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  • Writer's pictureNSW Taxi Council

Latest COVID-19 Restrictions Update

(Click on the individual updates below to get further information)

Key updates:


Today the Premier announced further measures to limit mobility across Greater Sydney as well as an extension of the current stay-at-home orders to 28 August 2021 across Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong, and Shellharbour.


The NSW Taxi Council has reached out to the NSW Government advocating to try to minimise the impact on the NSW Taxi Industry and get an exemption for Taxis. We will update you for a further information in this regard, when we know more from the government.

 

Additional restrictions for Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown Local Government Areas


Due to case numbers rising in these areas, the Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River Local Government Areas (LGAs) will now be subject to the same Authorised Worker restrictions as in the five existing LGAs of concern, those being Fairfield, Liverpool, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland and Blacktown.


This means workers in the new LGAs of concern are not allowed to leave their local government area unless they are on the list of authorised workers.


To reinforce, Taxi, rideshare and hire car drivers are not authorised workers. This means that taxi, rideshare, hire car and other point to point transport drivers, as well as staff that work at service providers, cannot leave these 8 LGAs to work.


These restrictions are in place from midnight tonight, 28 July 2021.

 

Changes to mandatory surveillance testing


It was also announced today that all authorised workers who live or stay in the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA will now be required to get tested once every three days in order to leave their LGA. This will be enforceable from Saturday 31 July 2021. Drivers who provide health care and social assistance passenger services as authorised workers in the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA have until Saturday to have their first test. Service providers and drivers can find locations here. The three-day mandatory testing requirements currently in place for drivers who live or stay in the Fairfield Local Government Area and leave the LGA for work as an authorised worker are being relaxed so that this will only apply to health or aged care workers. This means drivers living in the Fairfield Local Government Area who provide health care and social assistance passenger services as authorised workers will no longer be required to have the three-day mandatory testing.

 

FAQ's and Points of clarification for Point to Point Drivers, including Taxi Drivers


Can drivers provide passenger services within their local government area?

  • Point to point transport drivers, inlcuding Taxi Drivers who reside in these LGAs can provide a passenger service within the LGA they live in if someone needs to travel for an essential reason, as outlined in the Public Health Order.

Can drivers provide health care and social assistance passenger services outside of the eight restricted LGAs?

  • In the Authorised Workers list, anyone transporting passengers solely for the specified health care and social assistance activities listed is exempt when providing the services necessary for that activity.

  • Drivers are only considered an Authorised Worker whilst providing the health care and social assistance passenger services listed in Item no. 4 on the Authorised Workers list. No additional work can be conducted outside the LGA.

  • If you live in the Canterbury-Bankstown LGA and leave the area as an authorised worker, you must have COVID-19 test once every 72 hours (3 days) to be allowed to go to work as an authorised worker. You must have proof of your COVID-19 test such as an SMS text message on your phone or an email addressed to you.

  • Please see COVID-19 July 2021 FAQs for further information.

Vaccination – a priority


Once again, the Premier and Chief Health Officer flagged that an increase in vaccination is key to coming out of this lockdown. We encourage everyone, but especially members of the point to point transport industry who live in the eight LGAs of concern, to get vaccinated. Please reinforce this message with drivers and staff and encourage them to check their eligibility.

 

Change to NSW and VIC border bubble


The Victorian government has made changes to the existing border bubble arrangements with NSW. From 11.59pm Tuesday 27 July, the NSW LGAs of Wagga Wagga, Hay, Lockhart and Murrumbidgee were removed from the NSW-Victoria cross border area.

This introduces restrictions on entry into Victoria for anyone who lives in or has visited those LGAs. Victoria has a permit system in place and entry may be granted for specific purposes – more details are available on the Victorian Government website.

 

Update to exemptions on Masks – proof must be carried at all times


Last week, the Public Health Order on mandatory mask wearing was updated to require anybody with an exemption to carry evidence of their exemption on them at all times. This is so proof of exemption can be provided at any time on request to an enforcement officer.

Evidence can be:

  • a medical certificate

  • other written evidence signed by a registered health practitioner or a registered NDIS provider

  • a statutory declaration by the person.

The evidence must set out the medical condition, or disability which makes wearing a mask unsuitable. We recommend people carry the original and two copies as a copy may need to be provided to an enforcement officer if requested.


Do Drivers need to check evidence if a passenger is not wearing a mask?

  • No, this Public Health Order measure is for the purpose of police enforcement and drivers are not responsible for checking. If a passenger is not wearing a mask and does not have evidence and police check the vehicle, the passenger will be fined - not the driver.

  • Drivers can remind passengers that mask wearing in point to point transport vehicles, including Taxis is mandatory in NSW (except for children 12 and under and persons with a physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability that makes wearing a fitted face covering unsuitable) and if they are not carrying proof of an exemption, they face the risk of penalties.

 

Staying COVID safe – visit a local Vehicle Sanitisation Station and Masks available

  • Vehicle Sanitisation Stations (VSS) provide a complimentary and efficient service that sanitises high touch areas of the vehicle, such as exterior and interior door handles, boot handle, window controls, steering wheel, visors, centre console, gear stick, handbrake, grip handles, glove box, dashboard, seatbelts, seats, headrests, mobile phone holders, cup holders, fuel door, fuel cap, meters and payment equipment. Visit our website to find one of our 12 locations.

  • When visiting a VSS, each vehicle is eligible for up to 5 masks per visit.

  • All regional service providers are entitled to complimentary packs of 50 disposable face masks, available online via the Commissioner’s industry portal. Please note, only service providers can place orders for masks.

 

Please Stay Vigilant

  • Drivers must wear a Mask at all times while in the vehicle. This means even when a Passenger is not in the vehicle. Fines Apply.

  • Passenger must wear a Mask. Fines Apply.

  • Do not travel if unwell, stay home and get tested immediately

  • Drivers must check-in using the vehicle’s NSW Government QR code at the start of the shift and they should also check out when their shift is finished

  • Drivers should encourage passengers to check-in using the NSW Government QR code in their vehicle

  • Drivers who are eligible are encouraged to get vaccinated, for more information on vaccinations please go here.

  • Practise good hygiene

  • Set the air conditioning to external airflow rather than to recirculation, or have windows open where appropriate

  • Passengers should sit in the backseat of the vehicle

  • Encourage passengers to use contactless payments where possible

  • Passengers should handle their own luggage where possible

We will continue to update you and thank the industry for staying the course and its continued commitment to keep passengers, drivers and the community safe as this challenging situation continues to evolve.


Head to the NSW Government website for the latest COVID-19 information.

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