COVID-19 – News Update

HOW THIS AFFECTS YOU IN FROME

COVID-19 Updates   –    Updates are available from the SA Government coronavirus website: www.covid-19.sa.gov.au  or Ph: 1800 253 787

Mental Health Support Line  –  A support line has been set up to support you through this very anxious time, it is staff by trained Lifeline counsellors and will receive calls and also provide a call-back support service for people in distress because of COVID19. Ph: 1800 632 753

Government accelerates local jobs and business recovery as indoor dining back on the menu

From Friday: all cafes and restaurants will be permitted to seat up to a total of 20 patrons (10 inside and 10 outside) as well as sell alcohol to diners.  Cafes and restaurants will need to follow strict hygiene procedures when reopening. 

Friday June 5all pubs across the state will be permitted to open giving hardworking hoteliers and their patrons a much-needed economic and morale boost ahead of the long weekend. The Government will outline the “principles-based approach” to this in coming days.  

This is all about accelerating local economic and jobs recovery, while rewarding South Australians for their outstanding efforts over many weeks in helping stop the spread of this virus.

“Whilst the return of indoor dining and the option of having a drink with your meal is a welcome step towards normality, we must not become complacent about the ongoing need to protect ourselves and each other from COVID-19.  I urge all South Australians to continue to practice the personal health measures that have bought us so much success in controlling COVID-19.

New laws to assist commercial landlords, tenants impacted by COVID-19

New regulations under the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 for commercial leases to protect tenants from eviction and provide greater certainty around dispute resolution and rent relief during this unprecedented crisis.

The regulations, which cover the six-month period from March 30 to September 30 this year, implement key elements of National Cabinet’s Code of Conduct.

Treasurer Rob Lucas said no affected commercial tenant can be evicted for non-payment of rent or outgoings, or for reducing their hours of business during this period.

While landlords and tenants are required to negotiate leasing arrangements in good faith, where there is a dispute, a party may seek mediation by the Small Business Commissioner. If this fails, the matter may then proceed to the Magistrates Court for a determination.  Affected tenants are generally those with an annual turnover of up to $50m and are eligible for, or receiving, the JobKeeper wage subsidy.  To review regulation https://governmentgazette.sa.gov.au/sites/default/files/public/documents/gazette/2020/May/2020_040.pdf 

 

New protections for South Australians during the Covid-19 pandemic 

Speeding up infrastructure projects, ensuring clarity in disputes between commercial landlords and tenants, better supports for mental health and disability clients and moves to better ensure the electricity supply are among the latest legislative measures aimed at keeping South Australians safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Attorney General will today introduce the latest legislative measures to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.The Bill will inlcude: 

  • Reducing red tape to ensure major infrastructure projects can get started sooner, creating more jobs and economic activity across the State. Measures include removing the requirement for the State Commission Assessment Panel to consult with councils on Crown developments 
  • Ensuring that community visitors and the Chief Psychiatrist can visit and inspect mental health and disability services remotely, through audio-visual or other electronic means 
  • Confirming that Standing Committees of State Parliament can meet and hold hearings by audio-visual or teleconferencing 
  • Legislative measures to ensure continued electricity supply to South Australians. 

The Bill also includes regulations that seek to protect both commercial landlords and tenants impacted by COVID-19 and the necessary restrictions imposed to help limit its spread. 

Operation Restore Elective Surgery 

South Australia will begin to fully restore elective surgery from midnight tomorrow.   Substantial increase in the stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has enable the ramping up of elective surgery.  It is projected that public hospitals will be able to ramp back up to normal elective surgery levels by early to mid-next month, as long as it remains =safe to do so, whilst restrictions placed on dentistry will also be lifted. 

The strategy in the first phase is to prioritise those on the waiting lists who have been waiting longest in their urgency categories. 

SA Path Rapid Testing Now Available 

South Australians are now able to get the result from their COVID-19 test in less than 60 minutes at 17 hospitals across the state.  SA Pathology has now delivered its rapid testing service which will be crucial in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. Rapid testing services are now available at all metropolitan hospitals and 10 regional sites around the state.     The regional hospitals include: 

  • Port Pirie
    • SouthernFleurieu (Victor Harbor)
    • Gawler
    • Port Augusta
    • Whyalla
    • Port Lincoln
    • Murray Bridge
    • Berri (Riverland general hospital)
    • Mt Gambier
    • Wallaroo 

SA establishes transition team to manage post COVID-19

To guide the delicate process of both continuing to move out of the COVID-19 health emergency and restore the social and economic health of the State, a broad high-level transition team has been established.  Strong community support has been vital to the success of the public health initiatives so far, and will be important in the way ahead.

The Transition Committee members are:
• Chief Executive, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Jim McDowell (chair);
• Commissioner, South Australia Police, Grant Stevens;
• Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier;
• Chief Executive, Department for Health and Wellbeing, Dr Chris McGowan;
• Chief Executive, Department of Treasury and Finance, David Reynolds
• Chief Executive, Department for Trade and Investment, Leonie Muldoon.   This Committee will look at which restrictions should be eased and in what order.

Respiratory Clinic Open at Clare 

A separate Respiratory Clinic based at the rear of the Clare Medical Centre, is the first in rural South Australia. The clinic is now available to ANY patient in our Mid North Region with respiratory symptoms such as fever, sore throat, dry cough, runny nose, lethargy etc.

With current SA Health guidelines that calls for any patient with respiratory symptoms to be swab tested, this respiratory clinic also means that people have greater and more reliable access to testing.  The clinic will follow up the results of the swab test with each patient and a copy of the test will go to the usual practitioner. In addition a summary of the assessment will also be sent for their records. The patient’s ongoing care is undertaken by the patients usual doctor; the respiratory clinic is for assessment and diagnosis, not for Clare Medical Centre to undertake ongoing review.

There is no out of pocket cost to the patient. Appointments are required to be made by patients via the CMC website (https://www.hotdoc.com.au/medical-centres/clare-SA-5453/clare-respiratory-clinic/doctors), via the HotDoc app or by calling our clinic on (08) 8841 3777. No walk in appointments are possible.

If you have any questions, please call CMC on (08) 8841 3777 and ask to speak with Dr Gerry Considine or Dr Phil Gribble. We will be able to clarify any questions that you have. There is also a Mid North Respiratory Clinic Facebook page with further information.  Kate Dorsey is the Communications Officer at CSAPHN who will be able to provide further details on the Respiratory Clinics around the district.  Contact details are;ls are: kdorsey@countrysaphn.com.au / 0437 324 382

COVIDSafe app available

COVIDSafe, designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus by speeding up the process of identifying people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus, quickly stopping further spread of the virus in the community. The more Australians who connect to the COVIDSafe app, the quicker health authorities can find the virus.  The new COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary.

For more information and to access common questions go to:  https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/school-and-community/coronavirus-contact-app

Medications for South Australians during COVID-19 Pandemic 

South Australians can now access their medication without having to leave their home. Pharmacists now have authority to supply prescription medication without a written paper copy during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a temporary change to regulations allowing the use of digital image-based prescriptions. It is place until 30 September 2020 to support the increased use of Telehealth due to COVID-19. 

Landlords & tenants benefit from extra $50m in land tax relief 

Residential and SME commercial suffering significantly as a result of COVID-19 restrictions will benefit from immediate rent reductions as part of a sweeping land tax relief package for their landlords. Under the emergency scheme, eligible landlords will be offered a 25% reduction on their 2019-20 land tax liability on affected properties. Landlords are then required to pass on the full benefit of the land tax relief to their tenants impacted by COVID-19 restrictionsApplications for the land tax relief are able to be submitted to the end of June 2020 via www.revenuesa.sa.gov.au/ltcovid19relief 

One-Hour Test Results

COVID-19 diagnosis test results will soon be available in less than 60 minutes. Rapid testing capability is being rolled out to all metro and 10 major regional hospitals in the coming weeks, including to the Port Pirie Hospital.

Jobseeker Payment

Coronavirus supplement $550 per fortnight is paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories.  Jobseeker, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Far Household Allowance, Special benefit recipients.

Cost of Living Concessions Boost for Jobseekers

A one-off boost of $500 has been brought forward for all households receiving the Centrelink JobSeeker Payment (one payment per household). For people who are unemployed or who lose their jobs as a result of COVID-19.   This will be a total of $715.10 for homeowners and $607.60 for renters.

Low Income $750 support payments

Two separate $750 support payments will be rolled out to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first payment has been made and the second payment of $750 will be available on 10 July, 2020.

Legal Assistance

Legal Aid is boosting its free assistance for South Australians hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic – they are prioritising legal enquiries related to the pandemic on employment laws, landlord and tenant problems, assistance for victims of family violence, welfare payments, mortgage stress, credit and debt problems, consumer protection, wills, power of attorney documents and advanced care directives, elder abuse, immigration visas and family law disputes over the care of children. Free legal advice of a general nature – 1300 366 424 (business hours); for help for victims of domestic violence, call 1800 246 642 or visit: https://wdvcas.lsc.sa.gov.au/

COVID-19 Testing Boost

Wastewater sampling has been introduced into South Australia to help the State’s public health team identify the extent of COVID-19 infections within the community.

$10,000 emergency grants for small businesses

11,300 small businesses and not for profits impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions have already registered for the State Government’s $10,000 cash grants. Funded from the State Government’s $650m Jobs Rescue Package, the grants will help an estimated 19,000 small businesses and not-for-profits, including eligible sporting and community organisations.

To be eligible, business and not for profits including sporting and community organisation need to:  have annual turnover of more than $75,000 (GST exclusive) and have an annual payroll of less than $1.5 million, and not be entitled to a payroll tax waiver under COVID-19 support measures introduced by the South Australian Government.

Find out more: https://www.treasury.sa.gov.au/Growing-South-Australia/COVID-19 – applications opened on April 20 and will close on June 1, 2020.

Fee relief for fishing industry

For 2020-21 The charter boat sector will have their annual fees waived for six months and the collection of all other commercial fishing and aquaculture sectors’ fees will be deferred for xis months.  Any outstanding 2019/20 fees for all sectors will also be deferred.  The next round of fees will not be collected until January 2021.

 SA Joins National Repatriation Mission

South Australia will participate in a coordinated national operation to repatriate hundreds of the thousands of Australians trying to return home from abroad. SA will receive two flights of returning Australian Citizens and permanent residents who will go into quarantine in SA hotels for 14 days. All passengers will be screened on arrival and only those cleared of COVID-19 symptoms will be taken directly to the quarantine location. Upon completion of their quarantine, passengers who are not South Australians will be helped to return to their home state.