Jennifer Byrne (ASDC Chairperson) 12th September, 2020
The ASDC know that this is, and continues to be a really difficult time for our members, the dermal therapy profession and the wider beauty and cosmetic medical industry. In fact for many in business this may be the biggest challenge we have ever faced collectively. Our profession and the beauty industry overall has been exceptional in its commitment to follow all directions to prevent transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) and has implemented many strategies to ensure that when businesses can open, they do so as safely as possible.
The reality that professional practice and life in general is not going to be the same for some time has well and truly sunk in. However, as a profession we have soldiered on and got on with the task at hand. When the roadmap to re-open Victoria was announced many sectors including personal services (beauty), allied and community health and retail were all concerned. Particularly at the lack of transparency around decision making regarding opening dates for those working in these sectors. This initiated collective and collaborative efforts from professional bodies, organisations and independent business owners to lobby for further consideration by the government. This lobbying has advocated for decision making further evaluating the financial and psychological impacts of current restrictions. As well as being based on infection control focusing on actual transmission risk and minimisation strategies. With previous decisions around "essential" health services becoming less viable when considering a longer term view of not only the economy but also health care and prevention of health problems for the public.
The announcement on Saturday 12 September, 2020 allowing the beauty therapy industry to open a month earlier than initially announced is a testament to the efforts of all involved. The details are still not clear for all of us. There are still grey areas around the differences between regional and metro Victoria, as well as particular services in a variety of settings that our members work in. We are working on gaining further clarity and hopefully these details will emerge over the next weeks before Stage 4 ends.
We also wanted to re-assure you that we continue to work on your behalf lobbying to health ministers at state and federal levels as well as collaborating with allied health and beauty professional bodies to raise concerns regarding the impact that this is having on business owners, employees as well as the public.
What is the current status for all 'beauty' services
The most recent announcement on the government restriction tracker is as follows:
From Monday 26 October 2020 (subject to public health advice), if you live in metro Melbourne:
you can visit a hairdressing salon or barber
you can visit beauty and personal care services if you wear a mask for the entire time, practise physical distancing and follow other safety measures. However, services where you can’t wear a mask for the entire time — such as facials, face tattoos and face piercings — are not allowed.
From Monday 23 November 2020 (subject to public health advice), in metro Melbourne:
all other beauty and personal care businesses can resume operating, but with physical distancing and other safety measures in place
It is noted that changes have not flowed through as yet for regional Victoria, however the press conference indicated that regional Victoria may be able to open earlier if community transmission rates remain low. The government have asked for patience while they collate data in order to make further announcements. For more information you can check details over the subsequent weeks HERE. For the full announcement please see the press conference below. The ASDC will also review these and further announcements this week to provide members with further guidance as we aim to engage in discussions with the health department and ministers in order to provide a recommendation for how this impacts on some of the services provided by members.
What is the current status providing 'Health Services in Health Care Settings'
The following advice only applies to our full members that meet the criteria of performing in the capacity as an allied health professional in a permitted workplace. At this stage if you don't meet the criteria outlined below, advice is to look at opening at the same time and with the same conditions as beauty therapy. AHPA are currently working to set up a Webinar with Victorian Health officials. Members will be able to attend and ask questions. We will keep you posted when this is decided and announced.
At the current point in time, we have been provided the following message from AHPA to pass onto our members:
Allied Health Professions Australia today met with the Victorian Chief Allied Health Officer and representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services to seek further clarification in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) reopening roadmap for Metropolitan Melbourne (https://www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-roadmap-metro-melbourne). Unfortunately, at this time there is no further official guidance and we are continuing to wait for details, which we understand will be available next week.
However, based on our discussions to date it is our understanding that restrictions remain at their current levels for an additional 14 days from the 14th of September to the 27th of September. We encourage providers to contact clients with bookings over the next 14 days that do not meet the current definitions outlined in the permitted workplaces guidance (https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/health-care-and-social-assistance-restrictions-covid-19) to reschedule appointments appropriately.
We are cautiously optimistic that restrictions will be eased slightly from the 28th of September, however we will provide further updates early next week or whenever further information is available.
We thank and acknowledge allied health professionals for their ongoing support for the community and their diligence in managing the tough balance between maintaining client health of their clients and reducing potential exposure to Covid-19
Further announcements business support
The Victorian government has also announced further grants for businesses and more information to follow on support offered to sole traders. Other assistance includes deferring payroll tax for 2020/2021. For more information on eligibility and details of grants click HERE
What are the ASDC doing?
The ASDC are currently working collaboratively with other professional bodies such as APAN and AHPA in proposals for government to further protect the industry for the future. We will be also advocating on behalf of our profession in the attempt to have explicit advice regarding procedures and patient groups that may meet the criteria for health services in various practice settings.
In making this case, we are asking for members to assist us with collecting data on the demographic of our profession as well as the impact to the services you are offering and the financial burden you are suffering. We participated in a workforce impact survey in March-June this year. However we would ask that you participate in this survey again so that we can gather data on how the last 6 months have impacted on your businesses, employees and clients. Click HERE to participate.
COVID-19 Practice Guideline
Members are able to download a copy of the ASDC COVID-19 Practice Guideline from the membership portal. Also updated recently are guidelines to assist clinics with ongoing provision of tele-health services. The COVID guidelines may need to be modified slightly with updated information regarding PPE and other information that may come out of further discussions in the next few weeks.
Updates to PPE Requirements
Currently there has been a recommendation for any in close clinical contact to be using PPE Level 1 recommendations (rather than Level 0) as previously indicated. This includes the use of eye wear or a face shield and face mask in adherence to droplet precautions. PPE according to standard contact precautions as per the risk assessment for that service Is still required. For more information please see the PPE guidance on the government website.
At this stage it isn't clear if these levels will remain the same with the reopening in October. However it has been a requirement for those in health settings prior to stage 4 closures.
We thank you for your hard work and persistence during this challenging time.
Please contact us with any concerns or queries you may have on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Australian Society of Dermal Clinicians (ASDC)