Guidance for Covid Safe Return of Playgroups
12 July 2021
We are providing this general, practical guidance for the safe and compliant operation of playgroups in WA.
On 12 July 2021, Perth and Peel returned to pre-lockdown conditions, which means no capacity limits and no masks required.
Useful links on restrictions and public exposure sites
Phase 5 easing of restrictions
Capacity and gathering limits for venues and events have been removed in WA - WA Government announcement on Phase 5 here.
This means that community venues no longer need to adhere to the 2 square metre per person capacity limit.
In a nutshell, Phase 5 easing of restrictions, means that playgroups can open and hold events, without capacity restrictions, however need to continue mandatory contact registration and practise good personal hygiene. You may also need to comply with a COVID Safety Plan.
Please note: This is subject to any lockdowns or additional restrictions that may be put in place.
It is important to note that the Government requires mandatory contact registers for venues. Please read more about what is required for these registers and how to register your playgroup here.
Also note, public or private events involving more than 500 patrons that require local government authority approval will need an approved COVID Event Plan as part of that process.
Playgroups may need to comply with a COVID Safety Plan, if this has been required of their venue. We have more information on this below. The 2sqm per person rule no longer applies.
Playgroups meet in a variety of venues, some shared with other groups, some managing their own building. Venue owners such as local governments and churches may have their own requirements or COVID Safety Plans, with which playgroups will be asked to comply. Please check that your landlord, centre manager or host agency is comfortable with what you are doing.
Playgroup WA is also available to provide specific advice to individual playgroups. We know that many of you have already developed your solutions and have great faith in the creativity and common sense of the playgroup community.
Local governments and other centre managers may have requirements for community centres to follow COVID Safety Plans based on their individual centre needs.
Some local governments have asked playgroups to complete COVID Safety Plans. The Government’s COVID Safety Plan and Guidelines are available here. This information is useful for all playgroups, even if you do not need to complete a Safety Plan.
Playgroup WA prepared this document of issues to consider if completing a COVID Safety Plan. Whether you are formally asked for a plan or not, we encourage you to consider the suggestions provided as you assess your individual playgroup operation.
- Community gatherings and events are allowed.
- Western Australians must continue to maintain good personal hygiene to better protect themselves and the general health of our community.
- Hand washing – especially before and after handling/preparing food, playdough etc. With playdough consider discarding after each session, and washing hands before and after use.
- Display posters on hand washing and good hygiene practices. Playgroup WA has produced two posters for you to print and display, one on hand washing and one on good hygiene practices.
- Wipe over toys where possible after use – especially toys that are put in mouths by young children – antibacterial wipes are a good way to do this before toys are put away. When purchasing cleaning products and sanitizers we recommend that you check these are suitable for children at your playgroup.
- Ensure work surfaces such as kitchen benches are wiped over and cleaned – use different cloths for different surfaces – you may want to consider purchasing some different colour cloths to make this easier and make sure families know the system (putting up a sign will help).
- Place tissues in a bin immediately after use.
- Check there are adequate supplies of soap, paper towels, tissues etc
- Ask parents to bring their own water bottles and food to minimise kitchen use and shared eating.
- Please remember to communicate your playgroup's arrangements clearly to all members, so they know what to expect and what is expected of them.
- Everyone should be reminded not to attend if they are ill and asked to leave if they show signs of illness.
- Tell families they should advise you if they have any possibility of being exposed to the virus or have undergone testing.
- Accurate attendance registers help with contact tracing. Note the Government's mandatory contact register requirements, referred to above.
- It is helpful to use a variety of communication methods such as posters, emails, website/social media and be open to questions from your members.
- Whether your playgroup is open or closed, it is great to stay in touch with your members. We also have the Playgroup at Home WA Facebook group which all members and friends are welcome to join. This can also be used to share news about your playgroup.
This guidance is current at time of publication. We will provide updates as circumstances change. We wish all our playgroup families a safe, healthy and fun time at playgroup.
All the best,