Last updated 20/10/2022
|Masks for optometrists and staff||Masks for patients over 12||Mandatory vaccination||Mandatory Isolation for COVID +ve Optoms & Staff|
|No but strongly encouraged||No but strongly encouraged||Employer to decide based on risk assessment.||No, but stay home if symptomatic|
Masks will no longer be required in schools, early childhood centres or on public transport from 12:01am on Saturday 25 June, 2022. Some public transport providers and child care centres 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
Although not mandatory, mask wearing is still strongly recommended in indoor settings where physical distancing is not possible.
Facemasks will still be required to be worn by close contacts outside the home.
Tasmanian Close Contact Update
On Monday 2nd May new rules applied to close contacts whereby close contacts with a negative RAT or PCR test and no symptoms are not required to Isolate. All close contacts cannot attend high risk setting such as Hospitals.
We have received advice from the Tasmanian Public Health Department that optometry eye examinations and procedures are not considered a high risk setting and Optometrists can continue to see non-Isolated close contacts.
Non-isolated close contacts are required to wear appropriate face masks and are advised to inform others that they are close contacts.
If a patient informs you, they are a close contact you able to insist on rescheduling the appointment.
More Information is available at: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/
The staff and customer mask wearing requirements are unchanged for healthcare services, including Optometry practices. The Government has recently changed the requirements for customers in non-healthcare retail areas.
The continued requirement of customers masks in Optometry Practices has been confirmed with the Health Department.
Further information is available at: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/
- Resources and guidelines to assist businesses and workplaces from 15 December 2021.
- COVID-19 Safety Plan Template
From 15th December 2021, travellers aged 12 years and two months and older, including returning residents, will need to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (unless exempt) to enter Tasmania without the need to quarantine.
Can I refuse to see an unvaccinated patient?
Other than the introduction of the requirement for patrons and staff at certain venues and premises (e.g. pubs, nightclubs, events where alcohol is served and people are freely mixing) to be fully vaccinated, there are currently no other Public Health directions in Tasmania that require customers or visitors to be vaccinated to enter specific premises or participate in general social activities.
Healthcare services may choose to screen visitors for symptoms of COVID-19 or potential exposure to COVID-19 and/or limit visitors. The decision to require people to be vaccinated to enter your premises should be made in the context of your other COVID-19 prevention measures outlined in your COVID-19 Safety Plan, and should consider patient safety, your ability to provide the level of care required and the possibility of other risk mitigation strategies that may be implemented.
If you are thinking of making COVID-19 vaccination a condition of entry to your premises, we recommend you seek advice first as there may be privacy and discrimination considerations that apply. Some useful information regarding COVID-19 vaccinations and discrimination from the Australian Human Rights Commission can be found here.
What is the recommended minimal PPE?
In general, PPE requirements are informed by:
- whether the client has any symptoms of COVID-19 (and whether the client has been tested and received a negative result since developing those symptoms)
- whether the client is in quarantine from a known or potential exposure to the virus
- the amount of COVID-19 circulating in the community.
The Tasmanian Premier – Peter Gutwein announced today that the Southern Tasmania area would go into lockdown from 6pm Friday 15thOctober until 6pm Monday 18th October 2021. This follows the announcement that an interstate traveller had contracted COVID-19 and left a quarantine hotel.
During the lockdown period, there are a limited number of reasons for which people are able to leave their homes,
- Shopping for urgent household supplies within 5 km of home — only one person from a household at any one time.
- Attending medical or health care appointments, including COVID-19 testing or vaccinations.
- A permitted worker — a person working for a provider or business that is permitted to operate, and who cannot work from home.
- Going to school — if the child of a permitted worker, or if unable to learn at home, or going to child care.
- Exercising once per day outdoors within 5 km of home for up to two hours — alone or with your household or with one other person for safety reasons.
- Caring for a vulnerable person or for other compassionate reasons.
- In other permitted circumstances, such as in an emergency or to escape harm relating to family violence.
Currently the Government has not specified a requirement for optometry practices to close and in other state lockdowns Optometry has been classified as an essential health service. It remains at the member’s discretion if they choose to reschedule care, or provide it via telehealth, where it is clinically safe to do so.
The Tasmanian Government is requiring all people in the lockdown area to wear masks when outside their place of residence.
Optometry Tasmania is seeking clarification from the Tasmanian Government regarding requirement for optometrists during the lockdown period and will inform members immediately of any changes to requirements.
The Tasmanian Government has further information available here.
For COVID-19 clarification or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact: Optometry Tasmania 0418 324 663 or email@example.com or OA’s Optometry Advisor Helpdesk on 03 9668 8500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members can also obtain free confidential advice on leave entitlements at the Optometry Australia HR Helpline either by email email@example.com or phone 1300 101 391.
As you may be aware, the Acting Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff has announced mandatory vaccinations for healthcare workers in the state.
Optometrists are included in the list of people that provide health and medical services and treatments.
We have received advice from the Tasmanian Government that the vaccination requirement extends to all workers within the Optometry Practice.
Under the Public Health Direction – Optometrists (and workers within the practice) are required to have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine or provide evidence of a booking or Vaccine exemption form by 31 October 2021.
Some people with specific medical conditions may be exempt. Talk with your GP or Specialist if you need to discuss a medical exemption.
What do I have to provide as evidence that I have been vaccinated?
The employee must provide one or more of the following documents to their employer:
- a copy of their Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register, operated by or on behalf of the Commonwealth Government
- OR a copy of their COVID-19 digital certificate
- If first dose received, a copy of their Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register, and evidence of second dose appointment
- If not yet vaccinated, evidence of their booking for a vaccination
- OR their vaccination exemption form
- Workers who cannot provide such evidence will not be permitted to enter their work premises if it is a medical or health facility or provide health and medical services if they are a health care worker
Am, I exempt from getting vaccinated because I am pregnant or breast feeding?
No. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommend that pregnant people be routinely offered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of pregnancy.
Further information on the Mandatory vaccination of workers in health care settings is available at:
Update on 08.09.2020
Information regarding face masks for general consulting in non-COVID suspicious patients has been conflicting, confusing and changes frequently. Following is some of the most recent information to be used as a guide for you to make decisions in your practice. Depending on your practice location, your operating state and your personal circumstances this should be considered on a case-by-case basis. For the most up to date Australian information look at the Department of Health website.
The Australian Government has released a number of single-use surgical masks from t he national medical stockpile. They are being distributed by PHNs, including Primary Health Tasmania, to general practices and community pharmacies with an identified need.
Note that these are surgical face masks, not P2/N25 masks. They are for use by GPs, practice staff, pharmacists, pharmacy staff and patients ONLY where there is concern about possible coronavirus infection. They should not be given or sold to patients more broadly.
Primary Health Tasmania is also holding a stock of surgical masks for use in general practice and community pharmacies with no access to commercial supplies.
These masks are available on request by practices and pharmacies with no access to commercial supplies — to be delivered as soon as possible — and are only for use in the assessment of patients with suspected COVID-19.
PHNs are now able to distribute stocks to after-hours GP home-visiting services, medical deputising services and nurse practitioner-owned or led primary care practices in their area who do not have access to commercial supplies.
To request a supply, or if you have any questions, please email us via the button below, ensuring you coordinate requests through a single channel in your practice or pharmacy so we don’t receive duplicate requests.
Additionally, eligible allied health organisations may now apply for a stock of 50 surgical masks in limited circumstances. Interested organisations must use this allied health application form, and submit their completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note: Applications for allied health organisations who do not meet the criteria, or do not use the application form, will not be processed.
The Australian Government has prepared a fact sheet (please note this link was broken as of 08/09/2020) with information for both health professionals and community members on the use of face masks.