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Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for CPV passengers and drivers

Updated 1 April 2020

Information on this page

About coronavirus

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Coronaviruses can make humans and animals sick. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious illness, such as SARS. Symptoms of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can include fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath, and can take up to 14 days to develop.

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

COVID-19 spreads through close contact with an infected person, mostly face-to-face or within a household. It cannot jump across a room or be carried for long distances in the air.

What is a "close contact"?

A "close contact" is someone who has been face-to-face for at least 15 minutes with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or been in the same closed space for at least two hours, when that person was potentially infectious. Close contact can include:

  • living in the same household or household-like setting (for example a boarding school or hostel)
  • direct contact with the bodily fluids or laboratory specimens of a confirmed case
  • a person who spent two hours or longer in the same room
  • face-to-face contact for more than 15 minutes with the case in any other setting not listed above.

Being a close contact means there is significant risk of becoming infected with novel coronavirus.

How can I reduce my risk of COVID-19?

Take the following steps to reduce your exposure and chances of getting ill with COVID-19:

  • Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly.
  • Stop shaking hands or kissing as a greeting.
  • Stay at home if you feel sick. If you take medication make sure you have enough.
  • Get vaccinated for flu (influenza) when available in April. It is not yet known whether COVID-19 could significantly increase the risks of influenza infection.
  • Phone your doctor or the DHHS hotline – 1800 675 398 – if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do.
  • Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep.
  • Wearing a face mask is not necessary if you are well.
  • Buy an alcohol-based sanitiser with over 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid crowds if possible. If not, keep the time short.

What is ‘social distancing’?

Social distancing is one way to help slow the spread of viruses such as COVID-19. It involves changing your social habits to reduce the risk of transmission. Social distancing can help both yourself and others in the community. Social distancing is effective but please note that social distancing alone cannot eliminate the risk of transmission. Social distancing includes:

  • staying home when unwell
  • avoiding large crowds and gatherings which are non-essential
  • avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces which are non-essential
  • keeping a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and others
  • avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment, and
  • minimising contact such as shaking hands, hugging and kissing especially with people at higher risk, such as people with the elderly and those with existing medical conditions.

Where can I go to be tested for COVID-19?

If you feel unwell, stay at home and away from others. If you are concerned that you have symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, call your doctor in the first instance who can provide advice on whether further testing is required.

I am feeling stressed and overwhelmed about COVID-19, who can I contact for help?

It is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed during a time like this. It’s important to remind yourself that this is a normal reaction and it will pass.

There are plenty of ways to support other people, or be supported if you are feeling anxious or uncertain.

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14

A crisis support service offering short term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.

www.lifeline.org.au

Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

A free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 years.

www.kidshelpline.com.au

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

Mental health information and support for all Victorians.

www.beyondblue.org.au

Headspace 1800 650 893

Online and telephone support and counselling for 12-25 year olds, their families and friends.

Driver FAQs

or go to Passenger FAQs

Working during the pandemic

Keeping vehicles clean

If you have symptoms, catch coronavirus or are in contact with someone with it

Financial and business issues

Working during the pandemic

Is there a limit on the number of passengers that can travel in a commercial passenger vehicle?

There isn’t a limit on the number of passengers, however where possible, passengers should sit in the back seat. Drivers should set the air-conditioning to external airflow instead of recirculation and make hand sanitiser available for passengers where possible.

Can a passenger use a commercial passenger vehicle to travel if they are required to self-isolate due to international travel or close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, and do I have to take them?

From midnight on 28 March 2020 all international arrivals to Australia will be transferred to a hotel and placed in quarantine for 14 days. These passengers will be transported by dedicated Skybus services and taken directly and securely to hotels. This means there will be no international passenger pickups by commercial passenger vehicles until further notice.

We understand this is tough for drivers. This decision has been made in order to save lives by containing the spread of COVID-19.

There may still be some arrivals on domestic flights. Wherever possible, these passengers should use a personal mode of transport to minimise exposure to others.

If any passenger that’s required to self-isolate needs to use a commercial passenger vehicle to travel to a location for isolation, the Federal Department of Health has advised them to take the following precautions:

  • wear a surgical mask, if available
  • avoid direct contact with other passengers, drivers and transport staff
  • practise good hand hygiene and cough/sneeze hygiene:
    • wash their hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
    • cover their cough and sneeze with a tissue or cough/sneeze into your elbow or upper arm, dispose of tissues after use, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser to clean your hands afterwards
    • and if unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).

If you believe that a passenger has not taken the above precautions and you cannot provide a safe service, then you may choose to refuse or terminate the trip.

Group transport of at-risk people, including older people should be avoided where possible.

It is never ok to refuse or cancel a trip based on a passenger’s nationality, disability or cultural background. There are equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws that apply to fare refusal. You should also be mindful of passenger safety at all times.

Can I still pick up passengers arriving via the domestic airport terminals?

Yes, you can continue to pick-up passengers that arrive on domestic flights to Victorian airports.

Can drivers choose not to work if they are worried about contracting the virus? Can their employer sack them?

The advice from the Chief Health Officer is currently to go about business as normal. Individual circumstances will depend on employment contracts and we encourage drivers to seek advice from their booking service provider about the arrangements to support drivers during this time.

Can driving instructors continue to work?

At this current time, all Victorians are advised by the Department of Health and Human Services (VIC) to practise social distancing by remaining 1.5 metres from one another. If driving instructors are not confident that they can implement these measures and provide a safe environment for themselves and their students, they should not operate.

What should I do if I suspect or am aware of someone in breach of gathering and social distancing guidelines?

Victoria Police has established a task force to enforce containment measures put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19. Victoria Police are conducting spot checks and are regularly acting on information from the public.

All members of the community have a responsibility to report any concerning activity to Victoria Police. This includes individuals or groups ignoring the restrictions around gatherings, or those suspected of failing to self- isolate. There are significant penalties in place for those found to be breaching restrictions around gatherings or failing to self-isolate.

For example a CPV driver may pick up or drop off a passenger or passengers to a large gathering, or may be aware of an individual who is not self-isolating.

Anyone aware of concerning activity is encouraged to contact Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.

Can I ask passengers to apply disinfectant hand sanitiser?

While you can’t demand a passenger apply hand sanitiser, you can certainly offer hand sanitiser to your passengers. You should also clean and disinfect surfaces in your vehicle which you and your passengers touch, as well as wash your own hands thoroughly with soap and water, or hand sanitiser, regularly.

Can I refuse cash as payment?

We recognise that cash may not be your preferred payment method in this environment. Digital and contactless payment methods may assist in reducing contact between drivers and passengers. If you do decide to receive cash, you should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitiser after handling it.

Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

Find information on handling digital payments safely here.

Should I wear personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Current advice from the Chief Medical Officer is that you do not need to wear a mask if you are healthy.

If you are unwell, you should not drive.

Will commercial passenger vehicle inspections still be completed?

Commercial passenger vehicle inspections can continue. However, vehicle owners and inspectors are both strongly encouraged to practise social distancing, by remaining 1.5 metres from one another where possible, washing hands regularly using soap and water or hand sanitiser and practising good hand hygiene. Vehicle owners and inspectors should regularly clean and disinfect surfaces in the vehicle which they touch.

If vehicle inspectors are not confident that they can implement these measures and provide a safe environment for themselves and their students, they should not operate.

Keeping vehicles clean

How can I keep my vehicle clean to minimise the impact of the virus?

You should regularly clean and disinfect surfaces in your vehicle which you and your passengers touch, as well as wash your own hands thoroughly with soap and water, or hand sanitiser, regularly. Guidance on how to clean frequently touched surfaces and on appropriate grade disinfectants is available here.

Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

Keep a box of tissues in your car, and if you do cough or sneeze, use a tissue, dispose of it straight away and then wash your hands. In the event of a passenger or driver spreading droplets (such as sneezing, coughing or vomiting), drivers should clean accessible surfaces with appropriate disinfectant wipes so that the potential spread of infection can be minimised.

Once passengers have disembarked and the journey is complete, drivers are not required to take any further measures. Drivers should employ standard cleaning practices at the end of each shift, as part of good hygiene practice. We recommend drivers clean and disinfect surfaces more often if regularly taking passengers who are either displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or require self-isolation.

Am I required to clean my vehicle after each trip to minimise the impact of the virus?

Drivers are advised to regularly clean and disinfect surfaces in their vehicle which passengers touch, as well as wash their own hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitiser regularly. Guidance on the cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, including the appropriate grade disinfectant, is available here.

It is also recommended that drivers keep a box of tissues in the car.

Once passengers have disembarked and the journey is complete, drivers are not required to take any further measures. Drivers should employ standard cleaning practices at the end of each shift, as part of good hygiene practice. We recommend drivers clean and disinfect surfaces more often if regularly taking passengers who are either displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or are required to self-isolate.

In the event of a passenger spreading droplets (such as sneezing, coughing or vomiting), drivers should clean surfaces with appropriate disinfectant wipes so that the potential spread of infection can be minimised.

Does the coronavirus survive on surfaces?

The Victorian DHHS has advised studies suggest that coronavirus (COVID-19) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions such as the type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment.

If you think a surface on your vehicle may be infected, clean it with a common household disinfectant to kill the virus. Guidance on how to clean frequently touched surfaces and on appropriate grade disinfectants is available here.

In general, to avoid contact with the virus, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water often. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose.

What products should drivers be using to clean their vehicles and where can they be sourced?

Information on cleaning and disinfection principles for COVID-19, including the use of disinfection solutions, is available here.

I have been unable to find the recommended cleaning products in the supermarket. Will government help provide or source these products?

CPVV and the Department of Transport are assessing the current cleaning product supply issue and the impact across the transport portfolio. We will advise the commercial passenger vehicle industry as soon as we have an update on this issue.

If you have symptoms, catch coronavirus or are in contact with someone with it

What happens if I test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or have been instructed to self-isolate?

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been directed to self-isolate, this means that you have been infected with COVID-19 and there is a risk that you could spread the virus to other people. Please read the information on ‘confirmed case’ factsheet for patients provided on the DHHS website. You must follow those instructions immediately.

You must also notify CPVV immediately. You will be served with a Prohibition Notice requiring you to cease providing commercial passenger vehicle services immediately. There are significant court penalties for non-compliance with a Prohibition Notice.

Once you receive a medical clearance certificate from a doctor or Public Health Officer confirming you are no longer infectious and can cease your self-isolation, please contact CPVV at case.assessment@cpv.vic.gov.au so that we can arrange for the reinstatement of your driver accreditation.

Until then, you must remain in self-isolation and must not provide any commercial passenger vehicle services.

What happens if I display symptoms, have been tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) and I am awaiting results?

If you are displaying symptoms and have been tested for COVID-19 and awaiting results, there is a risk that you could have COVID-19 infection and could spread the virus to other people. Please read the information on the ‘suspected case’ factsheet for patients provided on the DHHS website. You must follow those instructions immediately.

You must also notify CPVV immediately. You will be served with a Prohibition Notice requiring you to cease providing commercial passenger vehicle services immediately. There are significant court penalties for non-compliance with a Prohibition Notice.

If you receive confirmation from a doctor or Public Health Officer that you have tested negative for COVID-19 and can cease your self-isolation, please contact CPVV at case.assessment@cpv.vic.gov.au so that we can arrange for the reinstatement of your driver accreditation.

Until then, you must remain in self-isolation and must not provide any commercial passenger vehicle services.

What if I have been in close contact with a confirmed case for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If you have been identified by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as having had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, you will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

A Public Health Officer from the DHHS will be in contact with you daily to monitor you for symptoms.

Being in close contact means there is a significant risk of becoming infected COVID-19. Please read the information on the ‘close contact’ factsheet for patients provided on the DHHS website. You must follow those instructions immediately.

You must also notify CPVV immediately. You will be served with a Prohibition Notice requiring you to cease providing commercial passenger vehicle services immediately. There are significant court penalties for non-compliance with a Prohibition Notice.

If you receive confirmation from a doctor or Public Health Officer that you can cease your self-isolation, please contact CPVV at case.assessment@cpv.vic.gov.au so that we can arrange for the reinstatement of your driver accreditation.

Until then, you must remain in self-isolation and must not provide any commercial passenger vehicle services.

What happens if I display symptoms for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If you are feeling unwell, you should cease providing commercial passenger vehicle services.

Furthermore, if you are displaying symptoms for COVID-19, you should immediately contact the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 (24 hours, 7 days a week) for advice.

What are booking service providers required to do if one of their drivers becomes a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, or is required to self-isolate?

Booking service providers are asked to report instances of drivers who are suspected/confirmed COVID-19 cases or have been required to self-isolate by contacting CPVV at case.assessment@cpv.vic.gov.au.

Financial and business issues

My income has fallen significantly since COVID-19, where can I go for financial support?

The Federal Government has recently announced a number of income support measures to help people affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Please visit treasury.gov.au/coronavirus to determine the support best suited to your circumstances.

I am not an Australian resident for social security purposes, where can I go for financial support?

Centrelink has an online Payment and Service Finder tool to help individuals find support services

I am self-employed, am I eligible for financial assistance?

Yes. Sole traders are eligible to apply for the Commonwealth government’s Jobkeeper payment for sole traders and a range of other financial support measures explained here.

Sole traders may include:

  • accredited commercial passenger vehicle drivers whose business involves driving a registered commercial passenger vehicle that they either own, lease or bail
  • registered commercial passenger vehicle owners who lease or bail their vehicle to accredited commercial passenger vehicle drivers that are self-employed.

The ATO considers you a sole trader if you:

  • use your individual tax file number when lodging your income tax return,
  • report all your income in your individual tax return, using the section for business items to show your business income and expenses (there is no separate business tax return for sole traders),
  • use your ABN for all your business dealings,
  • are registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST),
  • pay tax at the same income tax rates as individual taxpayers,
  • may claim a deduction for any personal super contributions you make after notifying your fund.

Will CPVV be waiving its fees in 2020?

At this stage, CPVV fees will remain unchanged. However, if the situation changes, we will update industry.

Will association fees be reduced by booking service providers?

CPVV does not regulate the association fees set by booking service providers. Booking service providers may choose to reduce, delay or waive their association fees during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this is a decision for them. Government is working with booking service providers to ensure they can provide appropriate support to their associated driver workforce. Please check with your booking service provider if you are unsure what arrangements they have put in place.

Please visit the treasury.gov.au site here for all available financial support for individuals and households.

Passenger FAQs

or go to Driver FAQs

Where can I go to be tested for COVID-19?

If you feel unwell, stay at home and away from others. If you are concerned that you have symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, call your doctor in the first instance who can provide advice on whether further testing is required.

Can I use a commercial passenger vehicle if I am displaying symptoms of COVID-19?

Wherever possible,unwell passengers should use a personal mode of transport to minimise exposure to others.

If you do need to use a commercial passenger vehicle to travel to a location for isolation and you are displaying symptoms, then you should avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).

You should sit in the back seat to achieve as much separation as is reasonably possible.

You should use hand sanitisers, if available.

If the driver believes you have not taken the above precautions and cannot provide a safe service, then the driver may choose to refuse or terminate the trip.

It is never ok for drivers to refuse or cancel a trip based on a passenger’s nationality, disability or cultural background. There are equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws that apply to fare refusal.

Can I use a commercial passenger vehicle to travel to self-isolation due to recent international travel or close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case?

Wherever possible,the Federal Department of Health has advised passengers who are required to self-isolate to use a personal mode of transport to minimise exposure to others.

If you need to use a commercial passenger vehicle to travel to a location for isolation, the Federal Department of Health has advised you to take the following precautions:

  • wear a surgical mask, if available
  • avoid direct contact with other passengers, drivers and transport staff
  • practise good hand hygiene and cough/sneeze hygiene:
    • wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
    • cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or cough/sneeze into your elbow or upper arm, dispose of tissues after use, and use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser to clean your hands afterwards, and
    • if unwell, avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).

If a driver believes you have not taken the above precautions and cannot provide a safe service, then the driver may choose to refuse or terminate the trip.

It is never ok for a driver to refuse or cancel a trip based on a passenger’s nationality, disability or cultural background. There are equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws that apply to fare refusal.

How is CPVV dealing with suspected or confirmed driver cases?

Confirmed cases

If a confirmed case of COVID-19 amongst the driver community is reported to CPVV, we will serve that driver a Prohibition Notice and remove them from the Public Register until they provide CPVV with evidence from a medical specialist that they are not infectious and are sufficiently fit and healthy to drive a CPV.

Drivers required to self-isolate

CPVV will serve that driver a Prohibition Notice and remove them from the public register:

  1. if they develop symptoms during the self-isolation period, but test negative for COVID-19, until they provide evidence to CPVV of the negative test; or
  2. if they develop symptoms during the self-isolation period and test positive for COVID-19, until they provide evidence from a medical specialist that they are not infectious and are sufficiently fit and healthy to drive a CPV.
  3. if they complete their period of self-isolation without developing symptoms, we’ll add them back onto the public register when the driver confirms that with us.

Can I ask the driver to apply disinfectant hand sanitiser before handling my luggage or giving me change when I have paid in cash?

While you can’t require a driver to use hand sanitiser, you can certainly offer hand sanitiser to the driver.

Can drivers refuse payment in cash and coins?

We recognise that cash may not be a driver’s preferred method of payment in this environment. Digital and contactless payment methods may assist in reducing contact between drivers and passengers. If you do pay in cash, you should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitiser after handling it.

Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

Should passengers wear personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Current advice from the Chief Medical Officer is that you do not need to wear a mask if you are healthy. If you are unwell and have no option but to use a commercial passenger vehicle service, you should wear a mask.

Are drivers required to clean their vehicles after each trip to minimise the impact of the virus?

Drivers have been advised to regularly clean and disinfect surfaces in their vehicle which passengers touch, as well as wash their own hands thoroughly with soap and water or hand sanitiser regularly. Guidance on the cleaning of frequently touched surfaces is available here.

It is also recommended that drivers keep a box of tissues in the car.

More information

You can call the National Coronavirus Health Information hotline on 1800 020 080, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you suspect you may have COVID-19 call the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services hotline on 1800 675 398, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you have concerns about your health, call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 to speak to a registered health nurse.

If your concerns relate to operational issues that affect the commercial passenger vehicle industry, please email safety@cpv.vic.gov.au