There has been a great deal of confusion regarding the rules for our industry that will determine the conditions required for both Victoria and NSW as they prepare to reopen and what is considered mandatory vaccination for each state.

While for health and registered allied health practitioners there is a mandatory requirement for vaccination the NSW Health Order Exemption Department issued a letter to us indicating to the skin therapist and dermal clinicians there was no mandatory requirement for vaccination. 

See correspondence below:

Email from the NSW Government

Information about limited restrictions in Regional and Rural NSW can be found at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/limited-restrictions

Information about affected Regional and Rural NSW restrictions can be found at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/affected-regions#stay-at-home-rules

What did we Request?

At the beginning of August, in support of business survival, APAN approached both the Victorian and NSW Premier’s offices. We also approached the Health Ministers in both states requesting consideration for less stringent measures with regards to the mandatory requirement of clients to be wearing masks through a treatment procedure. 

We brought to the government’s attention that skin therapists and dermal therapists are required to hold skin penetration licenses and infection control qualifications. On that basis, we requested permission to allow their clients who are undertaking skin treatments to remove their masks. While in the treatment room, allowing these procedures to be delivered.  We did not request any exemptions with regards to mandatory vaccinations. However, on 23rd September we received the above response which we circulated to the industry.

Let us make it very clear, APAN’s position is not “for, or against vaccination”, as coercion is an illegal practice. 

Our role is to provide you with credible data and support you to make an informed decision about what is right for you. That is our duty of care to you.

While we support the Government in the need for regulations and standards, we also consider it our responsibility to challenge the government and advocate for outcomes that will be fairer and serve our industry best.

With regards to the vaccination issue, it is important for our industry to understand that once a Health Order is issued, that order then becomes law. It is therefore important that we operate lawfully and always maintain a professional and courteous approach with our communication both with the government, clients, and staff. 

While the majority within our industry are vaccinated, we are also aware of some individuals who have serious reasons to believe that vaccination would pose too high a risk for them and are seeking exemptions. This morning we spoke with our solicitors in Victoria who also have offices in NSW, and they advised us that if someone has serious health concerns for taking the vaccine they can seek an Exemption Certificate from their doctor. The doctor can then assess their situation and determine if an exemption is warranted.  Here is the link to this application form.

The other advice that we were given is that since the resignation of NSW’s Premier Gladys Berejiklian, a final Health Order for NSW has not been determined. This should be announced in the next few days when the new Premier Dominic Perrottet reveals his plans.

It was also suggested that there will probably be a retraction of the two dates for returning to work, as there are current discussions to introduced one date for all businesses to return to work. 

Once we have a final answer, we will notify you. 

Are you happy to make the most of your return to business?

Meanwhile, regardless of the exact dates that businesses can return, it is important to get prepared.  Here are of few guidelines to help you get ready:

Compulsory Requirements

Regardless of the state, you are currently in. It is important to review and implement these original strict COVID INFECTION CONTROL MEASURES: 

This includes:

  • QR Code scanning of each client.
  • Checking with each client for symptoms of COVID-19. It is also advisable that you notify your clients via email to cancel any appointment with you if they have any COVID SYMPTOMS.
  • Social distancing wherever possible.
  • Include on your client analysis form a question: Are you vaccinated (as an additional record).
  • Masks are mandatory for both staff and clients.
  • Strict sanitising procedures must be implemented and maintained.
  • Gloves must be worn wherever possible.
  • Disinfect each room pre, and post-treatment. This includes door handles, benches, bins, beds and implements you may have handled.

At the beginning of COVID-19 APAN develop a COVID CLINICAL SAFETY POLICY.  All our members received these free of charge and non-members we able the access the kit for a small fee.  This kit included PPE requirements, protocols and procedures list, implementation guidelines, artwork as well as each member was given their own state COVID-SAFE government requirements.

Please ensure you are reviewing these are following their strict guidelines. Another useful tool is the Pandemic Infection control study program that you can access here. This was developed by Emeritus Professor Laurence Walsh. It is an excellent study course that is supported by an International Safety and Infection Control Charter. 

Finetune your marketing approach

As we are approaching the busiest time of the year, this is the perfect time to review and update your services. Introduce a new approach that is fresh and exciting. It’s a great time to look at your prices before reopening to review how you can enhance your services to provide additional value for your client and to help support your business growth. Rename some of your services and don’t forget to include alluring incentives that will entice client engagement.

Celebrate your opening

Reach out to your clients in a spirit of celebration and communicate how much you value and appreciate them and how you are looking forward to celebrating their return.  Make the event a truly incredible experience for them.  Throw in a new treat and include a reward for them for introducing a friend.

Raise your standards with staff

Retrain your staff and give them winning strategies.  Together, discuss ways of providing a warm greeting for each of your clients and effective ways to communicate your brand with special care, warmth, and compassion that will make each client feel truly appreciated and special.  

Our duty of care is to you!

As we are constantly in touch with the authorities, please let us know how we can help you. 

We want to make it very clear, APAN’s primary focus is to defend you and your needs and provide you with the tools that will support and encourage you to retain your commitment and excel in the following five areas:

  • Implementation and maintaining strict infection control standards
  • Stay focused on your business goals to continue to grow and survive
  • Support you and your staff’s mental health
  • Support your personal health by optimising your immunity through appropriate nutrition, rest, sleep and health measure.
  • Provide you with tools to grow your knowledge and education

Collectively, our objective is to remain incident-free and prove to the Government that we are a responsible, valuable, and much-needed professional community with excellent evidence of safety compliance and NO INCIDENTS.

Our pitch to the Government is to gain their confidence that we are not a risky industry.  However, to achieve this we all need to do our part and work together to ensure this goal.

While we respect and work closely with the government in safety standards and regulatory compliance, our priority is to present to the government your needs and what is needed for your survival when making policies for our industry. We want to protect you from rules that are unnecessary excessive and to the detriment of your business survival and your staff employment security. 

If you require any assistance in moving forward and would like to speak to an expert, please contact APAN info@apanetwork.com or 07 5930 360, we are here to help.