Stay informed

This site is for our people across the Transport cluster to get information and support as the Coronavirus situation develops.

This site is for our people across the Transport cluster to get information and support as the Coronavirus situation develops.

  • In Focus: MHFA Albert Bass

    21 Oct 2020

    This week’s Mental Health First Aider in focus is Albert Bass who has worked for Transport for NSW for over 20 years. A keen swimmer, Albert loves his body surfing and can be seen hitting the waves around our beaches.

    Albert’s Mental Health Tip

    My mental health tip is to stay positive in negative situations.

    Negative situations happen all the time - we can’t avoid them nor should we fight them. Have you heard the saying “the only constant in life is change”? There is a lot of truth to that, as we continually go through changes, whether good or bad. I’ve been learning the power of positive thinking, which helps me stay positive even when things get really tough. Staying positive in negative situations is invaluable in leading a healthy lifestyle.

    Anytime a negative thought comes into your mind, replace it with a positive one. At some point, this will become more natural as your brain automatically turns a negative into a positive.

    Even in the worst of times, you can think of things and people in your live for which we are grateful. Voice those blessings!

    Practice gratitude. Talk about the things you are grateful for with your closest friends or family. Keep a gratitude journal to capture the thankfulness you feel for what you have on a daily basis.

    Actively acknowledging what you’re grateful for will help you to always have a grateful mind and heart, even when bad things happen.

    Once you become a positive thinker the world is your oyster and nothing can stop your progress.


  • Active Transport continuing to grow our love of riding

    21 Oct 2020

    Close to 15,000 weekly trips are currently being taken on Sydney’s COVID-19 pop-up bike lanes.

    Our new pop-up cycleways are a real hit. Every week more and more people are using them – growing by around seven percent week-on-week. This takes us to nearly 15,000 every week!

    In June 2020, the Sydney Harbour Bridge cycleway saw a 3 per cent increase in bike riders from the same time last year despite significantly reduced numbers of people working in the CBD and North Sydney, while the M4 cycleway in Parramatta saw a 200 per cent increase in riders. The Hawthorne Canal in Leichhardt saw a 170 per cent increase and the Como Bridge in Oatley saw a 70 per cent increase in riders compared to the same time last year.

    A recent survey by Bicycle Industries Australia found that from January to June 2020 bike sales were more than double the same period the year before. The survey also found that e-bikes had more than tripled and bike servicing was up by 12 per cent.


  • Protect yourself AND the environment – reusable masks

    21 Oct 2020

    Global sales of disposable masks are estimated to total a whopping $166 billion this year, compared to $800 million last year according to the UN. Studies are showing that this is having a massive impact on our oceans and our wildlife which are getting caught up in them, not to mention on landfill.

    Fortunately after a successful trial with Sydney Trains - looking at comfort, breathability, washability and the durability of the masks - we’re pleased to be able to offer reusable masks for our people working in customer-facing roles, or other frontline role where physical distancing may be difficult. We are sourcing our Australian made masks from a number of local companies, like the Thread Group – who are an Australian owned and operated company with more masks on the way.

    The more we can reuse our masks, the greater the protection of our environment. If you are in a role where you are provided with a mask and you’d like a reusable one to wear at work, please speak to your manager.


  • COVID-19 Q&A October 2020

    21 Oct 2020

    The below Transport Q&As have been prepared in line with advice that has been released by the Australian Government, the Chief Health Officer and NSW Health.

    LATEST HEALTH ADVICE AND INFORMATION

    What is the latest updates on the virus?

    COVID-19 continues to circulate with the NSW community, with NSW Health calling for people in South Western Sydney to come forward and get tested even if they have the mildest of symptoms. This allows anyone who has COVID to be quickly identified so that they can isolate and protect their loved ones, their colleagues and the broader community, and it also provides NSW Health with data on the spread of the virus and enables them to update their advice accordingly. This is crucial in our efforts to stop the virus and help NSW transition to a COVID Normal state without going backwards.

    Can I return to working in the office?

    The advice continues to be if you can work from home, to continue to do so. This is in line with the current Public Health Orders that directs employers to allow employees to work from home if this is reasonably practical as well as helping take pressure off our public transport network so that our customers can physically distance when they travel. Our offices remain open for those who need to use them and for whom home is not a safe or practical place to work.

    Working from home has started to impact my mental health, what can I do?

    2020 has been a challenging year and has tested us in many ways. NSW Transport is very conscious that our mental health and physical health are linked.

    Visit the Mental Health and Wellbeing page on Stayinformed to find out more about the resources available to support you including free, confidential counselling through our Employee Assistance Programme and a directory of Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) near you. It’s so important to reach out for help and check in on one another.

    When I can go back to work, how will the way I work be different?

    One of the positives to come out of the pandemic is fast tracking new ways of working. We are currently running pilots to understand what and how we can keep the good things we’ve learnt, including increased flexibility around how, when and where we work. We don’t want to go back to the ‘old’ ways.

    At the same time we’re introducing a range of measures to ensure our Workplaces are COVIDSafe – like sanitisation stations, limits on the amount of people that can be in a room at one time as well as sign in and booking systems to promote safe physical distancing. We will keep you updated on the progress of the pilots and our COVIDSafe Workplaces program, including any advice on returning to the office.

    What do I do if I, or one of my staff, have been exposed to a suspected case?

    For reports of exposure to suspected cases, please complete the COVID-19 reporting form. You can find out more on information on the managing and reporting cases on stayinformed.com.au or call 133 877 for general enquiries.

    What if I or one of my staff is a confirmed case?

    For the reporting of confirmed cases of COVID-19 (COVID-19), call 1800 091 966 (24 hours) immediately. For suspected cases fill out this form.

    What are the latest COVID-19 case locations and how often is it updated?

    On the NSW Health website you can find a list of confirmed COVID-19 case locations all across NSW. If you have visited any of these locations during the dates and times specified you should follow the advice specified by NSW Health. You must also inform your manager as soon as possible for reporting purposes.

    Locations are updated as new information is confirmed by NSW Health, so it is important to check the list regularly.

    Self-Isolation: Who and when

    I have received a message from a venue/location that I attended advising me to self-isolate due to potential contact with a confirmed case. What should I do?

    Any direction to self-isolate will come from NSW Health or a health care professional. You should not be making this decision yourself. Please refer to the latest advice in the NSW Health alert to determine the appropriate action. If you are still unsure, speak to your manager or call 133 877. You may be required to provide evidence of a direction to self-isolate.

    My work colleague attended one of the COVID-19 case locations during the times and dates specified by NSW Health and then attended the workplace before the announcement to self-isolate was issued. I worked with them during that time, do I need to self-isolate?

    Only individuals who directly attended a confirmed case location during the times and dates specified by NSW Health are required to either self-isolate immediately or self-isolate if they develop symptoms, depending on the venue they visited.

    If you didn’t directly attend the venue you do not need to self-isolate. If you have had close contact with someone who is then confirmed as a COVID-19 case, NSW Health will contact you regarding the need to get tested and self-isolate. You should not be making this decision yourself. If you are concerned, speak to your manager or call 133 877.

    My housemate or immediate family member is being tested for COVID-19. Do I need to stay away from work and self-isolate?

    Household contacts of people being tested for COVID-19, who are themselves well, do not need to be in isolation unless specifically directed by NSW Health or a health professional. Someone who is suspected to have COVID-19 should stay in a different room from other people or be separated as much as possible. They should wear a mask when in the same room as another person and when seeking medical care, and use a separate bathroom, if available. Avoid sharing household items.

    If your household member tests positive, NSW Health will contact you and other individuals who are identified as having close contact with them. You should not be making this decision yourself. NSW Health will provide advice in writing of your requirement to isolate and this will provide the evidence you need to access special leave or perform alternative duties at home where necessary. If you are concerned, speak to your manager or call 133 877.

    Will I be advised if one of my work colleagues tests positive?

    The health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, customers and community is a priority and we are taking all the necessary measures advised by NSW Health to help prevent the spread of the virus. If a work colleague develops symptoms and is confirmed as a COVID-19 case, NSW Health will determine close contacts, if any, and these people will be directed to self-isolate. If the staff member attended the workplace while infectious, there may also be additional safety measures taken, including sanitisation of the work location. The response would be specific to the circumstances of the situation and managed on a case by case basis in line with NSW Health advice. Just because you worked with a positive case, doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the virus, so it is important to follow the advice given to you carefully and be honest about your information to keep us all safe and stop the spread.

    INCIDENTS OF COUGHING AND SPITTING

    What do if I’ve been coughed or spat on?

    The $5,000 fine for incidents of spitting and coughing on essentials workers is there to protect our frontline people. If you are the victim of an incident please advise your manager so they can report it through our normal incident reporting process, as well as reporting it to the COVID-19 Taskforce team using this reporting form .

    FACE MASKS

    Who are we making masks available for?

    NSW Health strongly recommends that face masks are worn by all customer-facing people and people using public transport. In keeping with this advice, we are making masks available for our customer-facing and other operational staff who wish to wear them. This includes our people working on our public transport services, at interchanges, at heavy vehicle weighing stations, school crossing supervisors, concierge services and our people in operational roles such as traffic emergency patrols, boating safety officers and maintenance staff who wish to wear a mask.

    Do customers need to wear a mask on our services?

    NSW Health strongly recommends customers wear face masks while using the NSW public transport network but it’s not compulsory. In line with NSW Health advice, people should practise physical distancing, ensure good hand hygiene, and not use public transport if unwell. The use of a face mask does not replace the need for these important measures.

    How do I get a mask for work?

    If you are in a customer-facing or other frontline role, please talk to your manager about available masks. If you are a manager, you can go to MyTransport (External link)or complete the Critical Supplies Request Form(External link).

    Can I use a re-usable mask?

    Provided the mask reaches the standards required to protect you and those around you, re-usable masks are good way to cut down on single use masks and help protect the environment. Provided as well that they are washed correctly after use.

    PROTECTION AND PREVENTION

    What’s the best way I can help stop the spread?

    The most important action we can take right now as leaders and as a community is to help stop the spread of infection. According to the health experts, including our own Dr Armand Casolin, the simplest, most effective step is to actively promote and practise good hygiene by using the four lines of defence:

    Stay home if unwell, practice good hygiene such as thoroughly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds (reference as per here), maintain physical distancing of 1.5m and wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.

    I have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 but am not showing symptoms. Can I attend work?

    In line with NSW Health advice (as of 17 April 2020), a close contact is defined as requiring:

    Face-to-face contact in any setting with a confirmed or probable case, for greater than 15 minutes cumulative over the course of a week, in the period extending from 48 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed or probable case, or

    Sharing of a closed space with a confirmed or probable case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 48 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed or probable case.

    People who have been in close contact with any confirmed COVID-19 case must remain isolated at home for 14 days following exposure, unless advised otherwise by NSW Health. You should discuss with your manager about working from home if you are not showing any symptoms. If you cannot perform work from home, Special Leave will be granted for a period of up to 20 days.

    Please note, NSW Health will contact individuals who are identified as having close contact with a confirmed case. You should not be making this decision yourself. NSW Health will provide advice in writing of your requirement to isolate and this will provide the evidence you need to access special leave.

    I am a close contact of a close contact, what should I do?

    Only individuals who directly attended a confirmed COVID case location during the times and dates specified by NSW Health are required to either self-isolate immediately or self-isolate if they develop symptoms. If you didn’t directly attend a confirmed venue you do not need to self-isolate and can continue working. If you have had close contact with someone who is then confirmed as a COVID-19 case, NSW Health will contact you regarding the need to get tested and self-isolate. You should not be making this decision yourself. If you are concerned, speak to your manager or call 133 877.

    If you have been in contact with someone who is identified as a close contact, a colleague or household member for example, this does not make you, yourself a close contact. You are not required to self-isolate.

    I am aware that my team member has not complied with requirements to be absent from the workplace due to illness or for the purposes of self-isolation and attends work.

    Leaders must direct employees who are obviously unwell or those required to self-isolate to go home and seek appropriate medical advice. If you are concerned about a peer or colleague talk to your manager or call 133 877.



  • Long awaited joy for couples and hospitality industry

    19 Oct 2020

    Further easing of restrictions announced on Monday allowing for larger group bookings and extended invitation lists for weddings has brought long awaited joy to many this week, especially the hard hit hospitality industry.

    From this Friday 23 October, 30 people can gather outdoors together in a public space and 30 people can make a group at a hospitality venue, three times the previous 10 person limit.

    Also from Friday 300 people can attend religious gatherings, not including weddings and funerals. However, from 1 December the number of people who can attend weddings will be lifted to 300 people subject to the four square metre rule indoors and two square metre rule outdoors. Worshipers are strongly encouraged to wear a mask when attending services.

    The restrictions on dancing of only the Bridal Party and movement in-between tables has not changed and must be adhered to in order to stop weddings potentially becoming super spreader events.

    For those who are attending corporate functions, 300 people can now be held at any appropriate premises which includes restaurants provided that they are following their COVIDSafe plan.

    These changes will continue to progress NSW to COVID Normal as well as help stimulate the economy with more potential trade for businesses.

    For more information please visit NSW Health's website.



  • From 4 to 2 square metres, from 20 to 500 people; numbers up for outdoor concerts and more

    16 Oct 2020
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    In positive news for our hospitality industry that’s been doing it tough, more people will be able to sit outside for a concert, rehearsal or at hospitality venues with making changes to the outdoor square metre rule announced. From Friday 16 October restrictions at hospitality venues will be eased to allow one patron for every two square metres in outdoor areas (previously this was one person per four square metres).

    Effective immediately 500 people will be able to attend outdoor seated music performances, subject to the four square metre rule and people being seated (previously 20 people were permitted). Perfect timing with daylight saving now upon us!


  • Helping keep our Indigenous communities COVIDSafe

    14 Oct 2020
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    TfNSW has donated more than 700 digital thermometers to Aboriginal organisations across NSW to help communities monitor and slow the spread of COVID-19. The thermometers made their way to areas as far north as Tweed Heads, as far south as Moama and all the way inland to Broken Hill and helped ensure that we continue to keep our regional Indigenous communities COVID safe.

    It has been generally accepted by the medical community that our Indigenous communities, especially those over the age of 55 have more susceptibility to the virus so it is important to prevent the virus spreading to our Indigenous communities.

  • New CSIRO research suggests virus can linger on surfaces longer than we first thought

    14 Oct 2020
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    COVID-19 can live on surfaces for up to 28 days according to new research from the CSIRO, including surfaces such as our phone screens and ATMs. This is just one of the findings from Australia’s chief science agency on how long the virus can live on different surfaces which also including glass, metal, and upholstery. The study showed that survival of the virus on surfaces was affected by temperature and surface type, with warmer temperatures and more porous surfaces leading to reduced virus survival.

    People can be infected if they touch a contaminated surface, then touch their face, nose or mouth which is why is it so important to thoroughly wash your hands, wearing a mask and avoid touching your face when out in public.

    It’s a reminder of the important work our frontline cleaning team has been doing to keep our public transport network COVID safe since March. The team recently hit the one million hours of extra cleaning milestone and continue their excellent work across the network.

    Click here to find out more.

  • MHFA: Maria Sarikakis

    14 Oct 2020
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    This week’s MHFA is Maria, who has worked for Transport for three years. A travel buff, Maria has used our COVID travel restrictions to travel a little closer to home; exploring regional NSW as well as the Central and North Coasts.

    Maria’s Mental Health Tip

    When we initially went into lockdown, it was a red flag moment for me.

    I knew I needed to take action to care for my mental health and made the decision to trade the time it took me to travel to work every day for an outdoor workout whilst the gyms were closed. Today, I continue to exercise six out of seven days, it really helps regulate my mood, and I really feel the pinch if I have missed more than a day.

    To balance the physical I have just started to learn and practice mindfulness. A friend recommended this app called 'Calm' which is the best app purchase I’ve ever made. There are hundreds of meditation strategies, sleep stories, mental fitness recordings, music, and talks to choose from. Along with learning to meditate, I play the sleep stories to my son.

    With my team I have booked a workshop to create a 'self-care plan'. The plan is from the Black Dog Institute website, and after reviewing it, it made sense to get everyone involved and work on their own. We read so much about mental health, and what to watch out for, the plan is about making you accountable and putting it all into action for what works for you.

    Connect with Maria via Maria.Sarikakis@transport.nsw.gov.au

  • Alfresco dining coming to town!

    08 Oct 2020
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    Getting people back to the CBD is high on the agenda of helping boost our economy. To help entice people back as part of the recently announced COVID Summer plan, the dates for the start of relaxed alfresco dining are now official. Red tape will be cut to allow businesses to move quickly on this opportunity with the Rocks to kick off on October 16 and Sydney’s CBD on November 1.

    Under the new relaxed rules boundaries for restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs will be extended to enable us to dine more and more outdoors, creating a new vibe and energy for across the city while still being able to physically distance and be COVIDSafe.

    Watch this space as the trial progresses over the coming weeks and new sites that may open up.