Preparing to Reopen
Whether your business is currently ‘Closed’, ‘Heavily Restricted’ or ‘Open with a COVIDSafe Plan’, every business needs to be as prepared as possible for the future and have all foreseeable measures in place to ensure a safe environment for staff and visitors. If permitted to do so, business and industry must operate in Victoria based on the following COVIDSafe principles:
ensure physical distancing (1.5 metres)
wear a mask or face covering
practice good hygiene
keep good records and act quickly if staff become unwell
avoid interactions in close spaces
create workforce bubbles.
Accommodation and Food Services sector guidance
Sector guidance for Accommodation and Food Services business within metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria here
Other sector here
Health, Safety and COVIDSafe Plans
Before reopening your business, each Permitted Work Premises in Metropolitan Melbourne (as determined by the State Government) must complete a COVIDSafe Plan prior to resuming operations. Only businesses with fewer than five staff in the workplace are exempt from needing to complete a COVIDSafe plan. However, WorkSafe Victoria requires all businesses to have a COVIDSafe Plan and the Victorian Government strongly recommends that you complete one and action it to ensure a safe workplace.
What is the Covid Safe Plan?
Your COVIDSafe Plan must set out:
Your actions to help prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
The level of facecovering or personal protective equipment (PPE) required for your workforce
How you will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
This plan must demonstrate how you will meet all the requirements set out by the Victorian Government. Some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional requirements of employers and employees.
Businesses must review and update their COVIDSafe Plans routinely, especially when restrictions or public health advice changes. Organisations with multiple worksites must complete a COVIDSafe Plan for each worksite.
Free, short, accredited training is available to help staff identify and manage the ongoing risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the workplace. Free infection control will help businesses prepare to safely reopen and ensure their customers and workforce are protected.
Staff and Work Arrangements. Reopening the business’ doors will mean a change in routine that many of us have become accustomed to during 2020, and not everyone will be so eager to get back to the workplace.
Return dates. Staff will need to be notified of potential start-dates as soon as possible and you should ensure reasonable notice is provided.
Changes in duties or location. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit us hard, and many will need to move or reduce in size to endure. Many businesses have also taken the shutdown as an opportunity to optimise floorplans, strategies, and procedures
Health and safety requirements. As part of operating in the new ‘COVID normal’, if the staff roles are altered in any way to comply with new health and safety protocols. For instance, the State Government has already made it clear that the wearing of compulsory PPE (including face-coverings) in the workplace and in public will be in place for many months to come.
Mental health. Thousands of Victorians have struggled during lockdown, as shown by the dramatic increase to helplines and mental health support networks. It is important for businesses to acknowledge that the physical and mental health of all staff is paramount and should be considered when reopening.
Grants and Financial Support