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Friday 8 May 2020
Dear sector colleagues,
As you may have heard, the Prime Minister has just given a press conference about beginning to lift restrictions related to COVID-19.
We expect our Premier to respond to this shortly – it’s important to remember that each state and territory will make its own decisions based on its own circumstances.
South Australians have done an excellent job in flattening the outbreak curve, and I urge everyone to remember that we must remain vigilant. Changes will be rolled out gradually with a continual focus on keeping people safe.
This will allow South Australians to take a breath after seven weeks of vigilance and caution.
For the DHS NGO sector which has continued to deliver key services to South Australians throughout this period, I hope today’s news will take some pressure off you and your clients.
For some of you, your services will have been altered to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.
Our focus is on working with the sector to assist services to restart where they are safe to do so.
We know that some charity shops have reopened and outdoor homelessness services are operating as normal and country service provision is returning to normal levels outside of restricted areas.
Our priority is to make sure people feel safe and confident in receiving the services they need, and organisations and staff feel safe and confident in their service provision. For example, we are working to share our experiences through the disability sector so day options can be delivered to clients.
In addition, we are very keen to focus on what regulatory or practice changes are required as restrictions ease where a sector or an organisation wants to continue their COVID-19-style of service delivery. We know there have been significant benefits with telehealth and are keen to start moving now on how we embed these improvements into our post-COVID-19 practices.
While our state has performed well in containing COVID-19, we still need to be vigilant and take care to protect the most vulnerable in our community as we move into this next phase.
I would urge all staff to:
- Remain vigilant and take precautions about illness and any suspicious symptoms.
- Isolate if sick.
- Continue to maintain thorough hygiene, including hand washing.
- Maintain social distancing, including the 1.5m rule.
Please remember that the best source of information about restrictions for South Australia is sa.gov.au. We will also update the new NGO section of our DHS website as things change.
Again, I thank each of you for your work during this time. You may feel unsettled and anxious during these times, but please know we are supporting you.
Above all we can be positive about our success in containing a global pandemic and protecting our community.
Please take some time for yourself, your families and friends this weekend as we celebrate Mother’s Day.
Acting Chief Executive