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COVID-19 update for carers in NSW

Wed, 28 Jul

Carers NSW is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the ongoing government response and the wide ranging impacts it has on carers. Below is our latest COVID-19 information and resources for carers.

*Last updated 5 August 2021

Stay at home orders extended to Hunter & Upper Hunter

On 5 August 2021, the NSW Premier announced that the current stay at home orders in Greater Sydney will be extended to include Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Singleton, Dungog, Muswellbrook and Cessnock, beginning 5pm Wednesday 5 August 2021 until 12:01am Friday 13 August 2021.

Residents in these areas must stay at home unless it is for an essential reason. Visitors to the home are not permitted unless it is to fulfil carers’ responsibilities, or provide care or assistance, or for compassionate reasons, including where two people are in a relationship but do not live together.

Stay at home orders extended in Greater Sydney

On 28 July 2021, the NSW Premier announced that the current stay at home orders will remain in place for another four weeks (until Saturday 28 August 2021) across Greater Sydney including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour.

The Premier confirmed that higher vaccination rates are needed in order to ease restrictions and emphasised that anyone aged 18 and over in Greater Sydney should access whichever vaccine is available to them as soon as possible, especially those living in Western and South Western Sydney.

Stay at home orders no longer apply in the Central Western NSW local government areas of Orange, Blayney and Carbonne.

No further changes were made to the health advice and restrictions currently in place outside Greater Sydney.

Updated restrictions

In addition to the restrictions already in place, the Premier announced further restrictions for Greater Sydney, including the following points of particular relevance for carers:

Shopping for essentials: Greater Sydney residents (including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour) must only shop within their Local Government Area or within 10km of their home, unless the item is not available locally

Formal care and support: In-home care services are allowed to continue, including cleaning and maintenance services provided through aged care and disability service providers, but rules apply for workers coming from particular areas where cases numbers are high:

  • People working as paid disability or aged care workers who live in the Parramatta, Campbelltown, Georges River, Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Blacktown and Cumberland areas are considered ‘authorised workers’ and allowed to leave home for work.
  • All paid disability or aged care workers from Canterbury-Bankstown must get tested once every three days in order to leave their LGA for work
  • Residential aged care workers and health workers from Fairfield and Cumberland must be tested once every three days in order to be allowed to go to work outside their LGA

Companionship visits: People who live alone can nominate one designated family member or friend to visit for companionship. This is to reduce isolation and support mental wellbeing. A person providing care can be different to the person elected as a ‘nominated visitor’, but the nominated visitor and carer cannot be in the home at the same time. For people living in an area of concern, the person they nominate must live within the same LGA and within 5km from home.

Additional restrictions for "high risk" LGAs

On 30 July 2021, the NSW Premier announced further restrictions for people living in the Sydney Local Government Areas of Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown, Georges River, Liverpool, Campbelltown, Cumberland, Parramatta and Blacktown, which have been identified as particularly high risk for COVID transmission. These are listed below:

  • People who live in the areas listed above must not travel more than 5km from their home, this includes for shopping and for exercise. You can travel further than 5km if you need to shop for an essential item that is not available locally, and to provide essential care
  • Mask wearing is mandatory in all indoor and outdoor areas for people living in the areas listed above. Masks are not mandatory within your own home. Police will be monitoring compliance with mask wearing in these areas – the fine for not wearing a mask has been increased to $500.

Financial support

The Federal Government announced additional financial support for people in NSW who have been impacted by the lockdown. The keys messages are:

COVID-19 Disaster Support Payment increased: Eligible workers who have lost 20 or more hours of work per week will receive $750 per week. Workers that lose between 8 - 20 hours, or one full day of work, will receive a payment of $450 per week. These new rates will commence from 2 August 2021 and payments will be automatically updated for those already in the Services Australia system

COVID-19 Disaster Support Payment extended to those on income support: People who receive an income support payment or pension can now receive a weekly payment of $200 in addition to their existing payment. They must be able to demonstrate they have lost more than 8 hours of work and meet the other eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. This payment will be paid weekly for the duration of the lockdown. To confirm your eligibility and apply, visit the Services Australia website.

Resources for carers

Resources developed by Carers NSW to support carers to manage the practical and emotional challenges of caring through COVID-19, are available on our Carer Resources page, using the search term 'COVID'