COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

Guidelines on the rights of people with disability in health and disability care during COVID-19

Please click here for easy-to-read PDF

The Australian Human Rights Commission has issued Guidelines to support the implementation of the Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability (the Plan) during COVID-19.

Key points 

  • The Management and Operational Plan for COVID-19 for People with Disability (the Plan) has been developed to provide a targeted response for people with disability during the pandemic.

  • The Plan reflects the Australian Government’s commitment to upholding the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

  • To support the Plan, the Australian Human Rights Commission has issued Guidelines on the rights of people with disability in health and disability care during COVID-19.

  • These guidelines are designed to assist health care and disability workers to take the human rights of people with disability into account during COVID-19.

Message from CRANES CEO

Dear Customers,

CRANES is committed to providing ongoing support services during the current health crisis by working within relevant health guidelines and regulations to ensure the safety of our customers, staff and the local community.


If you have elected to keep services in place, we ask that you partner with us by also following current health guidelines and regulations to ensure your safety and that of our workers and the wider community.


The most important weapon we have against COVID-19 is physical distancing and personal hygiene. Regular up-to-date information is available through NSW Health or by contacting the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.


If you require health advice or are feeling unwell, please call your doctor or phone Health Direct on 1800 022 222.


Customers receiving support services at this time are requested to:

  • Contact CRANES if you or anyone in your household have any of the following symptoms:

  • Contact CRANES if you or anyone in your household has visited Victoria or Metropolitan Sydney in the past 14 days.

  • Contact CRANES if you or anyone in your household has diarrhoea or any other illness that could put our staff at risk.

  • Ensure that you wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol based sanitiser, including when a Cranes worker enters and leaves your home.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing and sneezing or use your elbow, not your hands.

  • Maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres from Cranes workers or other people when possible.

  • If you are being transported by car – preferably, sit in the back seat on the passenger’s side to maintain a physical distance from your Cranes worker.


If we work in partnership and do our part to minimise the chances of COVID-19 spreading, I am confident we can continue our valuable services uninterrupted.


Kind Regards,

Daniel Becker

Chief Executive Officer

Message from CRANES CEO

Dear All,

With COVID-19 restrictions easing in NSW from today, I wanted to provide clarity with regard to the status of our various programs.

Abilities and Over 65's

Accommodation – visitation restrictions remain in place (pre-arranged visits limited to immediate family only).


Restrictions are being reviewed in-line with health advice for vulnerable peoples regularly.

Daily Life – our goal is to assist people with a disability or the aged to participate in their chosen activities. With restrictions easing the following are now permissible:

  • Cafés, bistros and restaurants

  • Hairdressers and barbers

  • Shopping and retail

  • Use of outdoor equipment in public places, with caution

  • Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people

  • Swimming in outdoor pools

Hubs and Clubs – at this stage we are anticipating that our group programs will not recommence prior to July 1 2020, which is in-line with other providers I am in frequent communication with. The manner in which our group programs re-open is also likely to be different and may see small cluster groups instead of large groups.

Sparkle Flock – service as usual

Child, Youth and Families

FARS – parenting workshops online

Family Workers – support continuing with adaptations (limited face to face)

Jacaranda preschool – preschool operational as usual

Mental health First Aid – moving to on-line format

MyTime Support Group – online

Pal Care – visiting suspended for now

Supervised Access – CRANES will begin accepting supervised access appointments from Monday 18 May under strict social distancing and infection control rules  

Supported Playgroup – online playgroup weekly

Venue Hire

CRANES venue hire will remain closed until all COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions are lifted.


No time for complacency!

Whilst the lifting of some restrictions is fantastic, we need to remain vigilant ourselves and encourage our customers also, to continue practicing physical distancing and appropriate hygiene measures:

  • 4 square metre rule in confined spaces (including in office meeting rooms)

  • 1.5 metres between each person

  • Making sure to regularly clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub

  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow

  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu like symptoms

  • Call/questions customers prior to undertaking appointment to ensure they do not have flu like symptoms

  • Don’t come to work if you are displaying any flu like symptoms


The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.

Keep up the great work people!!!

Message from CRANES CEO

Dear Family/Carer

It is wonderful to see that Australia appears to be flattening the curve against COVID-19 infections. There now appears to be a very small light at the end of the tunnel!

As a result we have this week seen the NSW Government announce a relaxation of visiting other people at home from Friday 1 May

Whilst this is welcome news for all concerned, we cannot afford to become complacent with regard to vulnerable people and as such CRANES will be relaxing its visitation rules to Supported Independent Living (SIL) homes in the following ways:

  • From Friday 1 May, up to 2 adults and their children will be allowed to visit CRANES SIL homes

  • Visitors must first make an appointment with the relevant house leader 

  • Visits will be restricted to no more than one hour (1 hour), with only a single visit allowed per customer in any 24hr period

  • You may also need to sit with them outside or in a different room than usual and not be close together to ensure social distancing, including avoiding hand-shaking, hugging or kissing

  • No other visitors should come to the home

  • Customers are not to be taken away from the home during the visit


At the point of entry to the SIL home, all visitors will be asked screening questions by our staff and will be refused entry if they answer yes to any of the following:

  • Have you been overseas or travelled on a cruise ship in the last 14 days?

  • Have you been in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days?

  • Are you in close contact with or caring for someone who is currently unwell?

  • Have you currently or within the last 7 days been unwell or been aware of any of the following symptoms: 

    • fever, night sweats or chills

    • cough

    • runny nose

    • sore or scratchy throat

    • shortness of breath


Where possible infa-red temperature checks will also be conducted for all visitors at the point of entry, with any visitation group where one member records a temperature above 37.5 deg not to enter the home. (this is available in some but not all homes at this stage with additional thermometers on back order).

Our primary concern is to keep your loved one/s safe, so if you are feeling unwell, you should not visit even if you have only experienced mild symptoms like those listed above.

Again, I apologise for this disruption to normal routines and will continue to review our visitation policy in-line with current health guidelines for vulnerable peoples.

Federal Government COVID-19 Infection Control Training
Please click here for a copy of the COVID-19 Infection Control Training issued by the Federal Government of Australia.
Coronavirus: 5 Things to do right now
Coronavirus: What is it?
Information and support for people with a disability and carers-Auslan

Message to all CRANES Staff, Volunteers, Customers and Carers

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to develop, we are closely monitoring the Commonwealth and State Governments’ announcements and health advice relating to the virus.  The health and well-being of our staff, volunteers and the customers/community we serve is our primary focus during this period of uncertainty, and we are actively developing contingency plans to minimise any potential spread of the virus whilst keeping CRANES as operational as possible. 

We are currently assessing all of our upcoming events and program activities to ensure we are taking the appropriate measures to ensure the safety of everyone involved.


We understand that some of you may be affected by the decisions being made by CRANES in response to COVID-19 and we will continue to provide you with updates that may change at short notice. 


Preventative Actions (what we are doing now)

  • Ensuring staff and volunteers adhere to appropriate health and hygiene practices

  • Following existing policies and procedures and maintaining a usual best practice approach to infection control across all our services

  • Staying updated with health alerts and following health notification advice procedures (such as those attached from the Australian Government Department of Health)

  • Applying a risk assessment process to any new scenarios and maintaining regulations, compliance and common sense


Contingency Plans (what we will do moving forward)

Initially CRANES will be implementing the following measures (Contingency Plan A) effective from Monday 23rd of March 2020:

CRANES offices in Grafton and Yamba

  • Operational during normal business Hrs

  • No meetings with staff groups of more than 10; staff to maintain social distance of 1.5 meters where possible

  • Facility hire to external stakeholders closed until further notice

  • Flexible work arrangements for staff who are immuno-compromised, over 65 or a carer as required


Sunshine Club, Hubs & Clubs, First People Elders Groups

  • Group programs closed, effective from Monday 30 March 2020

  • Customers to be offered 1:1 support as an alternative effective immediately; rostered where possible from group program staff

  • PPE (mask, gloves) provided to staff for personal cares


Daily Life 1:1 Support

  • No change to services at this stage; staff to maintain social distance of 1.5 meters from customers where possible

  • PPE (mask, gloves) provided to staff for personal cares


Accommodation Program

  • Minimal change to services at this stage; staff to maintain social distance of 1.5 meters from customers where possible

  • Customer outings to be limited to attending appointments and food shopping only

  • PPE (mask, gloves) provided to staff for personal cares

  • Regular environmental cleans of all SIL homes

  • Capacity building training for customers in personal hygiene and social distancing


Families Program

  • Limit of 10 participants per venue per day + necessary staff for groups; staff to maintain social distance of 1.5 meters from customers where possible

  • Regular environmental cleans of the group program environment

  • No change to 1:1 services at this stage; staff to maintain social distance of 1.5 meters from customers where possible


Jacaranda Pre School

  • No change to services at this stage; staff to maintain social distance of 1.5 meters from customers where possible

  • Regular environmental cleans of the preschool environment


Moving forward CRANES will continue to monitor the situation and if necessary may need to enact the following measures, either in part or in full (Contingency Plan B):

  • Flexible work arrangement for ALL office-based staff

  • Self-isolation leave arrangements with part-time and casual support workers in accordance with Fairwork advice

  • Closure of Jacaranda Pre School and Families Program Groups

  • Individual arrangements for Accommodation Customers/Carers in the event that CRANES was forced into a full service shut down*

Note* - each family/carer will be individually consulted prior to any decision to enact this mitigation measure.


As you would all appreciate, the COVID-19 situation is developing rapidly and as such the above contingency plans may change at short notice.

I apologise for the disruption to services which the above measures will inevitably cause and look forward to returning CRANES services back to normal as soon as possible.


Kind regards,

Daniel Becker
PDF Department of Health Information Sheet (click this link)