COVID-19 Lockdown FAQs

People have been telling me they are finding the NSW stay at home restrictions confusing and a little unclear at times.

 

The most important thing we can do to all stay safe, and to protect our essential frontline workers is to STAY AT HOME.

 

We want to get out of lockdown as quickly as possible, and every day you stay at home helps a little bit more.

Still, people have complex lives, and there are some questions I am hearing from many people.

 

In the first instance, please contact Service NSW (13 77 88) – open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have to be on hold, call back later or put your phone on speaker and do something else while you wait.

 

Now is not the time to look for loopholes and ways around restrictions.

Please check the NSW Government’s restriction summary here for detailed advice.

Here are some of the questions I have had on a regular basis, and the answers we have had confirmed by the Minister’s office or Service NSW.

 

This is not legal advice, and the Police have wide powers of discretion. Please be aware that fines have increased significantly for breaches of the Public Health Order.

 

Contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 (open 24/7) or visit www.nsw.gov.au/Covid-19 for more information.

This information was published at 1:00pm, 17 August 2021.

Included in these FAQs are questions on:

Current NSW restrictions


Q: Is all of NSW in lockdown?

A: Yes, all of NSW entered a 1-week lockdown from 5pm on 14 August 2021. You must stay home unless you have a reasonable excuse to leave.

Q: Can I leave the house to get tested for COVID-19?

A: Yes. Leaving the house for a COVID-19 test is allowed and you must get tested if you have even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms.

Q: Where can I get tested?

A: Testing for COVID-19 is free. Maitland has three privately operated drive in testing facilities, at Telarah, East Maitland and the Maitland Showground.  You can also get tested at the Maitland Hospital but you must call in advance on 4964 7497 to make an appointment.

 

For all NSW testing locations and opening times, click here.  

 

Q: Can I leave the house to get my COVID-19 vaccination?

A: Yes.  Leaving the house for a COVID-19 vaccination is allowed and I encourage you to get vaccinated if you are eligible.

 

Q: Where can I get vaccinated?

A: You can find your nearest vaccination clinic by completing the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker, click here.

Q: What is a reasonable excuse?

A: A reasonable excuse is if you need to

  • obtain food or other goods and services locally

  • leave home to go to work if

    • you cannot reasonably work from home  and

    • the business is allowed to be open

  • leave home for education if it is not possible to do it at home

  • exercise and take outdoor recreation in the local government area you live in or 5km from your home.

  • go out for medical or caring reasons, including obtaining a COVID-19 vaccination.

 

For the full list of reasonable excuses to leave your home, click here

Q: Can I have visitors to my home besides being vaccinated or tested?

A: Generally, you cannot have any visitors to your home unless it is for caring reasons, you are in an intimate relationship but do not live together or you are in a ‘singles bubble’ together.

For a full list of reasonable visitors, click here.

Q: What do I do if I have shared parenting arrangements in place?

A: You may leave your home or temporary accommodation to facilitate arrangements for access to, and contact between:

  • parents and children or siblings or

  • children under the age of 18 who do not live in the same household as

    • their parents or siblings or 

    • one of their parents or siblings.


Q: Can I still go to work?

A: You can leave home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home and if the business is allowed to be open.

For further information, click here.


Q: Can I still send my children to school?

A: According to the NSW Department of Education, parents and carers across all regional NSW and Greater Sydney must keep children at home unless they need to be at school. Schools (including outside-of-school-hours care) are open for any child that needs it. Please reach out to your school directly to seek further clarification on your specific situation.


Q: Where can I go shopping for essentials?

A: NSW Health has listed essential shopping as a reasonable excuse to leave home. My understanding of the restrictions is that you can shop in your local government area (LGA) or, if outside your LGA, within 5 kilometres of home.


Only 1 person per household may leave their home to shop for food or other goods and services (you may take a dependent person with you if that person cannot be left at home on their own). 

For more detail on the rules on shopping, click here.

Q. I have a business - can I stay open? 

A: Most retail premises must close to the public. But there is a list of businesses on the Services NSW website that can remain open. Businesses providing essential products and services that can be open include:

  • supermarkets

  • grocery stores including

    • butchers, bakeries, fruit and vegetable, seafood

    • other food or drink retailers that predominantly sell or display food or drinks

  • kiosks and other small food and drink premises

  • petrol stations

  • banks and financial institutions

  • hardware, building supplies

  • landscaping material supplies

  • agricultural and rural supplies 

  • shops that, in the normal course of business, operate as or sell and display

    • pet supplies

    • newsagents

    • office supplies

    • chemists providing health, medical, maternity and baby supplies or

    • liquor stores

  • post offices

  • garden centres and plant nurseries

  • vehicle hire premises, not including the premises at which vehicles are sold;

  • shops that predominantly carry out repairs of mobile phones

  • laundromats and drycleaners.

 

I know there are a lot of businesses that do not fit under these categories and if you are still unsure if you can operate, you can go to the NSW Public Health Orders (click here) or get in touch with Service NSW – 137788 (lines open 24/7). 

Further details of businesses that are allowed to be open, click here.

Q: Where can I exercise?

A: NSW Health has listed exercise as a reasonable excuse to leave home, however you must stay within your local government area. You can only cross into another area, within 5km of your home (for people on the borders of LGAs). You can only exercise with one other person that you do not live with, or your nominated visitor (singles bubble).

For rules on exercise, click here.

Q: Can I continue to have people visit my home for services such as renovation (alterations or additions), repair, maintenance or cleaning?

A: This is referred to as 'Prescribed work'. Prescribed work is renovation (alterations or additions), repair, maintenance or cleaning work. This includes maintenance services such as gardening, swimming pool, and pest control services.

You do not need an exemption or confirmation from the NSW Government to do prescribed work or other work that is allowed.

 

Prescribed work does not include renovations at unoccupied homes. The rules for construction applies to renovations at unoccupied homes.

For more information, click here.


Q: When do I have to wear a mask?

A: You are required to carry a face mask with you at all times in NSW. You must wear your face mask:

  •       In all indoor areas of non-residential premises.

  •       At certain outdoor gatherings.

  •       If you are on public transport.

  •       In a major recreation facility such as a stadium.

  •       If you are working in a hospitality venue.

  •       In indoor and outdoor areas of construction sites, except when an exemption applies such as when wearing a face mask creates a safety issue or where there is a worksite emergency.

  •       When working in an outdoor area.

  •       Face masks must be worn at indoor or outdoor areas of a fresh food market.

  •       In most common areas of residential buildings.

 

For further information, click here.


Q: What is a singles bubble?

A: If you live alone – which means there are no other adults who live in the same home – you can have a nominated visitor. At this stage, if you live in Maitland, you do not need to register your nominated visitor. The nominated visitor must reside in the same local government area as you.

For full details on the singled bubble, click here.


Q: Can I still move house?

A: The NSW Government has listed “move to a new place of residence, or between your different places of residence” as a reasonable excuse to leave your home.

For further details, click here.


Q: Can accommodation stay open?

A: I have been advised that hotels and motels will not be closed, but will be limited to in-room dining only.

Caravan parks and camping grounds will be closed unless they are accommodating permanent residents, overnight travellers, persons working in local area or other persons who have no other place of permanent residence. People can continue in caravan bookings made before 15 August 2021.

For further Information, click here.

Q: Can I leave the house to get tested for COVID-19? And where can I get tested?

A: Leaving the house for a COVID-19 test is allowed and you must get tested if you have even the mildest COVID-19 symptoms.

For NSW testing locations, click here.  

Q: Can I leave the house to get my COVID-19 vaccination? And where can I get vaccinated?

A: Leaving the house for a COVID-19 vaccination is allowed and I encourage you to get vaccinated if you are eligible.

You can find your nearest vaccination clinic by completing the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker, click here.

 

Support available for NSW residents

 

Q: Can I get support if I have lost work due to the lockdown?

A: According to the Services Australia website, you will be able to claim the COVID-19 Disaster Payment from Sunday 22 August 2021 if you're in an area impacted by the 14 August 2021 NSW lockdown, and you've lost income or hours of work.

Eligibility can be complex and I encourage you to check your eligibility here, click here.

Services Australia is a Commonwealth Government agency, and if you require assistance with the COVID-19 Disaster Payment, please contact your local Federal Member of Parliament.

Q: Is support available if I have been forced to self-isolate due to being in contact with someone who has COVID-19?

A: Yes, if you have been directed to isolate by NSW Health and if you're in an area impacted by the 14 August 2021 NSW lockdown.

Eligibility can be complex and I encourage you to check your eligibility, click here.

Q: Am I eligible for the NSW Government’s Test and Isolate Support Payment?

A: The NSW Government’s $320 Test and Isolate Support Payment currently only applies to eligible people in the specific LGAs listed on the NSW Government’s website here. 

 

I am advocating to have Maitland to be included in the list of eligible LGAs. 

Q: I operate a business in NSW that has been affected by the latest lockdown, can I get any extra for support?

A: Yes, the NSW Government has announced many support measures for businesses impacted by the lockdown. 

 

There are many different kinds of support available for different businesses. I encourage you to visit their website for further details, click here.
 

If you are having difficulty accessing these payments, please contact my office (maitland@parliament.nsw.gov.au) and provide the following information:

  • your name, residential address, email and mobile phone number

  • a detailed description of your circumstances and your question

  • if relevant, any details on any application for financial support that you have made to Service NSW (please use reference numbers where possible—no need to attach the application itself or other personal info)

Rules for self-Isolation

 

Q: What is the difference between a stay-at-home order and self-isolating/quarantine?

A: If you are under a stay-at-home order you must follow the current NSW Health restrictions.

If you are required to self-isolate/quarantine, you must remain in self-isolation until NSW Health has advised you can leave.


Q: When do I have to self-isolate?

A: You must self-isolate if you are a close or casual contact of a positive COVID-19 case, a household contact of someone who has been a close or casual contact of a positive COVID-19 case (AKA a secondary close or casual contact) or if you are otherwise informed by NSW Health.

For further information, click here


Q: What do I need to do if I am a close contact of a COVID-19 case?

A: If you have been to a CLOSE CONTACT location during the times specified you MUST immediately get tested, contact NSW Health and QUARANTINE for 14 days regardless of the test result or until you are contacted by ACT Health.

Quarantine restrictions for close contacts, click here.

If you attended any of the venues identified at the times listed, please contact NSW Health immediately on 1800 943 553.

Find your nearest NSW testing location, click here.  


Q: What do I need to do if I am a close contact of a COVID-19 case?

A: If you have been to a CASUAL CONTACT location during the times specified you MUST immediately get tested, contact NSW Health and QUARANTINE until you have received a negative test result or until you are contacted by the relevant Health department. Once you receive a negative test result you MUST continue to follow the current NSW stay-at-home orders.

Quarantine restrictions for casual contacts, click here.

If you attended any of the venues identified at the times listed, please contact NSW Health immediately on 1800 943 553.

Find your nearest NSW testing location, click here.  


Q: What if I am a household contact of someone who is self-isolating?

A: If you are in the same household of someone who is self-isolating you will be considered as a secondary close or casual contact and must follow the same restrictions that they are.

  • Further details on secondary close contacts, click here.

  • Further details on secondary casual contacts, click here.