This blog post is for disabled young people in Victoria. It has useful resources and information about COVID-19.

Go to our COVID-19 glossary if you do not understand some of the words in this blog post. We have explained what these words mean in a simple way.

Last updated 19 October 2020.

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a virus that can make people sick. You can get COVID-19 if you are near a person who has the virus. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) calls it a pandemic. This means that it is a serious disease that has spread quickly around the world.  

Some disabled people are more likely to have severe symptoms if they get COVID-19. This means that they may get sicker than other people.

What happens if I am sick? 

People who have COVID-19 may have:

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • coughing
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired

You should contact your doctor if you have these symptoms or you have been near someone who has COVID-19.

You can also call the Coronavirus Hotline anytime on 1800 675 398.

If you are Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment you can call the National Relay Service on 1300 555 727 to contact the Coronavirus Hotline. 

Enliven has a great Easy English guide about COVID-19 and how you can help stop it spreading.

How to keep safe

The virus is spread from person to person. Help stop the virus spreading by:

  • Washing your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds or more regularly.
  • Sneezing or coughing into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Avoiding touching your face.
  • Following the rules below.

Rules you need to follow

Victoria is in a state of emergency. This means that the Victorian government can make new rules to keep everyone safe. 

There are different rules from Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

If you want to see the full list of suburbs in Metropolitan Melbourne, YDAS has made a list.

People who do not follow the rules can get a fine of almost $5000 from Victoria Police.

The number of coronavirus cases in Victoria is going down. This means there have been some changes to the rules we need to follow.

Here is a list of some of the changes for metropolitan Melbourne from 19 October:

  • VCE, VCAL and all primary school students went back to learning at school from October 12.
  • There is not a curfew anymore. That means you do not have to stay inside from 9pm-5am.
  • You cannot wear just a clear face shield or a scarf or bandana. You must wear a mask that covers your mouth and nose.
  • Students in their last year of university can go to their classes in person.
  • Patients in hospital who are over 18 years old can have one visitor once a day. The visitor can stay for a maximum of two hours.
  • Patients in hospital who are under 18 years old can have two parents or carers visit at the same time. There is no time limit. This means the visitors can stay as long as they choose.
  • On November 2, there will be no restrictions on reasons you can leave your house.
  • You can now travel up to 25km from your house. If you want to know how far that is, you can enter your address on this page of the Victorian Government website and it will show you a map.
  • There is no time limit on how long you can leave your house to exercise or see friends and family.
  • You can meet in a group of up to 10 people as long as you are outside. The 10 people must only be from 2 different houses.
  • Some allied health providers, like physiotherapists, will be able to open and see patients again.
  • Outdoor swimming pools can open, with a maximum of 30 people allowed at one time.
  • Hairdressers can open again.

Here is a list of the rules you have to follow in regional Victoria, from October 19:

  • You are allowed to leave your house for any reason
  • Groups of up to 10 people can meet outside
  • You can visit a restaurant or café. You must go with a group of no more than 10 people. You will be able to eat indoors at some places if they are big enough for everyone to be 1.5 metres away from each other.
  • You can have up to two people visit you at home in one day. The two people can live in different houses.
  • Libraries are open. But there can be no more than 20 people in the library at once.
  • Indoor pools will open for one on one hydrotherapy sessions.
  • You cannot visit metropolitan Melbourne, unless you really have to for work or to take care of someone.

 No matter where you live in Victoria, if you are escaping family violence, you can leave your home.

You can always leave home if there is an emergency.

You must wear a mask when you leave your home. 

Places that are still open

  • Supermarkets 
  • Chemists and pharmacies 
  • Doctors, hospitals and health services (some will do video calls) 
  • Public transport 
  • Restaurants and cafes (take away only)  
  • Food delivery 
  • Banks  
  • Petrol stations 
  • Convenience stores  
  • Australia Post 

Being at home may make some people feel uncomfortable or less safe. 

YACVic has written a blog post with resources to help young people experiencing family or domestic violence during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Disability supports

Support workers and carers

If you have a disability or chronic illness you can still have support workers and carers visit you at home. They can continue to help you with things like getting ready in the morning, cooking or cleaning.

You can ask them to take precautions when they visit you, including:

  • Washing their hands
  • Using hand sanitiser
  • Wearing a face mask
  • Letting you know if they are feeling sick.

If you do not want your support workers or carers to visit you that is okay too.

Finding support workers

There are a number of websites that can help you easily find support workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NDIS has a guide for finding support workers during the COVID-19 lockdown.

NDIS supports

Joining the NDIS

If you want to join the NDIS you can now download the Access Request Form online

You can also phone the NDIS team on 1800 800 110 to do your Access Request over the phone. 

Visit the NDIS webpage about Access Requests for more information about joining the NDIS.

Changes to your NDIS supports

There has been some changes to the NDIS to assist disabled people during the COVID-19 lockdown. These changes allow you to use your NDIS funding more flexibly. 

Visit the NDIS website for information and updates about NDIS changes.

The NDIS has created series of animations and Auslan videos to help you understand some of these changes.

If you are getting NDIS support and want more information about these changes visit the COVID-19 webpage for NDIS participants.

NDIS low cost assistive technology

You may be able to buy low cost assistive technology items, such as smart devices and fitness equipment, to continue your regular supports at home.

There are rules you need to follow before you buy these items. There are some items you cannot buy with your NDIS funding. Visit the NDIS webpage on assistive technology to learn more.

Contact the NDIS team

Call the NDIS Contact Centre on 1800 800 110. The hours are Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm. Select option 5 for NDIS plan enquiries related to COVID-19.

Click here for other ways to contact the NDIS team.

Government payments

You may be able to get payments from the Australian Government if you have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The JobKeeper payment is given to your employer if they have been impacted by COVID-19. Your employer will use the payment to pay you. Speak to your manager to find out more.

The JobSeeker payment is for people who are looking for work. It has replaced the Newstart Allowance. You have to be at least 22 years old to get the JobSeeker payment.

If you get a disability payment, such as the Disability Support Pension (DSP), there are no changes to your payments due to COVID-19.

Visit the Services Australia webpage for people with disability to find out more about payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

IDEAS has a helpful resource about government payments for people with disability.

Rent Relief Grant

The Victorian Government has a COVID-19 rent relief grant. This grant can help you if you cannot pay your rent because of the coronavirus. 

YDAS has a post about the Rent Relief Grant.

Person walking outdoors with a walking stick. They are wearing a Vogmask.

Staying informed

Our lives have changed quickly because of COVID-19. It’s a good idea to stay informed so you know what is happening. Use the resources below to stay up-to-date.

Coronavirus Australia app

Stay up to date with announcements from the Australian government with the Coronavirus Australia app.

You can use the app to: 

  • stay up-to-date with official information and advice 
  • get advice to help you stay healthy 
  • check your symptoms if you are worried about yourself or someone else.

Disability Information Helpline

The Disability Information Helpline is a free number to call for information about COVID-19. You will speak to a person who can answer your questions about COVID-19.  

Contact the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787. It is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm (AEST).

 You can also live-chat.

Disability and COVID-19 Facebook group

The Disability and Chronic Illness COVID-19 Information Clearinghouse Australia Facebook group was created by people with disabilities and chronic illnesses in Australia. 

The group provides useful information about COVID-19 for people who have disabilities and chronic illnesses.  

Staying connected

It is more important than ever to keep in contact with your friends and family. Here are some resources to help you stay connected.

Zoom

Zoom is a platform for video and audio conferencing and chat. YDAS Project Coordinator, Simon, has put together a YouTube tutorial about how to use Zoom and its features.

Captions are enabled and edited.

Click on the video below to play or watch it on YouTube.

Co-VidSpeak

Co-VidSpeak is a free, video conferencing tool built for people who cannot speak but want emotional connection with those at a distance. 

To keep up-to-date with our latest COVID-19 resources follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Go to our COVID-19 glossary if you did not understand some of the words in this blog post. We have explained what these words mean in a simple way.

Image source: Disabled And Here