SA COVID restrictions hit nursing homes and Centrelink offices

SA brings in harsh circuit breaker restrictions to control virus

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SA COVID-19 restrictions now in place.

SA COVID-19 restrictions now in place.

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A raft of new restrictions began in SA as part of a six-day circuit-breaker designed to control the latest outbreak in the state.

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Nursing homes have closed to visits, businesses have closed and Services Australia, which includes Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support has reduced its operations in South Australia from today as the state locksdown in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The restrictions began from midnight local time (12.30am AEDT) and are even harsher than those seen in Victoria during its outbreak.

Only supermarkets, bottle shops, medical and mental health services, petrol stations and some other services and childcare and schools for families of essential workers are still open and people are now restricted from going outside their homes with only one person per household able to leave the home each day, but only for specific purposes.

Supermarkets across suburban Adelaide will be allowed to open 24 hours on weekdays, until 9pm on Saturdays and from 9 am to 9 pm on Sundays for the next 14 days to facilitate physical distancing.

Weddings and funerals are also banned. Aged care homes are now closed to visitors except for end-of-life visits.

"There is no second chance to stop a second wave," Premier Steven Marshall said yesterday.

People are being urged to use Services Australia's online and call service options rather than visit service centres but service centres will remain open for vulnerable members of the community if they need to access immediate support they're unable to complete online or over the phone.

Minister for Government Services, Stuart Robert, said people can check and start applying for assistance now and activate if they leave or have reduced employment.

"If a person thinks there may be a change to their employment over the coming weeks, I'd encourage them to go to www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/covid19 right now to check eligibility and start the application process," Minister Robert said.

"People may be redirected to online or phone services if they visit a service centre for routine business - so save a trip, stay home and try these options first."

If people can't use Services Australia's online services, they can call their main payment line for assistance. People can also call 131-202 to speak to Services Australia in their language.

In line with the latest health advice, there will be limits on the number of staff and customers who can be in a service centre at any one time and anyone visiting must wear a face covering.

Desert Rose, one of the Agency's three Mobile Service Centres, is currently travelling through regional South Australia. This trip has been paused to protect the safety of customers and staff.

"The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is also available for people living in South Australia who can't earn an income because they must self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone who has COVID-19," Mr Robert said.

"Eligible recipients will receive $1,500 for each 14-day period they have been told to self-isolate or quarantine, or are caring for someone who has COVID-19."

More information about support being provided by Services Australia is available at http://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/covid19.

Details of current SA restrictions: https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/stay-at-home#leavinghome

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