day period where the person refuses to be tested for COVID-19 on request of an authorised officer;
  • must comply with the instructions provided in relation to transport to the hotel;
  • when at the hotel, must not leave their designated room unless permission has been granted to do so;
  • must not permit any other person to enter the room unless authorisation has been obtained for a person to attend the room for a specified purpose; and
  • if under the age of 18 years, can have a parent or guardian stay with them provided the parent or guardian agrees to submit to the same conditions of detention.

Penalty: The current penalty for non-compliance with the Detention Notice (No 7) for an individual is $19,826.40

Further information can be found here: The Detention Notice (No 7)

Direction: Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts (No 8)

The Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts (No 8) came into force at 11.59 pm on 3 August 2020 and replaced the Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts (No 7).  The updated directions alter the circumstances in which a person who is required to self-isolate or self-quarantine may leave the premises at which they are required to self-isolate or self-quarantine.

The purpose of these directions is to require persons diagnosed with COVID-19 to self-isolate and to require persons who are living with or have been in close contact with a diagnosed person to self-quarantine.

Diagnosed persons

Persons diagnosed with COVID-19 must self-isolate either at premises chosen by the person or at premises required under a Revoked Isolation Direction (depending on when the diagnosis was communicated to the person). The diagnosed person also has notification requirements under these directions.

The period of self-isolation will end when the person is given clearance from self-isolation.

Close contacts

Close contacts are also required to self-quarantine under these directions. A person is a close contact if an officer or representative of the Department has made a determination that the person has had contact with a diagnosed person (or a person who has become a diagnosed person), and the person has been given notice of the determination in accordance with these directions.

Close contacts may self-quarantine at the premises at which they ordinarily reside, or at another suitable premises.

The period of self-quarantine will end at either the time specified in the notice of determination, the time the notice is revoked, or when the person becomes a diagnosed person. The person may also be given clearance from self-isolation before the time that a notice of determination is revoked.

If a person required to self-quarantine is tested for COVID-19 and the period that they are required to self-quarantine expires while they are awaiting test results, the period of self-quarantine is extended until the person receives test results.

Requirements

Persons required to self-isolate or self-quarantine must not leave their nominated premises except for specified purposes (including for medical care, in an emergency situation, or if required to do so by law). The person must not permit other persons to enter the premises unless permitted by these directions.

The Chief Health Officer may grant an exemption from the requirements in these directions.

Further details can be found here: Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts Direction (No 8).

Direction: Hospital Visitor (No 9)

The purpose of these directions is to prohibit non-essential visits to hospitals.

From 22 July 2020 until 16 August 2020, a person must not enter or remain at a hospital in Victoria unless:

  • the person is a patient;
  • the person is a worker in relation to the hospital;
  • the person is a visitor in relation to a patient of the hospital; or
  • the person is in an area of the hospital where an exemption is in force.

Certain persons are excluded from entering or remaining in a hospital in Victoria (including persons who have been diagnosed or had known contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, and persons who have been overseas in the past 14 days) unless specifically permitted by these directions.

A person is a "visitor" in relation to a patient of the hospital if:

  • in the case of a patient aged under 18 years – the person is the parent or guardian of the patient or has temporary care of the patient;
  • in the case of a patient aged 18 years or over – the person is the parent, guardian, partner, carer or support person of the patient and the person's presence is for the purpose of providing emotional and social support;
  • the person's presence at the hospital is for the purposes of providing essential care and support necessary for the patient's immediate physical wellbeing;
  • the person's presence at the hospital is for the purposes of providing essential care and support necessary for the patient's immediate emotional and social wellbeing;
  • the person's presence at the hospital is for the purposes of providing interpreter or informal language support to enable the delivery of care by workers at the hospital;
  • in the case of a pregnant patient of the hospital whose status as a patient relates to the pregnancy – the person is the patient’s partner or support person;
  • in the case of a patient of the hospital who is in a maternity ward—the person is the patient's partner or support person;
  • in the case of a patient of the hospital attending at the hospital’s emergency department – the person accompanying the patient;
  • in the case of a patient of the hospital attending an outpatient appointment—the person is accompanying the patient;
  • the person’s presence at the hospital is for the purposes of end of life support for a patient of the hospital;
  • in the case of a patient of the hospital whose medical condition is life threatening – the person is an immediate family member of the patient;
  • in the case of a patient of the hospital who has a mental illness – the person is the patient's nominated person and the person's presence at the hospital is for the purposes of matters relating to their role as nominated person; or
  • the person's presence at the hospital is for the purposes of the person learning to support the patient's care upon the patient's discharge.

Visitor limitations and time limits may apply.

The Chief Health Officer may grant an exemption to a specified area of a hospital.

Further information can be found here: Hospital Visitor Directions (No 9).

Western Australia: State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency declared

Power: State of Emergency Declaration

The Minister for Emergency Services has the power to declare a state of emergency.

On 15 March 2020, the Minister for Emergency Services declared a state of emergency. On 23 July 2020 that declaration was extended for a further period until 12:00 AM on 6 August 2020.

Power: Public health state of emergency declaration

The Minister for Health has the power to declare a public health state of emergency. 

On 23 March 2020, the Minister for Health declared a public health state of emergency

Power: Authorised officers during a state of emergency

The State Emergency Coordinator may authorise persons as authorised officers during a state of emergency.

Legislative authority: Emergency Management Act 2005 (WA), section 56

Penalty: N / A

Power: Powers during a state of emergency

Police may direct the owner, occupier or any person apparently in charge of any place of business, worship or entertainment in the emergency area to close that place to the public for the period specified in the direction (section 71).

During a state of emergency, authorised officers have powers for the management of an emergency situation, including:

  • entering or searching a place or vehicle in the emergency area;
  • directing the owner, occupier or the person apparently in charge of any place of business, worship or entertainment in the emergency area to close that place to the public for the period specified in the direction; and
  • remove to such place as the authorised officer thinks proper any person who obstructs or threatens to obstruct emergency management activities. (section 75).

Legislative authority: Emergency Management Act 2005 (WA), sections 71 and 75

Penalty:

  • A person must not obstruct an authorised officer in exercise of power under the Act (section 85). The maximum penalty for this offence is a $50,000 fine.
  • Failure to comply with a direction given under sections 71 and 75 is an offence with a penalty of a fine of $50,000 and for each further offence $5,000 (section 86).
  • Failure to provide help when reasonably requested under the Act is an offence with a penalty of a fine of $50,000 (section 87).

Power: Emergency powers

A person authorised by the Chief Medical Officer under section 174(2) may exercise emergency powers conferred by the Act, including:

  • obtain identifying particular (section 179);
  • direct the movement or evacuation of persons (section 180);
  • control or use premises or property (section 182);
  • control or make use of any vaccine or drug (section 183); and
  • direct a person to remain in an area or in quarantine, or to undergo medical observation or decontamination (section 184); and
  • direct the owner or occupier or the person apparently in charge of any place in the emergency area to close that place to the public for the period specified in the direction (section 190(1)(j)).

Legislative authority: Public Health Act 2016 (WA), sections 179-190

Penalty:

An emergency officer or police officer may use reasonable force to ensure that a requirement to undergo medical observation or treatment (section 185).

Failure to comply, without a reasonable excuse, with a direction given by an emergency officer or police officer under the Public Health Act 2016 (WA) is an offence with a penalty of a fine of $20,000 (section 202).

Travelling to Western Australia

From 10 July no one can enter Western Australia if they have been in, or transited through, Victoria or NSW in the previous 14 days, unless they satisfy an exemption.

Those coming from Victoria will need to quarantine at a quarantine hotel (personal expense) for a period of 14 days, whilst those coming from NSW will be required to self-quarantine. Mandatory testing on arrival and on day 11 of quarantine will be required.

Those travelling from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory will need to be an exempt traveller to enter. Exemptions are obtained by applying for a G2G Pass. Travellers from Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory will also need to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days.

For more information see Travel to WA.

Regional Travel

From 5 June 2020, the Kimberly, Shire of Ngaanytjarraku and parts of the East Pilbara reopened to tourists and travellers. However, restrictions to remote Aboriginal communities remain in place. Breaches of these restrictions attract a $50,000 penalty. Exceptions apply to those who are:

  • working or going to school in the community;
  • entering for family or cultural purposes;
  • providing essential services;
  • delivering a community program;
  • entering in an emergency.

For more information see Remote Aboriginal communities – restrictions on entering.

Health

The WA Government recommends:

  • staying home if sick
  • maintaining 1.5 metres away from others
  • avoid unnecessary physical contact
  • wash hands regularly
  • cover mouth and nose when coughing/ sneezing

COVID-19 testing

You may be tested if you:

  • present with a fever of 37.5°C or above; or
  • have had a fever in the last few days (for example, night sweats or chills), without a known source; or
  • have acute respiratory symptoms (for example, coughing, shortness of breath, sore throat).

For more information see COVID-19 coronavirus: Health and wellbeing.

Business and community activity

Since the 27 June when WA entered Phase 4 of the WA Roadmap, there is no longer a limit on the maximum number of patrons permitted in a venue, however, the 2 sq metre rule applies. Large hospitality venues that can hold more than 500 patrons must include staff in their patron count. For WA’s major sport and entertainment venues, a 50 per cent capacity rule applies. Further information can be found here: Closure and Restriction (Limit the Spread) Directions (No 5) and on the WA Government website: COVID-19 coronavirus: Business and industry recovery.

Aged care facilities

As at 8 July 2020, the Visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities Directions (No 3)  direct that a person must not enter or remain on, the premises of a residential aged care facility in WA if:

  • they have returned from overseas in the preceding 14 days:
  • they have been informed that they were a close contact (a close contact is defined in the Quarantine and Isolation (Undiagnosed) Directions and may be used as a verb, that is to have close contact and as a noun, meaning person A has had close contact with person B);
  • they are displaying symptoms associated with COVID-19, a temperature of 38 degrees or above or symptoms of acute respiratory infection; or
  • they have not had an up-to-date vaccination against influenza.

There are other restrictions that pertain to service providers and employees of residential aged care facilities. Further information about this can be found here: Visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities Directions (No 3)

Isolation and quarantine

A person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 must isolate until the person is informed that they are no longer required to isolate. Where a person has been directed to isolate, they must comply with any other direction or instruction given by the relevant officer. Further information on the isolation procedures can be found here: Isolation (Diagnosed) Directions.

The following categories of people must quarantine or isolate as follows:

  • A person who is informed that they are a close contact must quarantine until the end of the fourteenth day after the day on which the person last had close contact, or until instructed by the relevant officer.
  • A person who is tested must isolate until the person is informed that their test results were negative.
  • A person who is required to quarantine and develops symptoms must isolate until the person is informed that they are no longer required to isolate.

Further information and details of the quarantine and isolation procedures can be found here: Quarantine and Isolation (Undiagnosed) Directions.

It is also noted that some previous directions have been since revoked. Further information can be found here: Revocation of Various Directions (No 2).

Click here for full access to Western Australia's COVID-19 directions.