Canberra COVID-19 Pandemic Information and Resources

Canberra COVID-19 Pandemic Information and Resources Main Image

Updated: Tuesday 14 September 2021

The ACT Government has extended lockdown restrictions until midnight, Friday 15 October 2021. The lockdown came into force Thursday 12 August 2021 due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT.

There will be some minor amendments to the public health directions that will come into effect from 11:59pm on Friday 17 September 2021.The ACT Government has allowed for a mid point review of the public health order in two weeks time.

These changes include:

  • Changes for real estate agents - Real estate agents are allowed to conduct in-person house inspections by private appointment. Only household members will be permitted to attend an appointment with one agent.
  • Changes to social and recreational sport - This will enable recreational or social sporting activities to recommence (e.g. social tennis, golf, or rowing) but does not include coaching, training or competition activity. Indoor sport remains not permitted at this time
  • Changes for small businesses - Small businesses who are currently permitted to operate a click and collect or click and deliver service can to have up to 5 people in the business at any one time, or one person per four square metres (whichever is lesser).
  • This is an increase from 2 people. Activities must accord with COVID-19 Requirements for Click and Collect Services for non-Essential Retailers.
  • Phased return to face-to-face learning - From 4 October 2021: Year 12 students can return to face to face learning (if the situation does not deteriorate). From 18 October 2021: Year 11 students can return to face to face learning (if the situation does not deteriorate).

There are a number of additional supports that have been announced today by the ACT Government.This includes $1,000 Utilities Concession for 2021-22, Support for Tenants and Landlords.

The ACT Government has released the COVID-19 Pathway Forward based upon the national plan.


There where amendments to restrictions that came into effect from 5:00pm Thursday 2 September. These changes include:

  • one household (any size) or up to 5 people can gather outdoors for up to 2 hours for exercise or non-organised recreation.
  • outdoor playgrounds will reopen where people can maintain physical distancing. Enclosed playgrounds will need to apply the one person per four square metre rule.
  • the number of people able to attend a funeral increased to no more than 20 people (excluding the people necessary to conduct the funeral).
  • the number of people able to attend a wedding increased to no more than 10 attendees (excluding the celebrant, but including persons being married and two witnesses).
  • other religious ceremonies which are time critical are permitted to go ahead with no more than 10 people (excluding those conducting the service).
  • the recommencement of services that operate outdoors and where physical distancing can be maintained, such as outdoor maintenance and gardening and dog grooming services.
  • ACT schools will continue with remote learning for the rest of Term 3. All ACT public schools and Early Childhood Education and Care services, including out of school hours care, will remain open for children of parents and carers who cannot work from home and vulnerable children.

There will also be a staged reopening of the construction sector under stringent COVID safe requirements from Friday 3 September 2021.

Further details of lockdown restriction rules are available on the COVID-19 website.


Whilst there have been some slight easing of restrictions, case numbers are still high and we need to continue to do our best as a community to stop the spread and suppress the virus. The main way we continue to do this is by limiting contact with others and following the health advice by staying home and only leaving for one of the following essential reasons.

These are:

  • To shop for essentials like groceries and medicine and supplies that are essential for personal needs or for vulnerable people.
  • To obtain essential health care, including to undertake a COVID-19 test or receive a scheduled COVID-19 vaccination.
  • To exercise outdoors for no more than one hour per day, with one other person, or your household group.
  • To provide essential caregiving services.
  • To undertake essential work.

Because of the extension of lockdown, financial supports remain available to individuals who have lost work and income through the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. The ACT Government has also expanded the support available to both employing and non-employing businesses impacted by ACT Health orders. A current list of supports are detailed below.

Keep up to date on the latest information with main sources of official government COVID-19 information at covid19.act.gov.au and health.gov.au. Keep listening to ABC Radio Canberra and 2CC as they are doing a really good job in keeping us informed. SBS is also providing COVID-19 information in around 60 languages.

The rules are in place to protect us, our families and the community. We have a collective responsibility to each other. Please be calm, kind and considered in your actions.

Stay safe and take care,

PS Our office will be closed for face to face meetings while the Canberra community is locked down, but we are available to assist you via email on [email protected] or by phone on 6293 1344.


ACT COVID-19 Health Advice

If you need to leave your home for one of the essential reasons, take your face mask with you, and wear it. Face masks are mandatory.

Please be patient with our health care workers. They are our fellow Canberrans so please treat them with dignity and respect. They are doing an amazing job in difficult circumstances.

Please keep up to date on the ACT Health Exposure website and if you have been at one of these exposure sites follow the health advice.

For the most detailed and up-to-date information please visit: covid19.act.gov.au


Vaccine information

Canberrans are leading the way in getting vaccinated. As of 14 September, we have over 70 per cent first dose and 52.9 per cent of Canberrans 16 and over who are fully vaccinated.

We understand when we get vaccinated it is for our own health and for the safety of our families and community.

I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as you can and I know Canberrans have been doing that. From 20 September people aged 12-15 are able to get vaccinated.

We can all do our part by checking your eligibility, book an appointment to get vaccinated and ensure we get the right information about the vaccines and not listening and spreading misinformation.


Individual and family support

COVID-19 Disaster Payment - Australian Capital Territory
The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is available for workers in the ACT who have lost work because of the lockdown. Applications for this payment opened on Friday 20 August and it will be backdated to the start of lockdown (Thursday 12 August).

You may be eligible for:

  • $750 per week if you’ve lost 20 or more hours of work a week,
  • $450 per week if you’ve lost between 8 and less than 20 hours a week, or a full day of work.
  • If you get a Centrelink payment and you’ve lost work due to the lockdowns, you may be eligible for $200 a week for the duration of lockdown.

Visit the Services Australia website to access this payment: COVID-19 Disaster Payment - Australian Capital Territory.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment - Australian Capital Territory
The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is for people living in the ACT who can't earn an income because they must self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone who has COVID-19. You must be directed to self-isolate or quarantine by either: ACT Health or a person employed by a state or regional department of health.

Visit the Services Australia website to access this payment: Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment - Australian Capital Territory

Crisis Payment for National Health Emergency (COVID-19)
A one-off payment for people affected by COVID-19. It’s available for people who are:

  • eligible for an income support payment or ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • in severe financial hardship
  • in Australia when they claim

Visit the Services Australia website to submit a claim for this payment: Crisis Payment for National Health Emergency (COVID-19).

During lockdown there is income support for essential workers who are not subject to a stay at home order:

Financial assistance while waiting for a test result

If you are unable to work because you are in isolation while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, you may be able to access the $270 COVID-19 Test Hardship Isolation Payment.

The COVID-19 Test Hardship Isolation Payment is an initiative of the ACT Government.

Find out more about eligibility guidelines and how to apply.


Business Support

If you are a small business owner experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19, you can contact the Small Business Support Line on 1800 413 828 for free financial counselling. Interpreters are available.

UPDATE: The Australian and ACT Governments have worked together to expand the COVID-19 Business Support Grants with the extension of the ACT lockdown to 17 September. Details are listed below.

COVID-19 Business Support Grants

The ACT COVID-19 Business Support Grants will deliver support of up to $20,000 for employing businesses (up from the previously announced $10,000) and up to $7,500 for non-employing businesses (up from the previously announced $4,000) over the extended lockdown period where those businesses' turnover has declined by 30 per cent or more as a result of the COVID-19 health restrictions. This program is jointly funded by the ACT and Australian Governments.

Guidelines and FAQs are now available. Applications will open at 9am on 26 August 2021.

COVID-19 Business Support Grant - Employing
COVID-19 Business Support Grant - Non-employing

Eligibility will include:

  • Registered in the ACT as verified by an ABN and able to demonstrate primary operation in the ACT as at 1 April 2021;
  • Have an annual turnover of more than $75,000 (excluding GST);
  • Be registered for GST as recorded on the Australian Business Register before April 2021; and
  • Have total Australian payroll of less than $10 million.

Express your interest on the Access Canberra website: COVID-19 Business Support Grants

COVID-19 Small Business Hardship Scheme – up to $10,000
Eligible small businesses will soon be able to apply to the ACT Government to receive credits for payroll tax, utility charges, rates and other selected fees and charges up to a maximum of $10,000 per operator. To be eligible for credits the applicant must be able to demonstrate 30 per cent loss in revenue.

This scheme is for small businesses with a turnover between $30,000 and $10 million per annum.
Small businesses can apply for up to $10,000 of support in the form of credit.

  • Payroll tax
  • Utilities
  • Rates
  • A range of business licence fees and charges.

Express your interest on the Access Canberra website: COVID-19 Business Support Grants

Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator support program – up to $75,000
Accommodation providers and private tourism venue operators who have experienced a 30 per cent reduction in revenue in July 2021 compared to April 2021, can receive a full rebate on their fixed water and sewerage charges for the first two quarters of 2021-22.

Applications are now open and close on 17 September. Please read this factsheet and then submit your application via this online form.

Visit the ACT Government Business Hub: Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator support program – up to $75,000.

Small Tourism Operator COVID Recovery Payment – up to $15,000
Small tourism operators and operators likely to receive less than $15,000 under the Accommodation and Tourism Venue Operator support program will be contacted to apply for the Small Tourism Operator COVID Recovery Payment.

Eligible businesses can apply for reimbursement of up to $15,000 per ABN for eligible expenses incurred in June and July 2021. To be eligible for the rebate the applicant must be able to demonstrate 30 per cent loss of revenue in July 2021 compared to April 2021.

Eligibility requirements are set out in three categories:

  • Tourism businesses with a turnover between $75,000 and $10m per annum (can apply up to $15,000 plus GST)
  • Tourism businesses with a turnover between $30,000 and $75,000 per annum (can apply up to $15,000 plus GST)
  • Seasonal Tourism Businesses (can apply up to $15,000 plus GST)

A range of expense types including ACT Government rates, fees and charges, fuel and mortgage repayments and perishable goods are eligible for reimbursement of up to $15,000 plus GST depending on the category. Applications close at 5pm on 17 September 2021.

Visit the ACT Government Business Hub: Small Tourism Operator COVID Recovery Payment – up to $15,000

The ACT Government will provide business grants to support small and medium businesses. We are being told that employing businesses will be able to apply for $10,000 and non-employing businesses will be able to apply for $4,000. The eligibility will be based on a loss of more than 30 per cent of turnover.

Please visit ACT Government Business Hub website: COVID-19 economic support for business


Other Community Supports

The ACT Government has put in place initiatives to support vulnerable Canberrans. For more information on additional community support visit: www.covid19.act.gov.au/community/access-help.

Emergency food relief

Anyone in Canberra who is significantly and adversely impacted by the lockdown and is unable to feed themselves or their family should call 1800 43 11 33. Callers will be linked with a Volunteering ACT staff member who will place a shopping order on their behalf and members of the SES will then collect the order and deliver it to them.

This is an urgent relief service for those most in need. The ACT Government will monitor the demand for this service over the lockdown period to see if further food relief is required.

To place an order for emergency food and essential items and to find out what items are available call VolunteeringACT on 1800 43 11 33, open Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm. If the phone is not answered, please leave a message and someone will return your call.

Grocery food delivery assistance

A number of people in quarantine or isolation are finding it hard to get groceries delivered quickly. There are a number of shops and providers are offering home delivery. The ACT Government has a detailed list of food delivery providers.


Mental Health Supports

It can be unsettling and overwhelming going through lockdown. You don't have to go through these challenges alone. There are a number of support services available to assist you, including:

📞 Beyond Blue's Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service | 1800 512 348
📞 Lifeline: 131114
📞 Kids Helpline | 1800 55 1800
📞 MensLine Australia | 1300 78 99 78
📞 Suicide Call Back Service | 1300 659 467