27 May 2021
As a result of an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past week, the Victorian Government has imposed new restrictions which comes into effect from 11:59pm tonight (27 May 2021) across all of Victoria. The Government has indicated that this lockdown will extend for seven days until 11:59pm Thursday 3 June.
There will only be five reasons to leave home:
- Shopping for necessary goods and services
- Care giving and compassionate reasons (including to access health care)
- Exercise (limited to two hours per day)
- Authorised work and permitted education
- To get vaccinated.
Shopping and exercise are limited to a 5km radius from home. Facemasks must be worn at all times when outside of the home. There will be no private or public gatherings, and schools will revert to remote teaching (except for vulnerable children and children of essential workers).
The Government has indicated that dental practitioners are authorised health service providers, and are permitted to undertake procedures and surgical treatment in the management of patients with urgent needs that include:
- Facial swelling
- Intra-oral swelling
- Facial trauma
- Dental trauma
- Significant/constant/uncontrollable pain.
All non-urgent care must be deferred. It is important to carefully screen patients prior to emergency treatment to ensure that they have not been at one of the exposure sites.
This is a timely reminder that vaccination remains a vital tool in the fight against COVID-19.
If you are aged 50 years and over, you can access the AstraZeneca vaccine through a State vaccination centre or your GP. If you are under 50 years of age and eligible, you can access the Pfizer vaccine by booking at a State vaccination centre.
The Department of Health has an information webinar on vaccines on Thursday 10 June from 11am to 12pm with Professor Ben Cowie, Senior Medical Advisor and Executive Director, COVID-19 Immunisation Program, Department of Health on the panel. More information and registration details here.
HR implications for dental practices
The ADA’s HR Advisory Service has provided a range of options for dental practices to consider in relation to staffing during this period of interruption:
- The practice can continue to pay permanent staff (casual employees have no entitlement to pay if they do not work), and may direct that they perform training or other forms of services from home.
- The practice and employees can agree to take paid annual leave, long service leave, or leave without pay during this period. Any such agreement should be reflected in writing.
- A practice can implement a section 524 stand down, without pay, if the practice cannot operate given the limitation of emergency procedures only. You must meet certain requirements to do this. Review the COVID-19 Portal for template material and correspondence, and contact the ADA’s HR Advisory Service if further specific support is required.
Practices are strongly encouraged to actively engage with their employees of the nature and effect of the restrictions, and what approach the practice intends to take in response.
If you are forced to consider employee stand down or are impacted by stand down provisions and need individual advice, ADA members should contact the ADA’s HR Advisory Service on 1300 232 462.