Vision Australia’s response to COVID-19

Updated August 18, 2020

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, Vision Australia’s goal has been to support the blind and low vision community, while ensuring the safety of our workforce, clients and wider community.

What you need to know about Vision Australia services

COVID-19 has impacted how we’ve been able to support the blind and low vision community in recent months, but we’re excited to let you know you can now request a face to face appointment for most Vision Australia services.

Your health and safety, and that of our workforce, remains our top priority, so a face to face appointment might feel a little different for the time being. Please follow the directions of our staff during appointments around hand hygiene, social distancing and touching products or surfaces.

Our staff have been equipped with protective equipment and may choose to use it during an appointment if they believe it will help to keep you or themselves safe.

We’ve strengthened our hygiene protocols at Vision Australia locations and you will need to undergo a COVID-19 screening over the phone before visiting us or having an appointment in your own home.

As we return to providing face to face appointments, there may be some extended waiting times and we ask you to remain patient as we do our best to find a time that suits you.

Remember, you can also request a telehealth appointment with Vision Australia and receive our expert services via videoconferencing or telephone from the safety and comfort of your own home.

To keep everyone safe, we do ask you to not request an appointment if you’re feeling unwell and we urge everyone to follow the advice from the Australian Department of Health and your relevant state-based health authorities.

Please note, at this time face to face Vision Australia group activities remain suspended.

Vision Australia services in Melbourne and Geelong

The Victorian Government has declared a State of Disaster and updated COVID-19 restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne.

You can find out exactly what this means for you on the Department of Health and Human Service’s (DHHS) COVID-19 website.

These restrictions mean that Vision Australia offices in metropolitan Melbourne, along with Geelong are currently closed to the public. Vision Australia will also be unable to provide residents of these regions with face to face services in their homes or the community until further notice. You can find out more about these changes on our website.

Vision Australia services in regional Victoria

The Victorian Government has announced COVID-19 restrictions for regional Victoria, effective from 11.59pm Wednesday, August 5.

You can find out exactly what this means for you on the Department of Health and Human Service’s (DHHS) COVID-19 website.

These restrictions do mean some changes to how you access Vision Australia services. You can find out more about these changes on our website.

Status of Vision Australia offices

Vision Australia's response to COVID-19 is driven by the advice of health authorities and our main priority is the health and safety of our clients, workforce and the wider community. 

As a national organisation, Vision Australia is impacted by the differing COVID-19 situations and restrictions across Australia.

As a result, there are some temporary changes to the status of some Vision Australia office locations, as well as how we deliver our services.

You can keep up to date with the status of your local Vision Australia office online.

Vision Australia’s priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is health and safety of our clients, workforce and the wider community.

As we begin to again offer face to face appointments and welcome the public back into our Vision Australia locations, we have developed the below guidelines for our clients and staff. Please note, restrictions on attending Vision Australia locations and appointments currently apply to residents of a number of Melbourne suburbs.

Please ensure you are familiar with these guidelines and follow them before, during and after a face to face appointment with Vision Australia or visiting a Vision Australia location.

You can read the full list of COVID-19 safety guidelines on our website.

Vision Store

To be able to visit a Vision Store in a Vision Australia centre, you will need to call our National Contact Centre on 1300 84 74 66, they will then forward your request to your local Vision Store team. Your local Vision Store team will contact you to undertake a COVID-19 risk assessment over the phone and arrange an appointment.

This allows us to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff and also make sure we have the right product or support available for you. Our offices are following strict social distancing and hygiene protocols.

We ask that you do not visit us if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or is suspected of having COVID-19. Restrictions also currently apply to residents of a number of Melbourne suburbs.

You can browse the Vision Store range and make purchases online at shop.visionaustralia.org or call our Vision Store team on 1300 84 74 66. We continue to offer free shipping for online and phone purchases, as well as an extended returns policy from 30 days to 90 days.

Vision Australia Seeing Eye Dogs

The Seeing Eye Dogs team is continuing to carry out the vital work of breeding, raising and training Seeing Eye Dogs.

Some changes have been put into place to keep the staff, clients and volunteers safe, while allowing this work to continue. For more information, please visit www.sed.visionaustralia.org/covid19

Masks and face coverings

As of 11.59pm Sunday, August 2, it will be mandatory for all Victorians to wear a face mask or covering when outside their home.

We understand some people who are blind or have low vision might find wearing and putting on a mask more challenging or confronting than others.

Vision Australia has compiled general and blindness and low vision specific information about wearing masks that is available on our website.

General COVID-19 information and Government advice

Vision Australia is encouraging everybody to follow the restrictions and advice from health authorities that apply to them. In particular it’s important people take notice of when and how they should self-isolate and undergo COVID-19 testing if possible.

It is important to get your information from accurate and trusted sources. Below is a list of all state and territory health authorities and their current guidance.

You can also find up to date information about the COVID-19 situation on the Australian Department of Health’s website or call their 24/7 hotline on 1800 020 080.

Staying connected with Vision Australia

You can contact Vision Australia via phone on 1300 84 74 66 or via email at info@visionaustralia.org.

We have a number of ways we can help people stay connected with Vision Australia and the wider community, including:

We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and we will be in contact if we are required to take further steps.

Ron Hooton
CEO, Vision Australia