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Keeping your business safe

The advice from the Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus (COVID-19) website continues to be evolve regularly, and so please monitor their website for updates.

A range of sectors/industries are subject to COVID-19 Restricted Activity Directions, and the following is provided to protect staff and patrons, and to comply with the government’s current restrictions.

COVIDSafe plan

Do you have your COVID Safe plan?

In regional Victoria, a COVIDSafe Plan is mandatory for high-risk industries and advised for all other permitted work. Creating your COVIDSafe Plan is not complicated, but it will protect your staff, customers, and visitors. It also supports you in preparing for a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace.
For more information please visit the below link, which is updated regularly to provide you with the most up to date information.

https://www.business.vic.gov.au/disputes-disasters-and-succession-planni...

Advice on facemasks:

Up to date information on facemasks, including employer obligations and best practices.
https://www.business.vic.gov.au/disputes-disasters-and-succession-planni...

Cleaning and disinfecting a business after a COVID-19 case

This is a recently updated DHHS document which provides advice on cleaning and disinfecting for facilities or workplaces after an employee, resident or visitor has been diagnosed with COVID-19. While this advice is primarily for facilities and workplaces, the same principles apply for schools, childcare centres, accommodation facilities, factories and private homes.
 
A resource within the document of particular use is a demonstration video for the use of PPE if undertaking a COVID-19 deep clean. Although developed for use in education settings, the same principles would apply for any setting where PPE is needed.

Preventing infection in the workplace provides some further information on what to expect and what to implement if a case of COVID-19 is confirmed in your workplace.

South West Healthcare have created this video which provides advice on how to clean and disinfect non-healthcare premises (such as homes, motels and shops) to reduce COVID-19 transmission.

 

Checking place of residence

Restrictions applying to Regional Victoria other than Mitchell Shire’ included an ‘obligation on businesses outside of metropolitan Melbourne to check identification as part of records requirement and refuse service to those who reside in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire LGA’.
 
Place of residence can be verified through a number of ways. Businesses may choose to confirm this information by using a driver’s license or other relevant forms of ID, however this is not mandatory and there are other options available.  If using ID is not practical or possible, some other examples of how a business can reasonably endeavour to confirm a customer’s place are residence are:

  1. Asking customers to confirm that their principle place of residence is not in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire by ticking a box on the form where contact details are collected
  2. Displaying signage to reinforce that services are limited to only those who live outside of metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire
  3. Asking customers to confirm that their place of residence is not in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire at the time of booking

Further to the above here is a sign that is available from DHHS for restaurants and dining in patrons:
https://www.vtic.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/100014-CNB-DJPR-COVID...

I'm a café owner in regional Victoria. Can I be fined if I unintentionally serve someone who is from Melbourne?

Cafe owners must use reasonable endeavours to satisfy themselves that their customers do not live in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. This can be confirmed using a driver’s license or other relevant forms of ID.
These business owners will continue to be required to record the name and phone number of customers and staff who stay longer than 15 minutes.

How will you enforce this? Who will enforce it?

Directions will continue to be enforced through spot checks by Victoria Police and use of emergency powers by Authorised Officers to ensure compliance with the directions of the Deputy Chief Health Officer.
Industry bodies, Victoria Police, WorkSafe, and Authorised Officers will work together under both the Directions and existing legislative and regulatory frameworks to boost education and remediation, in addition to driving enforcement and compliance with the Directions.

Community members can raise concerns about compliance with directions through the Police Assistance Line (PAL) on 131 444. Workers can raise concerns via Worksafe on 03 9641 1555. And employers can talk to their industry regulator or Peak body for specific industry related support.

 

From 01 June onwards the easing of restrictions will enable a range of sectors/industries to resume and/or expand their scope of business. The following guidelines from Business Victoria website have been developed to assist businesses prepare to safely resume operations in accordance with the easing of restrictions, while also ensuring the public feels confident that their health and safety is being protected:

Hospitality Industry Guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19). Among the COVID safe requirements, the venue set up is to adhere to the following:

a)    capacity limits of 20 patrons per separate dining space (not including staff). Subject to advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, capacity limits will increase to 50 patrons on 22 June, and 100 patrons in the second half of July;

b)    density quotient of 1 patron per 4 m2 of floor space accessible to patrons;

c)    tables to have no more than six patrons and arranged so that patrons from different tables are not closer than 1.5 metres when seated; and,

 d)    encourage all staff and managers to complete the Victorian Government online coronavirus (COVID-19) training, including ensuring at least one staff member at the venue has completed the training.

It is also important for food premise to ensure they are also meeting food safety requirements in accordance with advice from Food Standards Australia.

Page 4 of each guideline lists the actions required to safely re-open your business, which are different for each industry type, however the following are common to all.

  • Provide all staff with a copy of the relevant guidelines.
  • Undertake a deep clean of the premises and implement additional hygiene and cleaning measures and practices.
  • maintain a contact register of all visitors to the venue (first name, telephone number, date and time of visit) including patrons, suppliers, maintenance workers to support contact tracing and store it securely on-site for at least 28 days after the visit.
  • Be ready to work with the Department of Health and Human Services in the event of a case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in an outbreak affecting your business.

For all businesses, Safe Work Australia also has numerous resources to assist complying with WHS laws and to protect staff and patrons, including:

 

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