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Managing through the ongoing Covid crisis

With so much conflicting information in NSW on current Covid rules & restrictions, our Members’ ZOOM Forum on 3 August was well timed and well attended with two screens full of participants. Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences and insights recapped here. We are also providing the most up to date references available to help guide your own decision-making about how to behave with running your business in your LGA given the STATE-WIDE RESTRICTIONS issued in August 2021.

Key Covid topics covered relating to DI business

The NSW DTA one-hour online Forum was a comfortable, casual meeting of Driving Instructors across the state to share questions and contribute their experiences. We also did an Online Poll for all participants to weigh-in with their circumstances and opinions.

State and Federal Covid Grants

Applications were described as being straight forward if you had the required financial information and met the criteria. Some members, however, were “falling through the cracks.” The Federal system of benefits through MyGov was easiest. It is worth checking both State and Federal criteria. A new Micro Grant has recently been launched with information available as Guidelines. Enlist the help of your accountant if you can.

Health Warnings

Information from various branches of the State Government is still conflicted, with no clear definitions for “Essential Work” or Education purposes. It is left to individual interpretation. Some members have experienced being shut down by police, while others are still operating. One Member commented on getting ‘dirty looks’ from others as a Driving School in operation. The letter from TFNSW is out of date and acceptable by some police and not others. Until we have clear definitions and health orders the NSW DTA still recommends that members make their own risk assessments whatever they choose to do – follow the Covid protocols for their LGA . Information seems to be changing daily, so we must make a daily assessment.

QR Codes.

Check-in with QR Codes are mandatory for over 18-year-olds and optional for under 18. If our students don’t have a smart phone, we can use our own or provide a sign on sheet for manual entries. Members are not sure where the information collected is to be sent but majority are using QR Codes.

Covid Testing.

In Sydney, results take 6 to 8 hours. In regional areas results can take 2 to 5 days. Some members are being tested every 3 or 5 days. Most Members reported having had at least one test recently.

Our ZOOM Forum Covid Crisis Poll

Have you stopped doing lessons during the lockdown?

  • Yes – 40%
  • No – 30%
  • Yes but not for the whole time 30%

Have you, or will you, applied for any government grants during the current lockdown?

  • Yes — 50%

Do you think the NSW government has been clear about messaging relating to our industry?

  • No – 75%

Do you think driving lessons should be allowed to continue during this lockdown?

  • Yes — 30%
  • No – 25%
  • Maybe – 20%
  • Depends on area you work in – 30%

Reference sites for Covid Rules, Restrictions & Assistance

Your compliance with the Public Health Order is required for you to conduct business (or not) depending where you are located. Stay on top of Government notices to best interpret what applies to you and your personal situation.

The NSW Treasury Taskforce recently (9 Aug) shared a notice with a Driving Instructor that cites links and resources. Note that it contradicts the now outdated letter from TfNSW which stated lessons could continue. Clearly different government departments are saying different things. Nonetheless, here are essential excerpts and references:

“We know this is a challenging time with many across Greater Sydney affected. The current focus remains on limiting mobility alongside other measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 Delta variant.

Greater Sydney restrictions (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour) aim to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We know this is a challenging time, and many across Greater Sydney are affected. The current Public Health Order does not allow driving lessons to be undertaken, the recent restrictions regarding travelling by car.

  Travelling by car

You may only travel in a car with other people that you live with, unless it is for

  • an emergency
  • a compassionate reason
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • the car is being used as a taxi or rideshare.

Information providing guidance on a range of financial support options available for individuals and businesses at this link, including details on the NSW Government’s 2021 COVID-19 Support Package. We also recommend that you research support mechanisms that may be available to you within the local government area that you reside in/your business is located within.

The 2021 COVID-19 Support Package is designed to support industries affected by COVID-19 restrictions. There are a number of programs that may apply to you and your organisation, including three key grant programs as listed below – click on the links to find out about eligibility requirements and to apply:

Comments by Association Committee

“People must understand that no one is going to give them direction to stop work and of course, we can’t and won’t give any direction other than our previous advice to abide by the Public Health Order. It’s proven that lockdowns work if people do the right thing.”
David Kennedy, Albury

“If you have to ask whether you should be working or not, you’ve answered your own question! If you’re concerned about health or doing the wrong thing, then don’t do it.”
Christine Hillis, Wagga Wagga

“The problem has been exacerbated by the fact that RED ZONE LGAs are classified as not allowing people to travel further than 5 km from home without the strict reasons. This begs the question of whether Driving Lessons are essential or not. Local Instructors are asking the question of me. I truly believe that it is a matter for them however in this LGA (Penrith) I personally believe it would be unwise.”
Len Balk, Sydney

What next? Stay informed


Ongoing Member dialogue

We will continue to offer Member ZOOM Forums and are open to your suggestions for topics and timeframes. Drop a note to President David at


AGM Update

Although re-scheduled from July to 19 September 2021 at Canada Bay Club, we cannot yet confirm nor cancel. We are waiting for NSW health updates from authorities by the end of August before taking a position.

Podcast of Forum

Members can check out our Resources page (login required) for an audio recording of all comments at the one-hour 3 August Members Covid Zoom Forum. With respect to the privacy of our Members, we are not releasing a video.

Face Masks

Remember, we still offer NSW DTA quality, washable masks at $6 each (including postage) as online orders.

Coming Soon: Covid-19 Check In Card

See the latest plans and development from this NSW Government newsletter

Authored by Karen Robbins, NSW Admin Support, with Committee review and approval. And remember, we still offer NSW DTA quality, washable masks as online orders.

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