To: CCF Victoria staff, members and stakeholders.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update – From the CEO desk.
Firstly may I extend my personal best wishes to you all for the New Year and the 2021 year ahead. I trust many of you are continuing to enjoy holiday time with your family but as you will have seen by recent news reports, the Coronavirus does not discriminate, nor have an appreciation of the holiday festive season.
We have now seen the first new positive cases of community transmission in approximately 2 months, which was recorded on 21 December 2020 at a Thai restaurant in Black Rock. The Victorian border has now closed to NSW and Victorians can only enter if exempted (rare exemptions approved by CHO) or are transiting from another state (most likely Queensland). In either case, returning workers and their families will need a Border Permit, obtained via the DHHS website https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorian-border-crossing-permit.
I am continuing to closely monitor the situation for CCF members while on annual leave in Queensland (returning 14 January 2021) and I would like to acknowledge the work of our Building & Construction Industry Liaison Officer, Michael Paynter, who is continuing to provide me with regular updates from the State Government and DHHS during my absence.
The following is a brief update on the current COVID-19 situation and status report.
Positive Cases and Outbreaks
There were 4 new positive cases recorded yesterday and 3 on Sunday in Victoria – we now have 36 active cases. The case locations and outbreaks, of which there are too many to list, can be found at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/case-locations-and-outbreaks. There are different isolating and testing requirements to observe depending on the location listed.
Our Building & Construction Industry Liaison Officer is receiving several calls about workers wishing to return from holidays from NSW. However, the Victorian border has now closed at NSW and Victorians can only enter if exempted (rare exemptions approved by CHO). The following information is from the DHHS website:
From 11:59pm 3 January 2021 people travelling to Victoria for work can apply for a border entry permit if they are someone who works in:
- Commercial freight services
- Essential services
Note: that the building and construction industry is not an essential service industry.
For those Victorian workers who have already returned home from NSW, there are a number of requirements that must be observed which are outlined on the DHHS website at https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/quarantine-information-victorians-who-have-recently-returned-new-south-wales
Any other Victorian worker wishing to return to Victoria is required to have a border crossing permit and then must isolate at home for 14 days. The border permit can be obtained at https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorian-border-crossing-permit
State of Emergency and DHHS Restrictions
The State of Emergency in Victoria has been extended to 29 January 2021 as there remains a serious risk to public health.
The new DHHS restrictions in place from midnight 31 December 2020 are:
- Number of people who can visit a home per day (either at once or across the day) will be reduced to 15 (excluding members of the household and children under 12 months)
- MASKS will be mandatory indoors. Carry a mask with you and wear it indoors unless you are eating or drinking.
Note: ‘Indoors’ includes offices and crib rooms (when not eating or drinking).
As some building and construction sites re-commence work next Monday, it is important to re-fresh all the Coronavirus protocols that have been so successful in keeping the virus out of our industry since late September last year. If you are safe and well at home, you will be safe and well at work and keeping your fellow workers safe.
It has been reported that the UK strain of the Coronavirus has a quicker transmission than the current strain. This only increases the vigilance to continue to practice good hand hygiene, to maintain the cleaning regime on sites and if sick or have any COVID symptoms, get tested and isolate until you have a negative result.
I will continue to monitor the situation for CCF members over the coming days/weeks and provide you with an update of any relevant information that may impact on our industry as this comes to hand.
Until my next update …. keep well – keep safe.
CEO, CCF Victoria