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Hunter Region & Central Coast in lockdown: What does this mean for you?

For those of you not living in a bubble, you are aware that the Hunter region has joined Sydney and Central Coast in a strict stay-at-home lockdown with exemptions. This means the lockdown affects residents living in Sydney, Central Coast, and most recently, the following Local Government Council Areas:

  • City of Newcastle;

  • City of Lake Macquarie;

  • City of Maitland;

  • City of Cessnock;

  • Port Stephens;

  • Muswellbrook;

  • Singleton, and;

  • Dungog

In terms of employment, as a general rule of thumb, everyone ought to stay at home unless:

  • It is not reasonable for the employee to work from home, or;

  • the employee meets the requirements to work at another person’s home

What is open for business during lockdown?

The key purpose of the Public Health Order (PHO) allowing lockdowns is to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Unfortunately, this means that as a rule, the following businesses must close with some exceptions:

  • Pubs, registered clubs, and other hospitality businesses UNLESS they can offer the food or beverages to be eaten take-away;

  • Entertainment facilities, not limited to movie theatres;

  • Indoor recreational facilities UNLESS they are providing educational or childcare services;

  • Religious venues UNLESS providing educational or childcare services;

  • Venues that offer cosmetic services not limited to hairdressers; nail and beauty salons, and tattoo parlours;

  • Massage parlours;

  • Markets UNLESS food is the main selling source;

Also, retail venues must close unless they:

  • Sell groceries;

  • Mainly sell food or drinks, including butchers, bakeries, fruit shops;

  • Are pharmacies;

  • Are kiosks;

  • Mainly sell:

  • Office supplies

  • Pet supplies

  • Newspapers and stationery

  • Alcohol

  • baby items

  • medical items

  • hardware and building

  • mobile repairs

Despite these limitations, retail venues can be open provided they operate:

  • as a service for picking up or returning orders that customers have bought online or via phone

  • as a means of delivering the goods to the customer’s premises after making an order online or over the phone.

Finally, it is noted that the following venues can remain open:

  • Service stations;

  • Banks;

  • post offices;

  • laundromats, and;

  • dry cleaners

Working at a residence in lockdown

It is noted that as a rule, albeit with some exceptions, the lockdown in the Hunter region means that you cannot visit other people’s places. Some of the exception limits you to only have ONE visitor at your place, for the following reasons:

  • fulfilling responsibilities as a carer

  • providing care and support to people who need it, not limited to people with disabilities and the elderly

This means that as a general rule if you live in a house or apartment and are a person with a disability or elderly person that requires support, only ONE person can help. However, after addressing this issue to a local MP, the advice that was given was that if more support was required, it should be fine. This does not apply to group homes that accommodate multiple people with disabilities.

Also, there are certain situations where two workers can attend a person’s premises. This is under the condition that no one aside from the workers are in the same room. The instances in which two workers can work at a person’s premises is:

  • as a cleaner or repair person ONLY if the residence is not occupied AND is necessary for its sale or lease

  • when it is for the installation, maintenance or repair of essential utility, not limited to: internet; water; television, and; landline phone service

  • as a tradesperson or repair person to ensure the premises is safe from fire

  • as a tradesperson, repair person or cleaner to ensure the safety, security or health of the premises or the people living there

  • as a tradesperson, repair person or cleaner in an emergency

Residential Disability Care Facilities Lockdown Obligations

For people with disabilities who are in what is deemed ‘group’ homes or Supported Independent Living (SIL) accommodation, different lockdown restrictions apply to who can visit you. It is noted that the only people allowed aside from staff members and people living there are those that provide essential care. It is also required that all staff check in to the premises using the Services NSW QR App. It is noted that wearing masks are mandatory in these premises unless:

  • A staff member is communicating with another deaf or hearing-impaired person

  • Wearing a mask causes a WHS issue

  • It is unsuitable for people with a disability to do so. In these circumstances, the person with a disability must provide a statutory declaration, medical certificate by a registered health professional or a registered NDIS provider

Now you are aware of what the lockdown in the Hunter region means for you as an employee or employer, keep on the lookout for our next blog addressing the financial relief you can get from the state or federal government to get you through this difficult time.

For more information as the PHO is updated, see

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