Breaking news – Important COVID-19 update

An important update from Aruma CEO, Andrew Richardson, about changes and closures of some Support Services because of COVID-19.

March 26, 2020

I want to let you know about some important and urgent changes to our services as a result of COVID-19.

Things are moving quickly, and we’re working hard to make sure our customers and staff are safe at all times.

We said we would keep our services and businesses open for as long as it was safe to do so. In line with the recent announcement made by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, we have needed to move quickly to make changes to some of our services.

We are making these changes to ensure the safety of our customers, our staff and the communities in which we operate in.

Support Service changes

Here’s what’s changing at Aruma from 12.01am Thursday 26 March.

We’re also working hard to make sure that any staff who are not able to work in their normal service are relocated to another service that needs extra staff.

Community hubs

We’re stopping all group activities. Many customers have already decided to stop attending our hubs – so there are less and less people in the service.

Staff will be at the hubs until Friday 27 March to help people who cannot make other arrangements and to talk to customers about how we can best support you in the future.

Flexible support

Community-based flexible support activities will change. We will be looking at more one-on-one supports.

For example, we won’t take customers to sporting clubs and gym (places the Government has ‘shut down’). Instead, we’ll work with customers and families to come up with other options.

Supported Independent Living*

In line with Government information, we’re strongly encouraging all our customers to stay at home. We absolutely continue to support them to attend any important medical appointments and if they need to get to the shops for supplies.

Visits with families and guardians will be no longer than an hour. You will need to make an appointment with the house staff so we can make sure there are not too many people in the house at the same time. These visits will only take place in a designated space in each home, which will be cleaned thoroughly before and after each visit.

There are to be no more than two visitors in a home at a time. Visitors will need to sign in and out, and follow any instructions given by the staff.

The only other visitors to homes will be emergency maintenance repairs such as plumbing or checking safety equipment.

We will make sure that these visitors:

  • Do not come in to contact with any customers.
  • Sign in and out.
  • Follow social distancing guidelines.

You will not be allowed into a service if:

  • They have recently returned from overseas. Any person who has returned from overseas needs to isolate for 14 days.
  • They are unwell.


All centre-based respite activities will stop.

Unfortunately, we won’t be taking on any new customers, and we’ll make alternative plans for customers who are using our respite services at the moment.

While staying at a respite service, customers will need to follow the same guidelines as for SIL.

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)

We will continue to provide ECI services but the activities will change. We may, for example, move to more in-home support.

Queensland and Victoria Children Services

We will follow the same guidelines for SIL listed above.

Recent changes to our Businesses

The Government’s new guidelines have also meant some changes to our businesses.

You may already know that our cafe at Summerland Farm is only offering takeaway services.** All events planned in the near future at Summerland Farm have been postponed.

As for our other businesses, we will continue to operate but we will keep a close eye on this. If things change, we’ll let you know.

We’re continuing to take symptoms very seriously

To date, we have not had a confirmed case of COVID-19 at any service. But we are prepared in case we do.

I want to reassure you that we are taking any symptoms seriously. If staff are not well, they do not come to work. We’re making sure we find other suitable staff to provide supports to customers.

If customers are not well, we are also following the necessary steps to keep them, and others, safe.

More information 

Please also make sure you follow trusted sources of information such as Federal Department of Health and the World Health Organisation. 

Talk to your local staff if you have any questions around the changes to your specific services and supports.  

Our website has the latest Aruma information, and our Customer Service Team is also here to support you. You can reach them on 1300 538 746.  

We know these changes will be difficult. The safety of our customers and our staff come first, and we must also follow the guidelines and do our bit to help slow the spread of the virus 

Andrew Richardson
CEO, Aruma 

* Since this article was published, we have had to make further changes around visits to our SILs. Please refer to this page to find out our new protocols around visiting Aruma Supported Independent Living.

** Since this update was published, we made the decision to cease offering takeaway services at Summerland Farm, effective from COB Friday 27 March.