Information about coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated 8 April 6.58pm AEST

ESSA is committed to supporting the safety, health and livelihoods of our exercise professionals during this evolving COVID-19 pandemic. ESSA is focused on;

  • Assisting all stakeholders to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by implementing the advice as directed by the Australian Government Department of Health – and see measures below.
  • Building the capacity of our exercise professionals to offer exercise services online (via telehealth) – click here.
  • Supporting our business owners to understand employer implications and communicate measures for business continuity – click here.
  • Supporting the health and wellbeing of all Australians by promoting the continuation of exercise, including at home or in isolation as advised by an accredited professional – click here.

ESSA will regularly update this webpage with
relevant information for members, accredited professionals and key stakeholders, so please monitor closely.

Communique Archive:
- contains message from ESSA National Board, clarification of allied health in gyms
- contains "How can I continue to care for my clients?", Medicare item numbers, etc.
ESSA COVID-19 COMMUNIQUE: 31.3.2020 - contains Medicare fact sheets, clarification on group classes, business support etc.
ESSA COVID-19 COMMUNIQUE: 1.4.2020 - contains DVA Telehealth
ESSA COVID-19 COMMUNIQUE: 2.4.2020 - contains DVA Telehealth overview, Medicare clarifications, DOH webinar overview
ESSA COVID-19 COMMUNIQUE: 3.4.2020 - contains PHI update and support for ESSA Members

Current Updates

Filming of Workouts in Large Gyms
ESSA received word from the Australian Government that filming workouts is allowed within large studios/gyms for the purpose of offering remote personal training. If you are offering online group classes through teleservices, then a group is limited to two people in an outdoor setting.

Have you lost your job or been stood down?
We have consolidated additional support information for you - from employment  advice, financial relief and personal wellbeing support.Click here for info on How you can survive COVID-19

Department of Health ruling on waiting rooms: The two persons in a waiting room rule applies unless there are segregated spaces (this includes reception staff). Patients should be asked to contact reception / the practitioner when they arrive and wait in their car or at clear distance if outside until they receive an SMS, phone call to enter after the previous person has cleared the room.
NDIS one-off payments due to COVID-19: ESSA heard from members with concerns about the advanced payments being offered to NDIS registered providers. Registered providers that had received an email from the NDIA about their advanced payments flagged concerns that the NDIA were offering large amounts of funding (i.e. $50,000) on the condition that providers would repay the amount at a later date. It was noted that very little information was provided on when, how and over what period of time the repayments were expected to be paid. Click here to read more.
What if the police knock on the door? There have been instances where the police have inspected EP premises. If this happens ESSA recommends you calmly explain that you are an AEP providing an essential health service. In addition you can add a sign to your main door and also present a copy of the Dept of Health letter, which confirms that small gyms can be used as a clinic. Click here for the letter from Dr Lisa Studdert to Allied Health - Deputy Secretary, Dept. of Health.

Telehealth: For telehealth item numbers and guidance for implementing in your practice visit the ESSA Telehealth web page.
Other relevant updates

Guild Insurance recognises telehealth as an accepted service modality for all Guild insured policy holders. No income thresholds apply for Guild policy holders.

Fair Work: Impact of COVID-19 on working conditions - Click here for updated Fair Work information

Still seeing clients?: ESSA strongly urges all exercise professionals to adhere to the advice as directed by the Australian Government and implement relevant measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If providing in-person exercise services, this must include:

Cleaning – implementing vigilant hygiene and infection control measures including sanitising all equipment and surfaces used/touched during in-person exercise services.
Distancing – implementing the current social distancing guidelines (2m apart)
Communicating – directly communicate your measures and any changes to exercise services with all stakeholders – clients, team, and suppliers.

Resources and Additional Support

Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources
A collection of resources for the general public, health professionals and industry about coronavirus (COVID-19), including translated resources: Click here.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for health professionals, including pathology providers and healthcare managers
A collection of resources for health professionals, including pathology providers and healthcare managers, about coronavirus (COVID-19): Click here.

Coronavirus Health Information Line
Call this line if you are seeking information on novel coronavirus. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 1800 020 080

Reducing Risk in the Workplace

You can reduce the risk or prevent the transmission of infectious diseases by embedding infection control measures in everyday practice. This includes educating all clinical and non-clinical staff on infection control principles. 

Steps you can take:
- Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if you don’t have access to wash hands with soap and water
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow 
- Call (not visit) your GP first if you need medical attention. They will advise you what to do
- Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep
- Place information posters in your clinic or workplace
- Consider advising clients to reconsider/delay treatment if they have flu like symptoms/presenting as unwell 
- Have a supply of masks and gloves available in your clinic or workplace
- Discuss a plan of action with your staff/colleagues

Other preventative measures to limit the spread of the virus include:
- Access to hand sanitisers, hand washing facility 
- Washing your hands often with soap and water before and after eating as well as after attending the toilet
- When cleaning, wear gloves and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before and after wearing gloves
- Practice social distancing including touching, shaking hands, kissing, hugging, and other intimate contact with others
- Increasing the frequency of cleaning activities and procedures 
Click here for guidelines on who needs to isolate

Downloadable resources:
Click here for wash, wipe and cover resources from SA Health
Click here for downloadable posters from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Click here for posters and fact sheets from the Department of Health
The Department of Health has recently made an Infection Control Training Module, “How to protect yourself and the people you are caring for from infection with COVID-19" available online. Please click here to register.