Staying safe

Victorians are being asked to be considerate and use common sense when it comes to having family visit – especially those who are more vulnerable.

As we settle into the new normal, it is important to stay safe. That means you should:

  • keep 1.5 metres away from people you don’t live with
  • stay home if you don’t feel well
  • where possible, avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing when greeting people you don’t live with
  • wash your hands regularly with soap and water 
  • cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow
  • avoid touching your face with unwashed hands

Stay at home when you can and limit the number of trips you make away from home.

From 11:59pm on 8 July if you live in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire you must stay at home.

You can only leave home for one of the four reasons:

  • shopping for food and supplies,
  • care and caregiving,
  • exercise,
  • and study and work, if you can’t do it from home.

You should also make sure you get your flu shot. Vaccines are now available from your GP and pharmacy. Call ahead to check availability and to make an appointment. The influenza vaccine is free for people aged 6 months and over with medical conditions putting them at increased risk of severe influenza and its complications, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over and for people aged 65 years and over.

If you have any of the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, you should seek advice and get tested. The symptoms to watch out for are fever, chills or sweats, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose and loss of sense of smell.

To get further advice, call the 24-hour coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398 (free call) or your local doctor. The coronavirus (COVID-19) test is free for everyone.

Current restrictions

For the latest information on restrictions, please call the 24-hour coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398 (free call). Visit Health and Human Services coronavirus website. 

Extra support

For many people, coronavirus (COVID-19) has made it harder to stay connected and to enjoy things they normally would. Staying home can also make practical tasks more difficult, like buying groceries or collecting medicine.

If coronavirus (COVID-19) has made it hard for you to get practical help, or made you feel lonely or isolated, you can call the Victorian Government’s coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 (free call) and the phone will be answered by a friendly volunteer from the Australian Red Cross, who can speak with you about your needs and the help you might need to feel more connected.

The volunteer can also put you in touch with someone in your area who will arrange for you to get the help you need safely and locally.

Some of the things you could ask for help with include:

  • help from a volunteer to run simple errands, including helping to care for a pets or shopping
  • regular chats with someone like-minded and local
  • information about local social activities such as book clubs, craft activities or fitness groups
  • help to ‘get online’ to video chat with family or friends or to access audiobooks from your local library.

Emergency relief packages

If you need to self-quarantine due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and do not have enough food to feed yourself or your family, you may be eligible to receive an emergency relief package. These packages contain only basic supplies and are for people who do not have access to a support network or alternate means of obtaining food such as online delivery.

To request a package or for more information call the coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398 (free call) and select Option 3. The operating hours for this service are between 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 3pm on weekends and public holidays.

Getting groceries delivered

Some supermarkets have arrangements to deliver groceries to you at home, using your Seniors Card.

To access Coles Online Priority Service, visit www.coles.com.au or call 1800 061 562 (free call).

To access Woolworths Priority Assistance, visit www.woolworths.com.au or call 1800 904 698 (free call).

To access the IGA Priority Assistance Program visit www.iga.com.au or call 1800 018 384 (free call).

Independent local food businesses, like butchers, green grocers and restaurants, have been working to make sure people can continue to access quality food. Contact your favourite local shops to find out if they’re providing home delivery.

Home support services

Older Australians can get short-term home support services (such as meals or personal care) in an emergency without having had an aged care assessment. To access emergency aged care services, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 (free call).

Support for carers

Many older people care for others. You might assist a spouse who can no longer do the things they used to or care for adult children who may have an illness or disability, including mental illness. Or you might care for a friend or family member.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may be extra challenging if you are a carer. Help and support is available. The Victorian Support for Carers Program provides support for all carers, including respite. If you need a break or some assistance, call Carers Victoria Advisory Line on 1800 514 845 (free call).

More information and support

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) provide an Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line. Call 1800 171 866 (free call) 8.30am-6pm (AEST) Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays). Contact the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line if you would like to talk about:

  • the COVID-19 restrictions and its impact on you
  • if you are feeling lonely or are worried about a loved one
  • if you are caring for someone and need some information or a listening ear
  • if you need help or advice about changing the aged care services you are receiving
  • if you  need help to access new care services or essential supplies such as shopping
  • if you are living with dementia or are concerned about a friend or family member living with dementia
  • if you would like to arrange a one-off or regular wellbeing check.

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) provides free support to older people to address issues related to Commonwealth funded aged care services. Call OPAN on 1800 237 981 (free call), 6am to 10pm, 7 days a week to discuss any coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.

The Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria provides free support and information to all Victorians aged 50+. For more information call 1300 135 090.

If you are concerned, call the Coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398 (24 hours)

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only