UPDATE 14 AUGUST 2020: Escalated restrictions in Victoria
Veterinary practices are permitted workplaces: Under the business and industry Stage 4 restrictions which apply to greater Melbourne, 'services connected with animal health, husbandry or welfare, including the RSPCA, are Permitted Work Premises'. Further, under Stage 4 restrictions applying to agriculture, forestry and fishing industries, 'Veterinary clinics and related services, including on-farm visits, animal care services (only where there is a genuine animal welfare issue) and artificial insemination' can stay open if they have a COVIDSafe Plan and employees have Permitted Worker Permits if required.
Can clients take their pets to vets, how far can they travel, and when?
Agriculture Victoria's FAQs for animal carers
say that clients in areas subject to Level 4 restrictions can take an animal to the vet if there is a genuine animal welfare issue (for clients in areas subject to Level 3 restrictions, the advice is similar but does not include 5km or curfew restrictions):
- clients should stay close to home where possible, but may travel beyond 5km to the nearest provider
- during curfew hours (8pm-5am), clients may only leave home to seek emergency veterinary care for their animal
- clients should check in with their veterinary clinic ahead of their appointment as clinics are operating with new rules to ensure they meet physical distancing requirements. Clients are required to wear a face covering. Clients who are unwell, in quarantine or in isolation must not leave home and should contact their veterinary practitioner by phone for advice on what to do to ensure their animal gets the care it needs.
What services can pet owners obtain? See Agriculture Victoria's FAQs for animal carers more information on pet stores, pet groomers, pet boarding facilities, picking up new pets, going to animal shelters or pounds, or exercising horses.
Workplace Directions: Victoria's Public Health Commander has issued Workplace Directions 'to limit the number of Victorians attending work premises to assist in reducing the frequency and scale of outbreaks of 2019-nCOV in Victorian workplaces and to establish more specific obligations on employers and workers in relation to managing the risk associated with 2019-nCOV' [COVID]. The rules in the WorkPlace Directions cover operation of a work premises; preventative measures to reduce the risk of COVID; and responding to suspected and confirmed COVID cases in a work premises. The rules on preventative measures cover: face coverings, COVIDSafe Plan, record-keeping obligations, density quotient (i.e. physical distancing), signage, cleaning, and reducing work across multiple sites.
COVIDSafe Plan: The Workplace Directions require employers with workplaces located in the Restricted Area (currently greater Melbourne) with 5 or more employees to have a COVIDSafe Plan which covers safety, prevention, and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace.
Permitted Worker Permits: To attend a work premises in the restricted area (or outside the restricted area if they live in the restricted area), employees must have in their possession photographic personal identification and a current permitted worker permit issued by a permitted employer to perform a permitted service. See rules in the Permitted Worker Permit Scheme Directions issued by Public Health Commander (link below).
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