Covid-19 Rules

There are lots of rules that have been put in place to try and protect people from catching COVID-19, and to prevent the virus from spreading. Where there is an outbreak, these rules can often change quickly. 

It’s important to know what the rules say, so you can keep yourself and others safe, and so you can make sure you don’t get into trouble with the law.

If you are under 25, and would like some free and confidential advice about COVID restrictions, you can contact us here.

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What are the restrictions right now?

The rules and restrictions for COVID-19 are updated regularly by the ACT government, and it can be hard to keep on top of them!

The rules that apply will depend on things like where you live, who you live with, what you do for work, your school, and if you are feeling unwell or have been tested for COVID-19.

You can find information on COVID-19 restrictions on the ACT Government’s website. You can also find the current public health orders here.

What if I don’t understand the rules that apply to me?

The COVID-19 rules can be confusing, so don’t worry, you are not alone!

If you want to check what the rules say, you can contact the ACT COVID-19 helpline on 02 6207 7244 for advice. They are available between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week. 

If you are under 25 and still unsure about the restrictions, or want legal advice about your situation, please get in touch with us here.

What happens if I do something in breach of the restrictions?

Public health orders are a type of law, which means that if you don’t follow them, you may be breaking the law.

If you are caught breaking a public health order without a reasonable excuse, you can be charged with a criminal offence, or given a fine.  Police can issue on-the-spot fines to people for certain behaviour, and these fines can be expensive.

I’ve been given a fine, what can I do?

Your fine should have information on it about your payment options. If you think the fine was fair, but can’t afford to pay it, you can apply for additional time to pay the fine.

It’s really important to pay your fine or apply for an extension before the fine due date. 

If you think the fine was unfair, you can request to have the fine withdrawn. However, we strongly recommend that you speak with a lawyer before applying to have a fine withdrawn. In some cases, an application for withdrawal can result in a fine being sent to court.

For more information on the payment of fines, waivers or deferrals, please visit this website.

School, Universities and TAFE during lockdown

You can find out information about the rules about going to school, University, TAFE and other education on the ACT Government’s website.

We know that going to school during lockdown, or doing school online, can be tough. If you are finding school hard, we encourage you to talk to your parents or carer, a teacher you trust, or your school counsellor to get some support. If you live with a disability, you can get reasonable support to help you at school.

If you want some legal advice about your situation at school, University or TAFE, and you are under 25, you can contact us for free and confidential legal advice and information here. 

Employment

There are lots of ways COVID-19 can impact your employment. Some people have lost their jobs or lost hours, others face restrictions or rules about what they can do at work. The rules that apply will depend on what sort of work you do.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has some great information on their website about COVID-19 and workplace laws in Australia.

If you have lost your job, you may have rights under unlawful termination or unlawful dismissal laws. We recommend you have a look at our webpage on Getting fired and unfair dismissal. It’s important to know that there are short time limits for taking legal action for unfair dismissal. If you think you might have been unfairly dismissed from work, we recommend you get legal advice as soon as possible. 

If you are under 25 and you have an issue at work, you can contact us for free and confidential legal advice and information here.

Safety at home and online

You have a right to be safe at home. If you are ever in immediate danger, please call the police on triple zero (000) and try to get to a safe place. Leaving home because of family violence is not in breach of the public health orders. 

If you are experiencing violence or abuse at home, please talk to someone you trust about what is happening. This could be a family member, a teacher or a counsellor. You can also contact us for legal advice about your situation.

For more information, you can have a look at our pages on child abuse and domestic violence.

If you are experiencing bullying online, or other online behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable and unsafe, it’s important to tell someone about what’s happening and get some support. You can find out more about online safety, and what you can do, on our website.

Support

It’s important to know that if you are finding lockdown tough, there are services that can help you.

Mental health

If you are 25 or under, you can get free counselling and support from Kids Helpline or eHeadspace:

  • You can call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 for free and private counselling (available 24 hours a day, but there can be a wait to get through). They are happy to talk to young people between the ages of 5-25 years about anything that’s troubling them. You can also email them or chat online at: http://kidshelpline.com.au.
  • eHeadspace provides counselling to young people ages 12-25 who are worried about their mental health or are feeling alone. You can call them on 1800 650 890 (from 9am to 1am). You can also email them or chat online at: https://www.eheadspace.org.au. 

ReachOut resources to help you cope during lockdown 

It’s been a stressful time all around the world as we deal with coronavirus (COVID-19) and the uncertainty it brings. ReachOut have put together some awesome resources to help you take care of your wellbeing, especially during lockdown.

Centrelink

There are Centrelink payments available for some people who are financially affected by COVID-19. You can find out more about available payments and your eligibility on the Services Australia website.

Housing

If you are renting in NSW, there are some protections for tenants who are affected by COVID-19. For more information, we recommend you check out the Tenants’ Union of ACT COVID-19 Guide.

If you need crisis accommodation, or if you are at risk of homelessness, please call Onelink, a statewide homelessness information and referral telephone service. You can call them on 1800 176 468, and they are available from 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday and 12.30pm – 5pm on the weekend. .

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