Police, firefighters and other frontline workers will get access to free accommodation if they need to self-isolate due to coronavirus, the Victorian Government has announced.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Lisa Neville, and Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers, Luke Donnellan, today announced the Victorian Government will expand its Hotels for Heroes program to include even more critical workforces.
Hotels for Heroes provides free accommodation in hotels or apartments for frontline workers who have had exposure to coronavirus or have a positive coronavirus diagnosis and cannot safely self-isolate at home.
The program is already available to clinical and non-clinical hospital staff – including cooks and cleaners – at public and private hospitals that directly engage with patients, as well as frontline paramedics and patient transport staff.
Under the expansion, free hotel and apartment rooms will also be made available to Victoria Police, youth justice, Corrections Victoria, and Metropolitan Fire Brigade and Country Fire Authority firefighters involved in Emergency Medical Response.
Staff working in disability supported independent living, public sector residential aged care, Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations, community-based pharmacy, hospital laboratories, and workers in primary care settings would also be eligible for free accommodation to self-isolate under the expansion.
The expansion will ensure even more critical frontline workers can keep their families or housemates safe, without the financial burden of taking on extra rent.
This is particularly important for those who live with other frontline workers or members of vulnerable cohorts – including people over 65, people who are immunosuppressed or have an underlying chronic condition, pregnant women, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Our police, firefighters and other emergency service workers are on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus, alongside our nurses and paramedics – we’re ensuring they also have a safe place to stay if they need it," said Neville.
“Giving more workers access to free accommodation if they need to self-isolate will keep them and those they live with safe, and help slow the spread of coronavirus," she said.
“Our frontline workers already do so much to look after the rest of us, the least we can do is give them the peace of mind that they’ve got a free, safe place to go if they need it," said Donnellan. “This expansion will continue to help slow the spread of the virus, protect our health system and save lives.”