Aged Care - COVID-19

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 within South Australia, the State Coordinator has issued a Direction under the Emergency Management Act 2004 to limit entry into residential aged care facilities (RACF) in South Australia.

The Emergency Management (Residential Aged Care Facilities No 22) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 came into effect on 9 January 2021.

Latest update: No person who has who travelled from any place other than a low community transmission zone in the last 14 days is permitted to enter or remain on the premises of a residential aged care facility in South Australia.

This includes those traveling within Australia from the following areas in New South Wales:
- Greater Sydney Region
- Central Coast Council local government area
- Wollongong City Council local government area

From 12.01 am on 21 January 2021, Greater Brisbane will join the rest of Queensland as a low community transmission zone.
- Greater Brisbane, defined as local council areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay and Redlands

Visit the Cross-border travel page for more information on the specific prohibited locations and exemptions.

Visit the Contact Tracing page to keep up to date with the latest health alerts.

COVID-19 Infection control training
All employees or contractors who provide personal care or nursing care to residents must complete Understanding COVID-19 for Aged Care Workers prior to entering or remaining on the premises of a RACF.

COVID-19 Infection Control Plans
All RACF must submit a COVID-19 Infection Control Plan for all communal areas at the facility to the Department for Health and Wellbeing for approval.

COVID-19 Strategy for Residential Aged Care Facilities

The COVID-19 Strategy for Residential Aged Care Facilities (PDF 1MB)is available as a resource document to guide individual Residential Aged Care Facilities in the prevention, preparation, management and recovery stages of responding to COVID-19 situations in South Australia.

To supplement the Strategy, an Integrated Response Framework for the Management of Multiple Outbreaks in Residential Aged Care Facilities in South Australia (PDF 780KB) has now been developed. This document outlines the South Australian integrated response to the risk of multiple concurrent outbreaks of COVID-19 in residential aged care facilities, establishes a blueprint to guide the collaborative roles and responsibilities of accountable responders, and identifies specific challenges and solutions associated with a range of escalating scenarios.

Aged care workforce

Operators of Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) need to implement a number of changes to the way that employees and contractors at their facilities work.


There are no restrictions on the number of care and support visits a resident may receive.

  • Processes should be put in place to ensure that residents are able to receive visitors safely. This includes appropriate screening of visitors upon entry to the RACF.
  • Upon entry, all visitors must record their name, telephone number, date and time of the visit and departure, and resident/area of the RACF visited. These requirements are to assist with contact tracing if an identified case of COVID-19 is confirmed.
  • Visits should be conducted in a resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific area designated by the RACF, rather than communal areas.
  • Physical distancing of 1.5m should be adhered to wherever possible.

Compassionate visits

  • Visits for the purpose of providing end of life support to a resident are permitted and numbers of visitors are not restricted in these circumstances.

Requesting an exemption in exceptional circumstances

SA Health authorised officers are able to provide exemptions to the Directions if they believe exceptional circumstances exist. All requests for exemptions must be made in writing to the Department for Health and Wellbeing via Requests should include contact details and any information relevant to the request, including the urgency of the situation.

Interstate travellers

Anyone entering SA from NSW is prohibited from entering a Residential Aged Care Facility in South Australia within 14 days of arrival.

  • Cross border community members who are permitted to enter South Australia and travel within the cross border corridor under the Cross Border Direction are also permitted to enter residential aged care facilities located within the corridor.
  • Relatives who travel from any place other than a low community transmission zone to provide end of life support to a resident are permitted to visit a residential aged care facility (RACF) within 14 days of entering SA, however, they must wear appropriate PPE while on the premises of the RACF and self-quarantine at all other times.
  • All interstate travellers must complete a cross border pre-approval form prior to arrival into South Australia. The cross border travel application form is available from SA Police

Influenza vaccinations

All staff and visitors to a RACF must be vaccinated against 2020 seasonal influenza. Except for:

  • infants too young to be vaccinated;
  • exceptional end of life circumstances;
  • if a person has a medical contraindication to the influenza vaccine. A letter from a medical practitioner must be provided to the RACF by any unvaccinated person seeking to enter under this exemption.
  • if the vaccine is not reasonably available (appropriate evidence must be provided, such as a letter from the person’s GP or pharmacist stating that the vaccine is unavailable), and
  • emergency situations.

Retirement villages

Retirement village operators should refer to the fact sheet - COVID 19 advice for retirement village operators (PDF 203KB). This fact sheet provides information and advice to operators of retirement villages in South Australia and outlines the measures that operators should take to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to retirement village residents and others.

The Aged Care Direction does not apply to retirement villages, however, retirement villages and residents must comply with the restrictions outlined in the Public Activities Direction

For more information

Fact sheets