Important community updates

Last Updated: 30 Jun 2022 5:59pm

    Public Health Emergency Declaration to end

    30 June

    The Public Health Emergency Declaration in response to COVID-19 will end in Tasmania from 12.01am Friday 1 July 2022.

    Although the Emergency Declaration will end, it is important to be aware that COVID-19 is still present in the Tasmanian community meaning that COVID-19 safe behaviours from individuals, businesses and workplaces remain just as important.

    Everyone should take an active role in assessing their own risk of COVID-19 and what they can do to reduce that risk.

    Although many COVID-19 restrictions and requirements have already been lifted, some measures will remain in place through Public Health Orders under the Public Health Act 1997.

    Measures that remain in place from 1 July 2022:

    • positive cases are still required to isolate for at least 7 days
    • close contacts are still required to follow close contact rules, including testing daily if leaving their home and wearing a mask when outside their home
    • anyone with symptoms, even mild, should still stay at home, get tested and report a positive RAT. The Department of Health will continue providing testing for COVID-19 including access to PCR testing and RATs.
    • workplaces need to continue to include COVID-19 as part of workplace health and safety practices and consider what they can do to reduce risks .
    • masks are no longer mandated in most settings but are still recommended.
    • COVID-safe behaviours are still recommended, including physical distancing and wearing a mask where it is not possible or where there are individuals who are at risk of severe illness

    Measures that are changing from 01 July 2022:

    • Public Health no longer require vaccination for certain workers, but individual workplaces may require vaccination as part of their workplace health and safety practices.
    • some settings, as part of their workplace health and safety risk assessments may keep requirements for some COVID-19 safety measures to protect those who are at risk from respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 and flu.
    • The current wastewater surveillance program will be stood down as it is most useful as an early warning for outbreaks during low community transmission. The program capability in Tasmania will be maintained to allow it to be recommenced if needed.


    Face mask changes

    23 June

    From 12:01 on Saturday 25 June 2022, face masks will no longer be required in schools, early childhood centres or on public transport (including the Spirit of Tasmania vessel and its terminals).

    Some public transport providers, schools and child care centres may still require face masks to be worn based on their individual risk assessment.

    Although wearing face masks will no longer be required in these settings, individuals can choose to continue wearing masks if they wish.

    From 1 July 2022, the requirement to wear face masks in all remaining settings, such as hospitals, residential aged care facilities, disability providers and correctional facilities, will be based on individual risk assessments for each of these settings.

    Close contacts will still be required to wear face masks when they are in indoor settings outside the home.

    Face masks, along with other COVID-safe behaviours, remain an important way to help reduce the risk of COVID-19. Although not mandatory, mask wearing is still strongly recommended in public places, especially where physical distancing is not possible.


    New operating hours for the Burnie COVID-19 Testing Clinic

    20 June

    From Saturday, 25 June 2022 the Burnie COVID-19 Testing Clinic will open from 9am-1pm, seven days a week, for PCR testing and distribution of Rapid Antigen Tests.

    Due to a decrease in demand for Rapid Antigen Tests, collection outside of these hours will no longer be available.

    To make a booking for a PCR Test or to organise collection of a Rapid Antigen Test please call the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or visit testing for COVID-19.


    Face masks recommended but not required at airports from Saturday 18 June 2022

    15 June

    Wearing of face masks in Tasmania’s airport terminals will no longer be required from 12:01am on Saturday 18 June 2022.

    Wearing of facemasks will still be required on board all aircraft across Australia. Airline passengers should continue to carry masks with them at all times when travelling.

    Masks will also not be required in schools, early childhood centres, on public transport or on the Spirit of Tasmania vessel or in its terminals from 12.01am on Saturday 25 June 2022.  However, some public transport providers and child care centres (staff and parents only) may still require them based on individual risk assessments for those settings.

    From 1 July 2022, the requirement to wear face masks in all other remaining settings such as hospitals, residential aged care facilities, disability providers and correctional facilities will be based on individual organisational risk assessments for each of these settings.

    Facemasks will still be required to be worn by close contacts when they are in indoor settings outside the home.

    Face masks, along with other COVID-safe behaviours, remain an important way to help reduce the risk of COVID-19. Although not mandatory, mask wearing is still strongly recommended in airport terminals and other indoor settings, especially where physical distancing is not possible.


    New protocols for operating cruise ships in Tasmania

    15 June

    New protocols for Tasmania are in place to guide the operation of cruise ships in relation to COVID-19 when the season restarts in October this year.

    The Tasmanian protocols include best practice measures around COVID-19 vaccination, testing, mask wearing, outbreak management and communications, and are closely aligned with the Eastern Seaboard Cruise Protocols.

    Entry of all cruise ships to Tasmania was paused in March 2020 and visits by small, domestic cruise ships with fewer than 100 passengers resumed in December 2021. The national ban on international cruising was lifted in April 2022 and most Australian jurisdictions have since announced plans to support the return of cruise ships.

    Read the Tasmanian cruise protocols.


    Free flu shots at GP clinics and pharmacies for 4 weeks from 6 June 2022

    2 June

    The Tasmanian Government will provide flu vaccinations for free across GP clinics and Pharmacies for 4 weeks from this Monday, 6 June 2022.

    This initiative extends the current National Immunisation Program and State-run Community clinics to provide for a universal free vaccine program for 4 weeks until 6 July 2022. This initiative will assist with access to flu vaccination for all Tasmanians and limit the spread and seriousness of the influenza season as flu cases start to rise in the state.

    This program supplements the National Immunisation Program (NIP) which provides the vaccine free of charge for those aged 65+, for children under 5 and for people any age who have a range of medical conditions.

    The Department of Health will continue to run community clinics, which will include areas where access to GPs and pharmacies is limited.

    From 6 June 2002, the Tasmanian Government will cover the vaccine and related administration costs at GPs and pharmacies.  The usual Medicare arrangements will apply for the GP consultation.

    If you haven’t yet received your flu shot, make an appointment now to take advantage of this scheme and to ensure GPs and pharmacies are able to manage stock and available appointments.

    And as a reminder, Free Flu vaccine will be available for:

    • 10 years and older at participating pharmacies
    • 6 months and older at GPs and community clinics

    And don’t forget if you are due for a COVID-19 booster dose, you can have this at the same time, or on the same day, as your flu shot.

    A simple claim process will be put in place to allow GPs and pharmacies to make claims as they deliver the doses.

    For more information about flu vaccination go to Flu vaccinations on the Health website.


    Extension of the Public Health Emergency Declaration

    29 May

    The Director of Public Health, Dr Mark Veitch, has declared a further extension of the Public Health Emergency Declaration under the Public Health Act 1997 until 30 June 2022.

    The Director made the initial Public Health Emergency Declaration in relation to COVID-19 on 17 March 2020. Since then it has been extended, most recently on 4 April 2022 for 8 weeks until 30 May 2022.

    The Director has determined that the public health threat posed by COVID-19 will soon be manageable with workplace health and safety practices, cases and contacts managed as are other notifiable communicable diseases using non-emergency powers of the Public Health Act 1997, and community practice of COVID-safe behaviours.

    Existing emergency directions remain in place, including requirements to isolate if you test positive to COVID, register a positive COVID test result, and follow close contact rules.

    Over the coming weeks Tasmanians will be provided with more information about what will change, what will stay the same, and what we all still need to do keep our communities safe from harm from COVID-19.

    The Director of Public Health may end the Public Health Emergency Declaration sooner than 30 June, or extend it beyond this time, if required.


    ATAGI expands COVID-19 winter dose recommendation

    27 May

    People who are at greatest risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are now recommended to receive an additional booster vaccine (winter dose) four months after their first booster dose.

    The recommendation from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) was made on 25 May and the booster is accessible from Monday 30 May 2022.

    The winter dose increases vaccine protection for people aged 16 to 64 years who have a medical condition that increases their risk of severe COVID-19 illness, and people with disability with significant or complex health needs.

    People who are eligible for the winter dose but have had a recent infection of COVID-19 should delay their winter booster until three months after their infection.

    Those already eligible for a winter booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine are encouraged to come forward if they haven’t already. This includes those aged 65 years and older, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 50 years and older, people aged 16 years and older with severe immunocompromise, and residents 16 years and older of aged care or disability care facilities.

    Influenza vaccine can be co-administered with the additional booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine. However, if a person is not yet due for their additional booster dose, influenza vaccine could be given ahead of the additional booster dose.

    Read more about who can get a vaccine.


    Changes to events and gatherings requirements

    18 May

    Events and premises will no longer be required to have density or capacity limits in place as part of COVID-19 regulations from 12.01am Saturday 21 May.

    Public Health has advised density and capacity limits for all events and settings will be removed – although operators may still voluntarily use capacity limits as part of ongoing COVID-19 safety management.

    Additionally only events with more than 5000 patrons and music festivals with more than 2000 patrons will be required to submit a COVID-19 Event Safety Plan to Public Health for approval prior to the event. This change also comes into effect from 12.01am Saturday 21 May.

    All other events will not be required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan but are asked to continue to identify measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to patrons and staff.

    These measures include: Raising awareness among patrons and staff of not attending if unwell or required to isolate; maintaining 1.5 metres physical distance where possible; follow cough and personal hygiene measures; managing the flow of people to minimise queueing and crowding; appropriate cleaning and hygiene of venue and facilities; provision of appropriate hand washing and sanitising stations; display of posters and other resources to keep staff and patrons aware of COVID-19 safe behaviours.

    Current requirements remain in place until 12.01am Saturday May 21 2022.


    Delayed opening, Sunday 15 May, Macquarie Point COVID-19 Testing Clinic

    14 May

    The Macquarie Point COVID-19 Testing Clinic at 16A Evans St, Hobart will open at 10.00am tomorrow, Sunday 15 May 2022.

    The delayed opening is due to road closures for the annual City to Casino Fun Run.

    If you need to get tested, you can register for a PCR test or request a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) online or by phoning the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

    For more information on COVID-19 testing go to www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/testing