Published on Thursday 06, August 2020

COVID-19 rules for public housing in Flemington, North Melbourne & Carlton

Original document created 5 July 2020.

Updated 10 July, 14 July, 20 July  and 5 August 2020.


This page includes current information about:

The COVID-19 rules that apply to public housing residents
Where to get help
Translated information about how we can help residents

 

Covid-19 rules

On 4 July 2020 the Victorian Government imposed what they called a hard lockdown ('Detention Directions') of nine public housing towers across the Flemington and North Melbourne estates due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

On 9 July 2020 the hard lockdown ended.

However, because 53 people tested positive at 33 Alfred Street North Melbourne, all residents there were then declared ‘close contacts’ and everyone was required to continue an enforced period of self-isolation. This ended for most people at 11.59pm on Saturday 18 July. Some residents were required to self-isolate for longer depending on whether they tested positive, or when they last had contact with someone with COVID-19.

Now, everyone in Melbourne – including people in public housing - must follow the same rules. These are either 'diagnosed person', 'close contact' or 'Stage 4' rules.

This flowchart can help you work out which rules you need to follow (you can download a PDF document with this information and an interactive flowchart here).

 

 

Diagnosed persons

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must self-isolate. This means that you must:

1. Choose where you want to stay for the isolation period and go there immediately.

You can self-isolate at home or at another location. The government should offer you the option of a free hotel, but you do not need to go if you do not want to.

2. Tell anyone else living at the place where you will isolate that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have chosen to isolate there.

3. Tell the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) the address of where you will be isolating and the names of any other people living there. You can contact DHHS on 1800 675 398.

You must stay at that place until DHHS gives you a written notice saying you can leave.

Can I leave my home?

You must self-isolate.

During the isolation period, you can only leave your home:

• to get medical care or medical supplies

• in an emergency (e.g. if you are afraid for your safety or need to go to hospital)

• if required by law (e.g. to go to Court)

You can also leave if you have special permission to visit a patient in hospital or to work in a care facility. 

Can I have people over?

During this time, the only people who can come into your home are:

• people who usually live in your home

• people who are needed to help with medical or personal care (e.g. disability services)

If another person comes to live with you during isolation, you must tell that person that you have been diagnosed with COVID-19. You must also tell DHHS that that person is staying with you.

What if I don't follow the rules?

If you do not follow these rules, you may be fined up to $20,000. It is very important you get legal advice if you have been fined.

 

Close contacts

How do I know if I am a 'close contact'

You are a close contact if you are have been told by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that you are considered to be a close contact of a person with COVID-19.

The Government should also give you a written notice.

Can I leave my home?

You must self-isolate. This means that you must stay at home for the entire isolation period. If you want to stay in a different location (e.g. a hotel), you must tell DHHS (1800 675 398) and go there at the start of the isolation period.

During the isolation period, you can only leave your home:

• to get medical care or medical supplies

• in an emergency (e.g. if you are afraid for your safety or need to go to hospital)

• if required by law (e.g. to go to Court)

You can also leave if you have special permission to visit a patient in hospital or to work in a care facility. 

 

Can I have people over?

During this time, the only people who can come into your home are:

• people who usually live in your home

• people who are needed to help with medical or personal care (e.g. disability services)

When will I finish self-isolation?

You should get a notice from the government that tells you when the isolation period is over. This will be at least 14 days from the date that you were in contact with a person who had COVID-19.

Even if you get a test that says you do not have COVID-19, you need to stay in isolation and follow these rules for the whole period.

If you have taken a COVID-19 test and do not have your result by the end of the isolation period in the close contact notice, you must stay in isolation until you get your test result. If you test positive, you must then follow the 'diagnosed person' rules. 

Do I have to get tested?

No, you do not have to get a COVID-19 test. BUT if the government makes an order or direction requiring you to get a test and you do not comply, you may get a fine.

What if I don't follow the rules?

If you do not follow these rules, you may be fined up to $20,000. It is very important you get legal advice if you have been fined.

 

Stage four restrictions

These rules apply to everyone in metropolitan Melbourne, except for people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.

There are four reasons that you can leave home:

• Shopping for food or other essential items (once per day, within 5km of your home)

• To provide care giving, for compassionate reasons, or to seek medical treatment

• For exercise outdoors, with only one other person (once per day, within 5km of your home, for a maximum of one hour)

• Work or study, if you cannot work or study from home.

Otherwise you must stay home.

Only one person from your home can leave to get goods and services per day. There are some exceptions if you have children or require care or support.

You must not leave your home between 8pm and 5am unless going to work or to provide care and support. You can always leave if there is an emergency or you are concerned for your safety.

There are other rules that apply under Stage Four, including wearing masks. For a full list, see the DHHS page.

Access Easy English has published an Easy English version of the rules here.

 

What help can I get?

You can contact DHHS by calling 1800 675 398 any time. If you need a translator, first call 131 450.

More help

Can I get help for other problems?

You can also call your local community legal centre to speak to a free community lawyer if you are having problems with DHHS or other services, or need help with other problems like:

• Understanding your rights during lockdown

• Your housing

• Your safety or your children's

• Parenting (including moving children between homes)

• Family violence

• Work problems

• Getting fines

• Getting criminal charges or going to court

• Money and paying bills

• Being treated unfairly by the police or others

• Other life problems

To speak with a free community lawyer, call 9328 1885 (9:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday).

If you need an interpreter when you call, say your language and provide your number and the community lawyers will call you back with an interpreter.

Do you have a complaint about police?

If you have any problems with police on any estate, you can speak to a community lawyer on the phone 9328 1885 (9:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday). You can also go to www.covidpolicing.org.au

You can download a PDF file of the COVID-19 rules information here.

 

Other useful resources

What are my rights if I work

JobWatch have put together a fact sheet for public housing residents in lockdown.

 

Translated information

The following information has been translated into multiple languages. Scroll below to find the list of languages. 

 

Legal helpline details

Do you need legal help about your rights and obligation under the COVID-19 restrictions?

Independent free legal phone help for public housing residents in lockdown.

Local community legal centres have set up phone lines if you need legal assistance of any kind.

Call: 9328 1885 for legal assistance of any kind (9:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday). Let us know every language that you speak and we will try to find an interpreter who speaks one of them.

Call or text: 0436 108 871 for urgent matters. This will be monitored regularly. If you need an interpreter, send a text message with your phone number and list every language you speak. They will call you back with an interpreter for one of those languages.

If you have a complaint about the police you can get advice on the 9328 1885 number or go to covidpolicing.org.au.

 

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This means that you must stay at home for the entire isolation period. If you want to stay in a different location (e.g. a hotel), you must tell DHHS (1800 675 398) and go there at the start of the isolation period.