As I’m sure you’ve already heard, the Melbourne metropolitan area and the Shire of Mitchell are going back into Stay at Home restrictions for 6 weeks from July 9 to contain a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.
While it’s disappointing we have to take this step, it’s become clear in recent days that it is a necessary measure to protect the wider community from the highly-infectious virus.
Unfortunately, the situation today is now worse than when Victoria first went into lockdown in March.
What the restrictions mean
If you live in the Melbourne metropolitan area or the Shire of Mitchell the message is simple: you need to stay at home.
There are four reasons you can leave home:
1. Shopping for food or other essential items
2. To provide caregiving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
3. For exercise (outdoor exercise only, with only one other person or members of your household)
4. Work or study, if you cannot work or study from home
The other restrictions in place from July 9 are:
• Public gatherings of no more than two people, observing social distancing of 1.5 metres.
• No visitors to your home.
• You can no longer visit friends and family who live at another household except for caregiving or compassionate reasons.
• Restaurants and cafes can open to serve takeaway and home delivery only.
• Pubs, bars, clubs, nightclubs will be closed. They can offer take away food and alcohol.
• Beauty salons are closed, apart from hairdressers and barbers.
• Libraries and community venues will be closed, except for essential public support services like food banks.
• Religious ceremonies can be held online only.
• Indoor gyms, training facilities and pools will be closed.
• Cinemas are closed.
• Outdoor activities are closed, except for facilities where people can exercise with no more than one other person or members of their household while maintaining 1.5 meters distance. Equipment should not be shared, and communal facilities cannot open.
• Holiday accommodation and camping facilities are closed.
Weary Dunlop and Nellie Melba went back into lock down on July 2 as a precautionary measure, and those restrictions will now remain in place for the next 6 weeks.
What that means for Ryman villages:
The care centres are closed to visitors.
Visitors will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances – for families of residents in end-of-life or palliative care.
These visitors must wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow careful protocols.
Zoom calls to residents will be available to keep in touch, and our care team will be able to help arrange these for you if you need assistance.
Our independent and serviced apartments residents must stay in their own households.
Our teams are there to help with anything residents need.
You should not need to leave the village unless you have an urgent medical need. We can help with a telehealth consultation if you prefer to speak with a GP instead of risking a trip to a medical practice. We can also provide medications to your door.
Checkpoints at the main gates have been re-established, and we are closed to all visitors.
All the communal facilities in our village centres, including our bowling greens, work sheds and pools, are closed.
Family or friends delivering groceries or medical essentials can drop them at the gate, and our team will deliver them to residents.
We encourage you to order groceries and medications online and we will deliver them to you. Our staff at the gate are disinfecting and re-bagging all grocery deliveries to reduce the risk of infection. We’ll be restarting deliveries of bread and milk.
If you are exercising on the village grounds, please stay at least 1.5m away from other people.
Residents’ mental health and wellbeing
We’ve restarted welfare checks to make sure everyone is doing OK and has everything they need. If you are feeling lonely or blue and would like one of our staff to visit you, please let our team know when they phone, or you can ring reception at any time.
This is a challenging time for many people, and it’s important that as a community we support each other as much as possible.
If you’d like to speak to someone professionally, I encourage you to call our OCP service on 1800 273 865. Just let them know you are a Ryman resident and the village you are from. This is a confidential service, the identity of anyone using OCP is not disclosed to Ryman, we merely pay the bill.
Ways to keep in touch
We want to ease the burden of non-urgent inquiries on your village team and we have established a team to help.
If your query is urgent contact your village directly
For not so urgent inquiries please contact us on 1800 288 299 or by emailing email@example.com
For residents who are online, you can find wellbeing advice at https://www.rymanhealthcare.com.au/wellness
Please ring your loved ones
We are doing everything we can to help you keep in touch during this period. The best way to connect is by phone or video call.
Many of our residents are now familiar with using Zoom, and we have technical support available at both villages if anyone needs assistance. Just contact reception.
Please don’t be afraid to call your loved ones to see how they are doing. Keeping connected with friends and family at times like these is so important, so reach out if you can.
When COVID-19 first emerged in Australia many months ago, we told you our number one priority was to make Weary Dunlop and Nellie Melba retirement villages safe havens for our residents.
That goal has not changed one bit.
While we all hoped the fight against the virus would be behind us by now, I have complete confidence that our village communities will once again pull together to help ensure we all stay safe and healthy.
Thanks for your support,
Victorian Operations Manager