Important community updates

Last Updated: 18 Jan 2022 12:00pm

    Changes to Tasmania’s border process

    18 January

    Public Health have advised that from 12:01am tomorrow, Wednesday 19 January, fully vaccinated travellers who have spent time in low or high-risk areas will no longer be required to register their travel or undertake pre-departure COVID-19 testing when travelling to Tasmania.

    Unvaccinated travellers will still be required to obtain approval to enter Tasmania though the Tas e-Travel system.

    You are considered a fully vaccinated traveller if:

    • you have completed a course of a Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved or recognised COVID-19 vaccine (this includes mixed doses) as listed on the Australian Government Department of Health website; and
    • at least 14 days have passed since the final dose of vaccine in a course of immunisation. Mixed doses count towards being fully vaccinated as long as all vaccines are approved or recognised by the TGA. If you have had two doses of an approved TGA vaccine but not a booster dose, you are still considered fully vaccinated; or
    • you have acceptable proof you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons; or
    • you are under the age of 12 years and two months

    Although fully vaccinated travellers are not required to register their travel to Tasmania from this time, they should ensure they have proof of vaccination with random checks undertaken on arrival.

    Conditions still apply for all travellers from extreme-risk areas – currently no areas are declared extreme-risk.

    Updated operating days for the Hobart Showgrounds and South Launceston COVID-19 testing clinics

    17 January

    Hobart Showgrounds and South Launceston (246-248 Wellington Street, Launceston) COVID-19 testing clinics, operated by Hobart Pathology and Launceston Pathology, are now operating 8.00am - 12:00noon Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

    Until further notice, these testing clinics will not be operating on Wednesdays and Sundays.

    Rapid antigen tests for King Island

    16 January

    Ochre Medical Centre on Kind Island will provide rapid antigen tests (RATs) from Monday, 17 January to Friday, 21 January 2022.

    If you are on Kind Island, you will be able to collect a RAT from 2:45 pm - 5:00 pm each weekday between the 17th and 21st. Ochre Medical Centre is located at 35 Edward Street, Currie.

    Upon arrival, call the Centre on 6462 0200 and remain in your car. A nurse will come out to your car and provide you with a RAT.

    You do not need to register online for a RAT to collect these tests from Ochre. You are eligible for a RAT if you are symptomatic or are a close contact or have been directed to get a test by Public Health.

    PCR Testing is also available by appointment only.

    From Friday, 21 January 2022, King Island residents will need to register online for a RAT.

    COVID Care Package

    14 January

    The COVID Care Package provides assistance to eligible vulnerable Tasmanians and community service organisations.

    Individuals requiring assistance to access or receive delivery of:

    • groceries and essential items, including for babies and children.
    • medicines and pharmaceuticals

    and who (or a family member) are:

    • symptomatic and awaiting a COVID-19 test result
    • are a confirmed COVID-19 case
    • caring for someone who is a confirmed COVID-19 case; or
    • in quarantine because they are a close contact

    may be eligible for the COVID Care Package. The Salvation Army and local community partners will assist with access and delivery of items for eligible recipients.

    For more information and to check eligibility, call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738. Questions about individual circumstances will be asked in order to check eligibility.

    Temporary exemption framework for close contact workers in critical industries

    13 January

    A contingency framework is being put in place to enable workplaces, identified as essential for the supply of critical goods and services to the community, to register for essential staff to be exempt from the quarantine requirement for close contacts if they are identified as a critical worker.

    This contingency framework only applies to businesses within identified sectors. It does not provide exemptions in advance of shortage issues arising and only becomes available once there is a critical shortage to staff due to the quarantine requirement for close contacts.

    The identified sectors are:

    • day procedures centres that fall within the meaning of the Health Services Establishments Act.
    • emergency services – including police, fire and emergency response personnel
    • power, utilities and essential infrastructure services including water, waste and sewage
    • agriculture and fisheries production
    • freight and logistics in relation to essential goods (for example food, beverages, groceries, sanitary products, medication or other medical products)
    • major manufacturing, distribution, and critical supply chains in relation to essential goods (for example food and fuel, supermarket shelf packing and refills but not retail sales)
    • correctional and detention facilities
    • essential commercial cleaning and laundry services (note – excluding residential)
    • public transport services.

    For more information and to register see Framework for critical industries.

    Changes to RAT testing processes

    13 January

    The Department of Health has advised that from 12noon tomorrow, Friday 14 January, the process for eligible people to access a rapid antigen test (RAT) will change.

    From this time eligible people will need to register their details via the online registration form on the coronavirus website. For people living in areas where there is no collection point, once registered an SMS (text message) will be sent providing details on where the allocated RAT test can be collected from.

    This message must be shown on arrival, people will not be able to collect a RAT without registering online. RAT kits will be able to be collected from Saturday 15 Janaury.

    For those that are unable to collect the test for themselves, or have someone collect it for them, a test will be delivered to them.

    Anyone who is unable to use the online registration can call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for assistance.

    RATs are available for free to anyone who is symptomatic, a close contact of a confirmed case or has been directed by Public Health to take one.

    Anyone who returns a positive test result must register their details via the online declaration form to ensure they can access assistance from Public Health. Registering details is also required to access available financial assistance for those that are eligible.

    The Australian Government are also providing RAT kits to people who have a concession card, including a health care card, via pharmacies when stock is available. See Health Care Card for more information.

    If you cannot access or use a RAT, organise a PCR test at a testing clinic or GP clinic. For more information on COVID-19 testing options see Where to get tested or call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

    MyState Bank Arena change in operating hours Sunday 9 January

    8 January

    Due to the temporary road closures for the Cadbury Marathon on Sunday, 9 January, the Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) collection site at the MyState Bank Arena Glenorchy will be changing its operating hours.

    New operating hours for Sunday, 9 January are 12:00pm to 8:00pm.

    The MyState Bank Arena RAT collection site will reopen normal operating hours from Monday, 10 January (8:00am – 4:00pm).

    See Testing for COVID-19 for clinic and collection locations.

    Rapid antigen tests for people who are symptomatic or close contacts

    8 January

    Rapid antigen tests (RAT) are available for people who are SYMPTOMATIC or have been identified as a CLOSE CONTACT of a COVID-19 confirmed case.

    You can collect a RAT from the following sites between 8am to 4pm daily:

    • MyState Bank Arena, Glenorchy
    • Tasmania Police Academy, Rokeby
    • Silverdome, Launceston – Saturday 8 January
    • Ulverstone Sports and Leisure Centre - Saturday 8 January to Monday 10 January
    • Penguin, Dial Regional Sports Complex, Penguin – Tuesday 11 January to Friday 14 January

    Please note, these collection points are not for people who DO NOT have symptoms or people who HAVE NOT been deemed a close contact of a positive case. Please DO NOT try to collect RATs unless you are symptomatic or a close contact.

    Remember, if you get a positive RAT result, you must register your positive test result via the online form. This will ensure you can get help from Public Health Services and the COVID@home team during your illness.

    Proof of registration of your result will also be required for financial assistance and leave applications if you are an employee.

    Update to close contact definition and listing of exposure sites

    7 January

    The Department of Health advised that due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, COVID-19 exposure sites will no longer be published.

    Check in TAS will continue to be used as part of the contact tracing process and to identify individuals who have been at high-risk venues, workplaces or attended a large event.

    The Department of Health will notify patrons via SMS if they have attended a high-risk venue where positive cases have been present and that they need to quarantine and take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test (RAT).

    RATs that are required to be used under Department of Health requirements will be free to anyone in Tasmania in the same way that PCR testing is. If you are unable to obtain a RAT, book a PCR test. You can register online or call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

    Tasmania has also adopted the national definition of a close contact as a person who usually lives with or who has visited the same household for more than 4 hours as a COVID-19 case during their infectious period. In addition, where a significant transmission event has been documented Public Health may consider those who were at the site or venue to be close contacts.

    All Tasmanians should assume that when they are at a gathering, visiting a business or meeting with friends, there is a high chance that they could be exposed to the COVID-19 virus. It is important everyone continues to follow COVID-safe behaviours to help reduce the chance of catching and spreading the disease.

    Rapid antigen testing

    6 January

    Tasmania will shortly be moving to rapid antigen testing as the primary diagnostic tool to detect cases of COVID-19. Full details of this change will be updated tomorrow, Friday 7 January 2022.

    This means people who test positive on a rapid antigen test (RAT) will be considered as a case of COVID-19 and be subject to the same requirements as cases confirmed by a PCR test.

    RATs required to be used under Department of Health rules (for people that are symptomatic or a close contact) will be free to anyone in Tasmania in the same way that PCR testing has been and will continue to be.

    Anyone who is symptomatic or a close contact of a COVID-19 case should first test themselves with a RAT, if one is available, or otherwise seek a PCR test if unable to obtain a RAT.  You can obtain a RAT by calling the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.  Bookings for PCR testing can be made online or by calling the Public Health Hotline.

    If you test positive on a RAT, you must register your positive test result. From 7pm today you will be able to register your result here. Registration will ensure you can access assistance from Public Health Services and the COVID@home team during your illness.

    Proof of registration of your result will also be required for financial assistance and leave applications if you are an employee. Anyone that registers a positive RAT result will receive the same support and care as if you tested positive on a PCR test, but you must register your RAT so that Health knows who you are and to record your case.

    People who already have a positive RAT result in recent days will be able to use this registration mechanism to obtain information and assistance.

    Importantly, PCR testing will remain available for people who cannot access a RAT, are unable to use a RAT, or are having trouble interpreting a RAT result.  Tasmania’s PCR testing capacity will continue to be maintained to continue responding to the current level of transmission.

    The Government has secured an increased supply of RATs and a statewide distribution model is being finalised to ensure people who are symptomatic and close contacts can access these widely around the State including regional locations.

    In coming weeks, pharmacists will be distributing RATs to specified concession card holders that are not symptomatic or close contacts.

    Further information will be provided on Friday 7 January 2022 as we work through the details of this significant testing change.

    New COVID-19 testing clinic in Kingston

    4 January

    The Department of Health advises a new COVID-19 testing clinic is being provided to assist with increased demand for COVID-19 testing.

    A drive through testing clinic will be available at the Kingborough Sports Centre from tomorrow, Wednesday 5 January.

    The clinic is operated by TML Pathology and will be open 10am to 4pm weekdays. No bookings are required, just drive up to get tested.

    Getting a COVID-19 PCR test at a testing clinic is important if you have cold or flu-like symptoms, or you have received a positive result from a rapid antigen test.

    Demand for testing continues to be high in many areas of Tasmania, if you are not able to wait at a clinic, please go online and register for a test appointment in Hobart or Launceston. For people with symptoms, you can also book an appointment at a GP Respiratory Clinic.

    To find out more about testing options and clinic opening hours, see Where to get tested.

    Book your vaccine online now

    31 December

    Whether you need a first, second or booster dose, you can book an appointment at one of our state-run vaccination clinics in just a few easy steps.

    Take a look at our step-by-step guide to find out how to register for an online account, how to access an existing account, and how to book an appointment.

    Vaccinations are also available from participating GPs and pharmacies. Find one near you by visiting the Health Direct website

    Close contact definition changing from 1 January

    31 December

    Changes to the definition and requirements of close contacts are being made from 1 January 2022, in line with national changes.

    You will be considered a close contact if you have spent four hours or longer with a COVID-19 case in a household or household-like setting, and required to quarantine for seven days regardless of vaccination status and have a rapid antigen test (RAT) on days one and six.

    Under the new model, some positive cases will only need to isolate for seven days, rather than 10, if advised by Public Health based on their specific circumstances. They may be required to wear a mask and avoid vulnerable settings for a set period after leaving isolation.

    Read more about requirements of close contacts.

    COVID-19 exposure and case notifications

    26 December

    Tasmanian Public Health Services are adapting how cases and their contacts will be notified of their exposure to COVID-19.

    Public Health are asking all cases to notify their household and close contacts that they have been exposed to COVID 19. Contacts are required to quarantine immediately and get tested.

    Close contacts must quarantine for 7 or 14 days dependant on whether they are vaccinated.

    Cases are also asked to notify their workplaces if they were working while infectious, these workplaces should implement their Case and Outbreak  Management Plans and use the risk matrix to assess close contacts on their sites.

    Close contacts will receive a text message from Public Health outlining what they are required to do and further information can be read at Advice for case contacts | Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

    COVID-19 boosters can be given from four months after the second dose from 4 January 2022

    24 December

    Today the Australian Government’s advisory group on vaccinations has advised that COVID-19 boosters can be given from four months after the second dose of vaccine – down from five months – as of 4 January 2022.

    This change will make tens of thousands more Tasmanians eligible for a booster in January on top of the 100,000 who have already become eligible.

    We are working hard to make more appointments available in state-run clinics to meet the extra demand and additional days will be added in the coming weeks.

    The booking system for state-run clinics will be updated to allow for a four-month booster interval in due course.

    Please note, the recommended interval is the start of your eligibility and doesn’t mean you are overdue after this point.

    Read the full statement by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation.

    Vaccination requirements for early childhood workers

    24 December

    The Director of Public Health has issued a public health direction requiring vaccination against COVID-19 for people working across early childhood facilities.

    The vaccination requirement will apply to all workers in early facilities, including long day care, family day care, out of school hours care, occasional care and in-home care. Permanent, temporary, casually employed, contracted or voluntary workers will all be included.

    Additionally, anyone who enters a childcare setting will also be subject to the vaccination requirements.

    The Direction does not apply to persons who might be on sites to deliver goods, provide maintenance (for example delivery drivers, tradespeople, or construction workers) or parents that are only entering the setting to drop off or pick up children, or where the care is taking place in a residential premises, such as family day care, and the premises is the person’s home and they are not an early childhood worker.

    Early childhood workers will be required to have their first vaccination by 8 January 2022, and a second dose by 5 February 2022 and provide proof of vaccination to their employer

    To find out how to get proof of vaccination go to Vaccine Status and Evidence, and for information on how to book your vaccination, go to COVID-19 Vaccination.

    See early childhood workers for more information on the new requirements.

    Additional COVID-19 testing clinics

    21 December

    The Department of Health advises that additional testing clinics are being provided to assist with increased demand for COVID-19 testing.

    A drive through testing clinic opened at the Youngtown Primary School carpark in Launceston today. The clinic is operated in partnership with TML Pathology and will be open between 12noon to 5pm weekdays. Just drive up to get tested.

    Two temporary mobile testing clinics will be available for appointments at Riverside High School in Riverside (Launceston) and Police Academy at Rokeby (Hobart). These clinics will operate between 10am to 5pm on Wednesday 22 December and 8:30am to 3:30 pm daily from Thursday 23 December.

    Bookings required for mobile testing clinics, register online or call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

    Additionally the opening hours at the Hobart Macquarie Point, Hobart Showgrounds, Launceston and South Launceston drive through clinics have also been extended over the coming days to help meet the demand.

    To find out more about testing options and clinic opening hours, see Where to get tested.

    Masks required in indoor locations

    19 December

    From 12.01am Tuesday 21 December 2021 face masks must be worn by everyone aged 12 and over when in public indoor settings in Tasmania.

    Masks provide an additional layer of protection against COVID-19 for both yourself and others around you.

    Face masks are required to be worn when visiting:

    • indoor workplaces such as offices
    • education settings for example university buildings or schools
    • indoor businesses and shops such as supermarkets, restaurants or pubs
    • indoor service settings such as banks or pharmacies
    • public transport such as a bus, taxis or in a rideshare

    Masks are not required to be worn outdoors, unless attending a large event where masks are already required. You may choose to wear a mask outdoors as an additional safety measure against COVID-19.

    When at home or visiting someone else in their home, a mask is not mandatory.

    Masks may be removed to eat or drink but must be put back on immediately after you have finished.  There are certain exceptions to wearing a mask, including for certified medical reasons. Reasons for not wearing a mask are not always obvious, so please be respectful of others.

    For more information on the mask wearing requirement, please see Mandatory mask wearing in public.

    Updated requirements for visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities

    16 December

    The Public Health Direction for Residential Aged Care Facilities No.17 has been updated, requiring all visitors who enter and remain on the premises of a residential aged care facility, to wear a face mask and if not fully vaccinated to provide evidence of a negative test. This requirement was updated on 15 December 2021.

    All persons visiting a residential aged care facility, except for residents, must wear a surgical face mask while they remain on the premises. This requirement includes children under the age of 12 years, where practical.

    The Public Health Direction also requires all visitors to a residential aged care facility who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to provide evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the intended visit to the facility.

    The testing requirement applies to all persons, regardless of age (except for infants under up to 28 days old), and there are no exemptions for a vaccine medical contraindication.

    An exemption may be provided in the case of end-of-life care.

    See Aged care facility visits for more information.

    COVID-19 booster advice

    12 December

    The Tasmanian Department of Health is working through the announcement regarding COVID-19 boosters at five months from the second dose. Read the announcement from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).

    This website will be updated with booking arrangements for a five-month booster once they have been finalised.

    In the meantime, if you have an existing appointment for a booster at six months from your second dose, please keep that appointment.

    Check in TAS card now available

    3 December

    Community members who do not own a smartphone or are unable to download or use the Check in TAS app, can now register for a Check in TAS card.

    This free card contains a unique QR code which can be scanned at businesses and venues across Tasmania.

    The Check in TAS card also has an individual’s details on their card, and will provide a quick and private option for checking in. Data collected from the card is the same as when using a smartphone for checking in, and is stored directly with the Department of Health Tasmania

    Apply for a Check in TAS card via the online form, or contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 for assistance. Applying for a Check in TAS card can be done on behalf of an individual if they are unable to do so.

    The Check in TAS card cannot be used at locations where there is no one to assist with scanning of the card, alternative check-in methods including someone else in group checking in with their phone or using pen and paper remain available.

    For more information visit Check in TAS

    Businesses may scan a patron's card by using the 'business profile' section of the Check in TAS app.

    Deadline for vaccine requirements

    29 November

    The Tasmanian Government has adopted recommendations from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) for certain workers to be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In Tasmania, workers in quarantine facilities, health settings, the disability sector and aged care will need to be vaccinated to perform their roles.

    The Director of Public Health has updated the Vaccination Requirements for Certain Workers direction, which has set a deadline for all sectors. If you are legally required to be vaccinated in accordance with the Direction you must have received all of the doses of the vaccine before 8 January 2022 (last date for second dose must be 7 January 2022).

    The requirements relating to a medical contraindication remain the same.

    If you have any queries regarding this please email or call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.