Wayside Chapel’s Response to COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Coronavirus is an evolving international health concern and is having undeniable impacts around the globe.

Wayside Chapel is currently implementing a response to coronavirus in relation to our provision of services to visitors, as well as addressing work, health and safety concerns for staff, volunteers, and community programs.

Wayside Chapel is currently following the advice of the Australian Government, Chief Medical Officer and the Australian Government Department of Health and working with program partners to ensure that all possible procedures are put in place to minimise risks relating to coronavirus and community transmission.

At this stage our focus is on immediate risk mitigation and preventative measures. However Wayside acknowledges that there will likely be more changes announced in the near future.

Kings Cross Community Services Centre Operational Changes – 28 July 2020 

Due to some recently confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Potts Point area at other venues, Wayside Chapel will now be operating under further restrictions to ensure the safety of our community. These include:

  • Centre based services will impose a strict limit of 5 people into the centre for use of showers and toilets only. There will be no onsite care coordination, visiting clinics, phone usage or phone charging. They will no longer accept donations of any kind or store any personal belongings
  • The Cafe will be serving food from the front side door to minimise the number of visitors onsite. All visitors will be encouraged to collect and go in order to reduce gatherings
  • Op shops will continue in their online mode only. The donation chute is closed in Kings Cross temporarily until otherwise notified.

Operational Changes – ongoing 

Wayside are activating the following changes in our operations in response to COVID-19:

  • All non-essential activities have been stopped to enable all resources and to be focused on the sustainable provision of services in our Community Services Centres in Kings Cross and Bondi.
  • A new model of care has been implemented to focus on emergency relief.
  • Our cafes have closed to the public, but will continue to provide takeaway meals from areas outside, as we encourage people to exercise physical distancing and remain safe.
  • Our care coordinators will work to a phone-based model when our doors are closed to keep supporting people in crisis.
  • A street outreach team will deliver care packs to people on the streets and home visits.
  • In Kings Cross this will mean the temporary closure of activity programs including Wellness Program, and Pathways programs.
  • The Community Service Centre is now open between Mon – Sun 9:30am-1pm to provide core services including:
    • practical assistance including showers, emergency clothing packs, phone charging, blankets;
    • care-coordination including crisis accommodation referral, medical and Centrelink referrals, assessment for home visits; and
    • takeaway breakfast and lunch to be served from an area outside in order to meet physical distancing requirements. (Note Café and seating area will be closed to the public)
  • In Kings Cross, the Community Service Centre is now closed to the public from Mon – Sun 1pm-9pm, with staff working to provide:
    • phone outreach for people in crisis or in self isolation, including referrals to other services and preparation of care packs;
    • outreach services by foot and van to deliver care packs to people on the streets and yard drops to homes; and
    • street outreach targeting key areas and known visitors including provision of care packs, follow-up care coordination and referrals.
    • foot outreach and front yard visits do not happen on weekends.
  • In Bondi Beach, the Community Services Centre is now operating at reduced opening hours of Monday to Friday, 9am-1pm providing:
    • takeaway meals to be served from outside areas in order to meet to physical distancing requirements. (Note café and indoor seating area will be closed to the public);
    • phone outreach and support for people in crisis or in self isolation, including referrals to other services; and
    • outreach services by foot and van will be mobilised to deliver care packs to people on the streets and yard drops to homes.
  • In both locations, Community Service Centre visitors are being ‘triaged’ into the building one by one by staff according to service need, with clear waiting areas marked out to meet indoor physical distancing requirements.
  • Wayside Chapel Ops Shops are closed to the public, however still accepting donations of good quality, clean clothing, towels and blankets in clothing bins. Staff will focus on preparing emergency clothing for distribution.
  • All church services will be held online until further notice.
  • Heart Cafe, our social enterprise café in Bondi Beach, has reopened to the public, following all social distancing rules with maximum of 10 people for bookings, and is also open for takeaway and delivery.
  • All non-frontline and administrative staff are now working from home with all scheduled meetings being held virtually.
  • All visitors who are housed have been encouraged to stay at home.
  • Wayside Chapel’s Corporate Volunteering and School Education Programs will be postponed until January 2021, but we are looking into a virtual alternative.
  • Community lunches will no longer be held in the Community Hall. Takeaway meals will be served from outside areas.
  • All volunteers who are in high-risk categories have been directed to cancel their shifts.
  • All people at Wayside Chapel are being asked to practice physical distancing measures of keeping 2 x 2 metres (4 square metres) away from other people. An appropriate maximum capacity will be enforced in all rooms and spaces.

Other Risk Mitigation Strategies

Wayside Chapel is monitoring information and following advice from Chief Medical Officer on a daily basis at www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert. A dedicated staff member has been assigned to monitor this and she will check the advice daily and provide details to the Executive for further decisions.

  • The risk matrix will be reviewed and updated regularly as the situation changes to ensure that all risks are identified and mitigated as required.
  • Extra action will be taken to ensure that people with vulnerable health status are supported to remain healthy and well. This extra action includes current negotiation with our health partners to provide flu shots.
  • Stocks of hand sanitiser and masks are currently being made available and stocks will be replenished where necessary.
  • Wayside Chapel will not conduct any non-essential public gatherings of more than 100 people.

Messaging for Visitors, Staff, In-reach Providers, Corporate Visitors, Event Patrons and Volunteers

  • Will not be allowed to access Wayside Chapel if they have travelled internationally and are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Australia.
  • Should not come to Wayside if feeling unwell and/or experiencing flu-like symptoms, should isolate themselves and seek appropriate medical advice.
  • Should practice social distancing measures of keeping 2 x 2 metres (4 square metres) away from other people and avoid spending long periods of time in enclosed spaces with other people. An appropriate maximum capacity will be enforced in all rooms and spaces.
  • Should avoid shaking hands and other close contact.
  • Wash hands often and thoroughly (signage has been displayed in bathrooms).
  • Minimise touching of face.
  • Wash and sanitise hands regularly. Hand sanitiser is available throughout Wayside Chapel.

Protecting Yourself and Others 

To help reduce the spread please ensure you follow the good hygiene practices below to protect yourself and others:

    • Cover mouth and nose with elbow crook or tissue when coughing or sneezing, throw tissues away immediately and wash hands.
    • Clean hands regularly using soap and water or if unable to get to a basin,  use alcohol-based hand wash (hand sanitiser) for a minimum of 20 seconds to be effective.
    • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and/or cough, or any of the symptoms.
    • If unwell, people will be instructed to avoid contact with others (stay a minimum of 2 metres away).
    • Sanitise glasses, cups, forks and spoons regularly in dishwashers. Areas where there is no dishwasher instructed bring all items to commercial dishwashers.
    • If staff are feeling unwell and/or experiencing the flu-like symptoms, they should seek medical advice and stay home until they are well.

If Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms

Any person who has symptoms including fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath; been diagnosed with COVID-19, have recently returned from overseas (or come into contact with someone who has); or have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 must:

  • self-isolate for 14 days;
  • seek treatment if they suspect they may be affected by the virus;
  • contact their doctor, or local Emergency Department and give them details of their symptoms and treatment; and
  • wear a mask and move to a private room and call 1300 066 055 for further advice. There is a walk-in emergency testing clinic at RPA. Hospitals will be responsible for quarantine arrangements.
  • Staff confirmed with a case of COVID-19 will need to be cleared of symptoms and provide a medical certificate to that effect before being permitted to return to work.

Staff Procedures Regarding Visitors Feeling Unwell and/or Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms

Staff who identifies any visitor displaying symptoms including fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath; has been diagnosed with COVID-19; have recently returned from overseas (or come into contact with someone who has); or have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 must follow the procedures:

  • notify their immediate manager and Wayside Program Manager;
  • get a surgical mask for visitor from team leader;
  • refer patient for testing at St. Vincent’s Hospital, or other testing facility.
  • call an ambulance and isolate the visitor in meeting room until they can be taken to testing facilities at St Vincent’s Hospital if the visitor is too unwell to make their own way to hospital;
  • sanitise the isolation space and other areas used by the symptomatic visitor; and
  • consider implementing exclusion for a period of 7 days, or until such time that the visitor is symptom free, or medically cleared.

Business and Personal Travel: Self-isolation Requirements

Australia’s borders are now closed.

A travel ban has been is in place for the rest of the world, and people have been directed to not travel internationally.

Wayside requires all Visitors, Staff, In-reach Providers, Corporate Visitors, Event Patrons and Volunteers to not attend Wayside and self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to Australia if they have recently travelled internationally to any country, or returned from overseas.

This applies all people – whether they be citizens, residents or visitors – will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Australia.

If you have had close contact with anyone who has recently traveled overseas, we ask that you observe the same precautions.

If you are planning to meet with international clients or visitors in coming weeks (particularly people travelling from the countries identified above), we strongly recommend you doing so via teleconference or Video Conference.

We are not currently placing any restrictions on domestic travel. We will continue to monitor the situation. Where possible, we recommend limiting travel and exploring alternative meeting arrangements (i.e. virtual).

Please refer to the Federal Department of Health’s advice and Australian Government’s Isolation Guidance and Chief Medical Officer for further information.

To support the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, please donate here. 

Click here to donate to our emergency appeal