Guidance for strata residents on keeping safe during the COVID pandemic
Last updated: 20 September 2021
The covid situation in NSW is evolving. We will keep this page updated with the latest advice from the NSW government, as it relates to strata and community living.
Update: 20 October 2021
Masks are still mandatory in all common property areas of residential strata premises in NSW. NSW Health has just released some new posters to assist owners corporations communicating to residents and visitors. There are both blue and white copies for print and digital distribution available:
Update: 11 October 2021
From 11 October 2021, new rules are in place for fully vaccinated people in NSW (and those with a medical exemption). Non vaccinated people are still subject to restrictions. You can access the full rules on the NSW Health site:
A quick summary of the new rules
For both vaccinated and non vaccinated people:
- Mask in indoor spaces, including common areas must still be worn (this applies to both vaccinated and non vaccinated people)
- You must continue to check in with the Services NSW app or provide your details upon entering a premise
For vaccinated people:
- If you are fully vaccinated you can participate in an outdoor sport and exercise gathering of up to 20 people. You can have 10 fully vaccinated visitors to your house provided your household is also fully vaccinated (those over 16 years)
- If you are fully vaccinated you can visit a retail premises or business that provides goods and services, a hairdresser, beauty salon or massage premises, an entertainment facility, a place of worship and hospitality venues provided you follow the rules: carry vaccination evidence, check in and follow the face mask rules.
- Construction and renovations across NSW can commence or continue.
- For rules about renovations, repairs, maintenance and cleaning at your home, follow the rules for visitors to a home.
- If you are fully vaccinated, you can attend an outdoor event, so long as the capacity limit is not exceeded.
- You can work anywhere in NSW (a travel registration is not required) if a workplace can open, it may need to follow the rules for COVID-19 Safe Check in
- Weddings and funerals in NSW may have up to 100 people who are fully vaccinated.
Short term/holiday accommodation
If you are fully vaccinated you can take a holiday outside the local government area you live in.
- If you live in a local government area in Greater Sydney (including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, and Wollongong local government areas) you cannot travel outside Greater Sydney for holidays or recreational visits including day trips.
- If you live outside Greater Sydney, you cannot enter Greater Sydney for a holiday or recreational visits including day trips inside Greater Sydney. You can take a holiday in any local government area outside of Greater Sydney.
- You can visit a holiday home or short-term accommodation with your household or up to 10 fully vaccinated people.
For people who are not fully vaccinated
- If you are over the age of 16 years and are not fully vaccinated you cannot visit another person’s place of residence, except in limited circumstances (same rules apply as in lockdown)
- If you are not fully vaccinated you are allowed to visit a home – and have a person visit your home – for caring and compassionate reasons
- If you are not fully vaccinated you can participate in a gathering for sport or exercise with one other person or with your household.
- If you are not fully vaccinated you cannot visit a gym or indoor recreation facility.
- If you are not fully vaccinated you can gather with one other person or with your household outdoors
- If you are not fully vaccinated you cannot attend an outdoor event.
- If you are not fully vaccinated, you can only visit critical retail premises (such as supermarkets, post office, pet supplies, petrol stations, and banks. For a full list visit NSW Health)
- If you are not fully vaccinated you cannot visit a retail hairdresser, beauty salon, massage premises, a hospitality venue, entertainment facilities, or a place of worship.
- If you are not fully vaccinated you can only attend a small wedding service (up to 11 people)or a small funeral (up to 10 people)
- If you are not fully vaccinated you cannot take a holiday outside the local government area you live in and you can only use a holiday home or short-term accommodation with people who are from your household.
Rules on work for people not fully vaccinated
- If you live in Greater Sydney and are not fully vaccinated and it is not reasonably practicable for you to work from home, you can go to work, so long as it is not at a business re-opening at 70%.
- If you live in regional and rural NSW and are not fully vaccinated and if you have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine your employer must allow you to work from home if is reasonably practicable to do so.
- If you have not had any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, you must work from home if it is reasonably practicable to do so. Your employer must require you to work from home unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so.
- If you have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and you are required to attend your place of work you can go to work.
- From 1 November 2021, you must be fully vaccinated to go to work.
Update: 6 October 2021
From the Monday after NSW hits the 70% (aged 16 and over) double-dose vaccination target. Restrictions will ease for fully vaccinated people. This includes:
- Up to 10 visitors are allowed in your home at any one time (visitor limits don’t apply for children under the age of 12).
- Small outdoor gatherings and recreation are permitted with up to 20 people (a 2-person limit for people who are not fully vaccinated).
- Visitors to residents in aged care facilities and disability homes are permitted in line with their policies.
- Occupied construction reopens (including cleaning, maintenance, renovations to buildings and other indoor trade works)
- Hospitality reopens with a density limit for up to 20 people per booking
- Non-critical retail reopens with density limits (people who are not fully vaccinated can only access non-critical retail via Click & Collect).
Personal services (including hairdressers, spas, beauty and nail salons, tattoo and massage parlours) reopen with density limits for up to 5 clients.
- Schools reopen with Level 3 COVID-19 safety measures
People under the age of 16 who are not fully vaccinated are allowed unaccompanied in their workplaces and all outdoor settings, but must be with a fully vaccinated member of their household in hospitality venues (unless collecting takeaways), entertainment facilities, major recreation facilities and places of worship.
Mandatory masks in indoor common property areas
It is mandatory for all residents and visitors to wear a fitted face mask in indoor areas of common property in strata-titled, community titled and company titled property in Greater Sydney and regional affected areas where stay at home rules are in place.
Common property areas include shared foyers or lobbies, lifts, stairwells and corridors, and shared laundry facilities of apartment complexes. This advice applies to everyone, including residents, visitors, building managers, concierge staff, contractors, delivery drivers and cleaners.
It is also now mandatory to wear a mask when you leave the house with the exception of exercise. So in local government areas where the stay at home rules apply, when you leave home you must carry a face mask with you at all times.
For more on the rules for Face Masks visit nsw.gov.au
Moving through common areas
People living in residential buildings should take care when moving through common areas to reduce the risk of COVID-19.
- Clean your hands with sanitiser before and after touching commonly touched surfaces such as door handles, intercom buttons, rubbish bin lids, communal laundry facilities etc.
- Wear a mask in indoor common areas
- Maintain social distancing
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid close contact with people unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms
- Avoid touching your face and avoid shaking hands with others.
What if someone in my apartment has been identified as having COVID-19?
If someone has been identified as COVID positive, they need to self-isolate within their lot. This means someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, cannot access any common areas until they have been cleared of the virus. Accessing common property while on isolation orders are in breach of the Public Health Act and a breach of by-laws (creating a hazard on common property/use the common property in a way that interferes unreasonably with others in the scheme using and enjoying it).
What about the other people in my apartment?
Anyone living with a person identified as COVID positive is considered a close contact and is also under strict self-isolation orders and are also prohibited from entering common property areas. NSW Health will discuss with them their living arrangements and whether they can effectively self-isolate from other people in their household. If they can’t effectively self-isolate, alternative accommodation may be arranged.
What happens if I don’t follow self-isolation rules?
Not following self-isolation guidelines puts family, friends and the community at risk. It is also a criminal offence and attracts heavy penalties. For individuals, the maximum penalty is $11,000, 6 months in prison, or both with a further $5,500 fine for each day the offence continues.
High Covid-19 risk premises
On Sunday 6 September the Minister for Health gazetted updated Public Health (COVID-19 Self-Isolation) Order (No 3) 2021. The Order directs a person diagnosed with Covid-19 and close contacts to isolate inside their home. The updated Order includes additional powers for the Minister, health practitioners and Police in order to control the transmission of Covid-19 amongst apartment residents.
An apartment building may be declared to be a “high Covid-19 risk premises” if at least one dwelling houses a person diagnosed with Covid-19 or a person who is a close contact with a positive case. The Ministerial declaration is for a maximum period of 14 days but can be re-issued. This could lead to lockdowns longer than 14 days if transmission occurs and more cases are detected, as has already happened in several buildings. The orders apply to all residents and visitors at the time of the declaration.
If your apartment block is declared a High Covid-19 Risk Premises that declaration will be made on the Health Website. The effect of the declaration is that it confines residents to their home, subject to an emergency or instructions of an authorised medical officer or Commissioner of Police. If you are away from your apartment you must return to your residence immediately becoming aware of the declaration.
No one is to enter the building unless permitted. The Police and Health Practitioners will enter to provide medical care, testing and vaccination. A person may also enter at the direction of the Police. We assume this includes the delivery of food and volunteers or workers providing support to the residents in the block.
A resident or a person involved in the management of the building MUST provide information to the Police that will assist in the identification of residents and visitors (onsite) if directed to do so. This will normally fall to the Secretary of the Strata Committee, the Chair or the Strata Manager.
Maintaining harmony in your strata scheme
Living in an apartment means that we are all a lot closer and things like noises and smells have a greater impact. Our mental health can also be put to the test with added stresses such as balancing working from home with homeschooling, a business closure, loss of income, or perhaps you’re a shift worker who is struggling to sleep due to the increase of noise.
For these reasons, it’s never been more important to be mindful of your behaviours and their impact on your neighbour as everyone has a right to the peaceful enjoyment of one’s home and we have to work together to achieve this. We have created a video called Strata Harmony, which can be found on our homepage. The video provides some guidance on maintaining harmony.
Disposing of waste
Waste items from people in isolation with suspected or confirmed COVID, should be placed in the red-lidded rubbish bin.
As there is no state-issued guidance to date for people living in strata on how to dispose of waste appropriately without risking further infection, we recommend the following common-sense approach to removal of garbage:
If you have been identified as COVID positive, or a close contact, and have been requested to self-isolate, we recommend that you:
- Dispose of all used personal care items such as tissues, disposable masks, gloves in a rubbish bin that’s lined with a plastic bag.
- When the bin is three-quarters full, tie off the plastic bag to prevent spillage of the contents. Avoid touching the inside of the bag.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, then use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if your hands and double-bag the rubbish. Use disposable gloves to move the rubbish to a location for pick up.
- Contact your building manager, or a strata committee representative to discuss the proper arrangements for disposal of your rubbish.
Visitors to your residence
People who are fully vaccinated
If all members of the household who are aged 16 years or over are fully vaccinated, you can have up to 10 fully vaccinated visitors to your place of residence.
You cannot have a person aged over 16 years who is not fully vaccinated visit your place of residence, except in limited circumstances. People under 12 are not counted as visitors.
Even if you are fully vaccinated, you must not visit a place of residence if:
- any person at the place of residence who is aged over 16 years and is not fully vaccinated
- if there are more than 10 other visitors at the place of residence
- if any of the visitors at a place of residence who are aged over 16 years are not fully vaccinated.
Workers are not counted as visitors. Workers are authorised to visit homes whether or not they or the household are fully vaccinated.
People who are not fully vaccinated
If you are over the age of 16 years and are not fully vaccinated you cannot visit another person’s place of residence, except in limited circumstances.
You can visit someone at their home, and have someone visit your home for the purposes of:
- helping someone move house
- giving effect to new or existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children or siblings for children who do not live in the same household as a parent or sibling of the child
- because of an emergency or to avoid an injury, illness or risk of harm
- to view or inspect a property to lease or purchase it, but only in compliance with specific rules on property inspections
- caring or compassionate reasons.
Anyone under the age of 16 who is not fully vaccinated is not subject to these restrictions and may:
- visit homes if everyone in the home aged 16 years and older is fully vaccinated; and
- be visited in their homes if everyone aged 16 years and older in their home is is fully vaccinated.
Caring and compassionate visits
If you are not fully vaccinated you are allowed to visit a home – and have a person visit your home – for caring and compassionate reasons including:
- for carer’s responsibilities
- providing care or assistance to vulnerable people
- visiting a person you are in a relationship with but do not live with.
Visit our legislation page for the latest public health orders
If you are a committee member, visit our Guidance for Committee Members page
Visit our COVID financial support page for links to what’s available in NSW
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