Neighbourhood Houses Victoria is committed to supporting and keeping its members up to date in responding to the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19).

On this page:

Latest directions


DHHS have provided the following guidelines. As of 28 October 2020, neighbourhood houses can:

  • host an essential public support service (e.g. a food bank, a service for homeless persons)
  • host an essential support group (e.g. parenting, alcohol or drug support) – subject to density quotient to a maximum number of people (currently 20)
  • conduct outdoor activities (such as art classes), subject to the public gathering limits (currently 10) plus the person required to conduct the activity
  • provide childcare
  • provide access to a playground or outdoor communal exercise equipment
  • broadcast a performance or dance/exercise class, live or otherwise, via electronic means. Only those necessary for the performance and the broadcasting can attend, or a maximum of 5 people for broadcasting a dance/exercise class
  • provide an exclusive venue for a single school or outside school hours care services at any one time for educational purposes.
  • Food and drink facilities (such as a café or canteen) can be open, with 10 persons per indoor space, with a maximum of 20 patrons per venue indoors, subject to density requirements (1 per 4m2). For outdoor dining, cap of 50 patrons per venue
    outdoors subject to density requirements (1 per 2m2).
    • Note: For community meal kitchens, the department strongly recommends takeaway or outdoor dining only. This is due to a generally more vulnerable cohort accessing these services.
  • Retail is open – subject to gathering limits and density quotient. This would enable the operation of opportunity shops, but note receiving donations is still potentially high risk and not recommended until COVID-Normal.
  • Adult/higher education – learn from home where possible, onsite only where it is not reasonably practicable to learn from home.
  • Libraries and toy libraries:
    • Melbourne – only to operate home delivery and non-contact collection and return of books or toys
    • Regional Victoria – may be open, subject to gathering limits and density quotient

Regional Victoria only (Metro Melbourne to align on 8 November):

  • Indoor non-contact exercise can open with a density quotient of 1 per 8 sqm and patron cap of 10 per space and a cap of 20 people per venue. Equipment must be cleaned between uses. You should wear a face mask unless you are out of breath. Exercise must be non-contact.
  • Indoor non-contact physical recreation for those aged 18 years and under to a maximum of 20 people (e.g. dance classes), participants must be 1.5m apart. Spectators limited to one parent, guardian or carer only, where the child required parental supervision.

The latest directions can always be found on the coronavirus restriction levels page and the department’s roadmap for community services can be found on the community services coronavirus page.

Information and resources

DHHS - Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the Victorian neighbourhood house sector

This guidance supplements the COVID-19 Plan for the Victorian Neighbourhood House Sector released in April 2020, to continue to provide advice in support of an ongoing coordinated approach to delivering services as Victoria cautiously eases restrictions.

COVID Safe Plan

All neighbourhood houses across Victoria which are operating on-site must have completed a COVID Safe Plan. 

Employers must notify WorkSafe of COVID-19 cases

Timely notification of potential workplace transmission of coronavirus (COVID 19) is critical for effective management of related health and safety risks and the prompt investigation of potential breaches of employer duties.

Face masks in the workplace

Information for employers about the mandatory wearing of face masks.

Record keeping requirements

To support contact tracing, organisations must keep a record of people who attend their premises for 28 days.

Signage templates

Prepared by Neighbourhood Houses Victoria. Simple instructional signage which you can edit and print to your needs. This document will open in Microsoft Word.

Logistics checklist for reinstating in person activities

Prepared by the CHAOS Network. This is a brainstorm of planning and practical considerations as houses move towards reopening. This document will open in Microsoft Word.

Factsheet - What if our organisation becomes a site linked to COVID-19 infection?

Prepared by the CHANH Network. Despite the easing of restrictions, COVID-19 is still present in the Victorian community so there is a risk that your neighbourhood house could become a site linked to coronavirus infection. It is important to take all the necessary precautions and manage community perception before and after a potential COVID-19 incident. 

Safe Work Australia - COVID-19 workplace tool kit

Includes a range of resources for organisations to download and display in their workplaces, including checklists, infographics, fact sheets for industry and posters on handwashing, hygiene and physical distancing.

Volunteering Victoria - Leading people during Covid-19

Resources include Re-starting Your Volunteer Program and the Welcoming Volunteers Back Safely Checklist.

VMIA - Community Service Organisations Program

All NHCP-funded neighbourhood houses receive this coverage. Find out what is and isn't covered.

Justice Connect - Covid-19 response

Justice Connect has created a range of initiatives to provide legal help to community organisations affected by the pandemic. This includes free resources and webinars on issues not-for-profits are facing, including managing contractual obligations, holding meetings and navigating employment challenges.


Translated resources

Online training

Department of Health - COVID-19 infection control training

Once you register, a list of courses will appear. We recommend you only complete the course titled 'Infection Control Training - COVID 19'.

Mental health resources

Beyond Blue - Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service

Regularly updated with information, advice and strategies to help you manage your wellbeing and mental health during this time.

DHHS - mental health resources

Includes links for where to get help.

World Health Organisation - Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak

Messages targeting different groups to support mental and psychosocial wellbeing during COVID-19 outbreak.

We are here for you

While the NHVic Office is closed with staff working remotely from home, we continue to be here for our members during this period.

  • Our main number (03) 9602 1228 is being redirected to the mobile number of a staff member if you want to have a chat.
  • Our main email inbox continues to be monitored at [email protected] if you want to send us updates or forward on useful information.
  • We are also keeping our members updated directly via our e-bulletins, online sessions via Zoom, and our private Member's Facebook Group. This group is specifically for neighbourhood house managers, staff and committee members to stay connected with the sector, seek advice, discuss response measures, and receive the latest information. We also have three other targeted groups which may be relevant to you: FinanceChildcare and Adult Community Education Providers.