COVID-19 Operations UPDATE
8 July 2020
Unfortunately, greater metropolitan Melbourne and the Shire of Mitchell have been placed back into Stage 3 Lock Down. These restrictions are being applied because of the increasing numbers of COVID-19 and the heightened risk of transmission.
This directly effects fifteen of our RDA Centres in Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Mitchell Shire, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra and Yarra Ranges.
Stage 3 Restrictions mean that: From 11.59pm on Wednesday 8 July, if you live in the Melbourne metropolitan area and the Shire of Mitchell then Stay at Home restrictions will apply.
There are four reasons that you can leave home:
1. Shopping for food or other essential items
2. To provide care giving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
3. For exercise (outdoor exercise only, with only one other person or members of your household)
4. Work or study, if you cannot work or study from home Otherwise, you must stay home.
Additional restrictions have also been put in place: – You cannot have visitors to your home except for caregiving or compassionate reasons or receiving services. – You can no longer visit friends and family who live at another household, except to see your intimate partner, or for caregiving or compassionate reasons, or providing services.
There will also be activity, facility and venue restrictions in the Melbourne metropolitan area and the Shire of Mitchell:
– Indoor sports centres including gyms, training facilities and pools will be closed.
– Community sport training and competition cannot occur within the Melbourne metropolitan area or the Shire of Mitchell. If you live in this area you cannot participate in community sport elsewhere.
– Outdoor sport facilities will be closed, except for facilities where people can exercise with no more than one other person or members of your household while maintaining 1.5 metres distance.
– Equipment should not be shared.
– Communal facilities cannot open.
So, what does that mean for RDA Centres within the lock down areas?
It means a return to the very restricted activities as per previous lock down. This includes:
– No face to face meetings or volunteer training.
– Continuation of previous horse welfare activities with strict distancing and hygiene protocols (as what has been in place for previous Stage 3 horse welfare and care). DHHS specifies you are able to go to a second property for the purpose of caring for livestock however you should limit travel where you can. You should care for your animals and then return home (get in, care, get out). You should comply with the public gathering requirements and practice good hygiene, including washing and disinfecting hands before and after handling animals and their equipment, bedding or food. https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/updated-restrictions-1159pmwednesday-8-july-covid-19
– Have maximum 2 people in attendance for safety while adhering to mandatory physical distancing rules. Be conscious of following the generic recommended practices including minimising touching any surface you do not need to and touching your face
– Ensure you have a supply of disposable gloves. Use branded sanitisers or mix up a labeled solution of maximum 5% bleach to water in a spray bottle. You must wear gloves when using bleach solutions and only use in outdoor or well-ventilated areas. (See SDS) This can be used with a cloth to spray and sanitise any surfaces you touch, including gate latches, tap handles, rake handles, barrow handles, feed bucket handles, etc. Please keep a bottle on you to ensure that you do not share the virus on the spray bottle trigger. Always ensure there are spare bottles at the Centre as well. Note that bleach can be deactivated by biological substances such as manure and should be used to sanitise the surfaces you are touching.
– Place rubbish bin outside Centre exit to drop into for disposal of gloves and cloths after use.
– Implement emergency skeleton volunteer staff horse care roster.
– Communication via phone/text or email.
– Sign in / sign out for volunteers (take own pen or sanitise the pen after use).
– Volunteers to wash hands before and after feeding as well as cleaning bucket handles and feeding utensils.
– Volunteers to use disposable gloves whenever possible.
– Gloves to be deposited in the bin outside the exit of Centre (near gate).
– Volunteers to notify Centre Emergency contact if feeling unwell or have contact with clinically isolated or unwell person and therefor no longer be able to be on the feed roster.
– Ensure you have back up volunteers in case of illness.
– Place these Emergency Horse Care procedures up in clear view at the entrance to the Centre and ensure all volunteers have a copy for review.
– Exercising of horses is included as horse welfare as long as only one other person is present, maintaining AT LEAST 1.5 metres between each person, with one horse per volunteer – all gear/feed/tack/grooming kit/etc kept separate and labelled – only allocated volunteer to touch.
– All volunteers should complete the online Hygiene Infection Control Training which can be found at https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covid-19-infection-control-training (if they have not done so already).
– No working bees or anything other than emergency maintenance with a maximum of two people on site maintaining at least 1.5 metres physical distance.
– No horse movement off or on property unless for emergency medical care.
– No use of indoor arenas.
If you feel unwell, stay home, seek medical attention and get tested. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, breathlessness and tiredness. Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include aches and pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but only have very mild symptoms (WHO, 2020). Not all of these symptoms may be present so it is vitally important that if you feel unwell, stay home, seek medical attention and get tested.
This does not mean that regional Victoria relaxes – we are all very connected and susceptible to potential infection.
Self-care/mental health training
Following discussions with RDA Australia and the other RDA States about the feedback we have been receiving in relation to the effect of COVID-19 and Centre closures on the RDA community, RDA Australia have partnered with Mental Health First Aid Australia to provide two self-care sessions. These sessions are open to any members of our RDA community. If you or someone you know are experiencing mental health issues, workload burnout, anxiety over the changes COVID-19 brings or are just feeling overwhelmed, this session will provide you with information for self-care and where to find help. The two sessions will be provided on different days and times and up to 16 people can register for each session.
To assist RDA Members to attend this course, RDA Australia will be covering the costs of these workshops. Friday July 17: 1-4pm EST Wednesday July 22: 4-7pm EST As spaces are limited, please email email@example.com as soon as possible to with your preference of date. Where there are more than 16 RSVPs for a session, a waiting list will be created and members notified if and when vacancies become available.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)/Care Packs
RDA Victoria has been working to source reasonably priced sanitizers as well as other PPE such as masks and gloves. A limited number of these items will be provided by RDA Victoria at no cost to the Centres upon request. Please email your requirements to firstname.lastname@example.org
“Return to Play” Plan for RDA Victoria
RDA Victoria is continuing to work with the Medical Panel, DHHS and the Department of Sport and Recreation regarding our full return to operations plan. This has been revised and submitted for further feedback. As you can imagine, this is a detailed document with very specific details about how sessions will look into the future. We will provide details as soon as they come to hand with specifics regarding how Centres are able to manage lessons stage by stage.
Please if you need any further assistance let us know. Stay safe, stay well and take care!