See FAQ's here. 

Restrictions are in place in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, see here for more information


Victorian COVID Safety Recovery Program

Funded by State Government of Victoria

COVIDSafe Retail Support Services available to retail service businesses 

To contribute to these outcomes, there are a number of COVIDSafe retail business support services available.  These services are FREE and delivered by the ARA on behalf of the Victorian Government, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions. The services provided are:

The ARA is offering a free one hour confidential virtual consultation to make sure your COVIDSafe plan is following best practice.

Use our confidential and quick self-assessment tool to find out if your business is being COVIDSafe, or where you may need to improve.

For a quick snapshot of key COVIDSafe knowledge, check out our tutorials below.

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COVIDSafe Retail Webinar Series

Members and non-members are welcome to join any of our free webinar series sessions focussed on unpacking and simplifying the ever-changing COVID-19 business requirements. Discover how to make sure you’re meeting your obligations to provide a COVIDSafe environment for both staff and customers.

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COVIDSafe Retail Virtual Consultation

The ARA is offering a free one hour virtual consultation to make sure your COVIDSafe plan is following best practice. All you need is an internet connection and your COVIDSafe plan - we’ll do the rest. Our team will provide guidance and tips to make sure you're operating inline with the most up-to-date requirements.


ARA Training and Resources

For a quick snapshot of key COVIDSafe knowledge, check out our tutorials below. We also have short courses available via the ARA Retail Institute:


ARA Retail Institute:

Partners in Wellbeing Services


Translated information about coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) translated information for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, health professionals and industry. Information includes factsheets and promotional materials.


Current Restrictions

QR Codes – New requirements

QR code record keeping requirements will now be mandatory in retail settings, like supermarkets and shops.

Retailers must use the Service Victoria QR Code Service.

The 15-minute threshold will also be removed so anyone entering a shop or a cafe will need to check-in, regardless of how long they visit the premises.

For more detail, please see the Premier’s statement and the COVIDSafe Settings.

See the Department of Health website for more details.

Information to help your business Stay Safe and Stay Open

It's mandatory for Victorian business to have a COVIDSafe Plan and follow the six principles of COVIDSafe workplaces.

Also see:


 *Information was current at the time of the recording, however changes to public health orders may have changed and up to date information should be sort by referring to the coronavirus.vic.gov.au website or contacting the ARA



Coronavirus    Overview


Victorian Government Retail COVIDSafe Project

How the Victorian Government is supporting the retail trade sector during the coronavirus pandemic

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has received funding from the Victorian State Government Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) to deliver a project on COVID Safety for the retail trade sector.  The project commenced in January 2021 and will continue through to August 2021.


  1. Successful design and implementation of COVID safe plans

  2. Increased understanding by employers and employees of COVID safe obligations and entitlements

  3. More widespread implementation of COVID safe measures and practices in workplaces

  4. Increased awareness and adoption of best practice amongst relevant businesses


Creating a COVIDSafe

Retail Workplace



All businesses need to know their obligations and ensure they understand the current restrictions in place throughout Victoria.  To keep up to date on restriction levels in Victoria, regularly monitor the DHHS Victoria’s restriction levels webpage. The webpage includes current Workplace Directions and Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions.  It is important to note that these Directions are subject to change on a regular basis. 

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  • ensure physical distancing (1.5 metres)

  • wear a face mask

  • practise good hygiene

  • keep good records and act quickly if staff become unwell

  • avoid interactions in close spaces

  • create workforce bubbles

It's mandatory for Victorian businesses with onsite operations to have a COVIDSafe plan

Image by Kelly Sikkema


There is no change to your obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) and Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations) as a result of the restrictions.


Preparation of a COVIDSafe Plan forms part of the development of a safe system of work. However having a COVIDSafe Plan and complying with directions issued by the Victorian Chief Health Officer (CHO) does not necessarily mean you have complied with your duties under the OHS Act and OHS Regulations.


You must follow any health directions that apply to how your business must operate, and ensure that you are meeting your obligations under the OHS Act. Employees must also comply with their duties under the OHS Act.


For information on your OHS obligations in relation to managing coronavirus (COVID-19) risks, you can access WorkSafe Victoria’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for your industry:

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Sector guidance has been prepared to assist workplaces to operate safely, in accordance with the changing of restrictions. Sector guidance is available for retail stores and retail service businesses within Victoria. You can view the sector guidance on the coronavirus.vic.gov.au website

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs for Retail Businesses


For Frequently Asked Questions by businesses within the retail sector, view the Victorian Government Coronavirus Sector Guidance Retail Trade webpage here.*The answers below shouldn’t be treated as legal advice, rather as practical guidance on the current arrangements in Victorian to manage COVID-19 outbreaks etc. The documents that have been referred to in the answers will change over time and may update the advice that has been provided for specific questions.

The answers below shouldn’t be treated as legal advice, rather as practical guidance on the current arrangements in Victorian to manage COVID-19 outbreaks etc. The documents that have been referred to in the answers will change over time and may update the advice that has been provided for specific questions.

COVIDSafe Plans

1. What is a COVIDSafe Plan?

A COVIDSafe Plan is a document developed to support businesses to maintain a COVIDSafe workplace and prepare for a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace.

The requirements of a COVIDSafe Plan are set out in section 1(2) of the Workplace Directions (WDs) No.33. (Will refer to these as the ‘current WDs’).

2. Is a COVIDSafe Plan mandatory?

It is mandatory for every Victorian business with on-site operations to have a COVIDSafe Plan.

3. Do I need to document my COVIDSafe Plan?

Yes. Organisations with multiple worksites must complete a COVIDSafe Plan for each worksite.

4. Do I have to use the Victorian Government COVIDSafe Plan template?

Use of the provided template is not mandatory but recommended. 

5. Where can I find the Victorian Governments’ COVIDSafe Plan template?

The Victorian Government COVIDSafe Plan template can be accessed via the link here

6. How often do I need to review and update my COVIDSafe Plan?

Businesses must review and update their COVIDSafe Plans regularly, especially when restrictions or public health advice changes. 

7. Do I need to keep a printed copy of my COVIDSafe Plan at my work premises?

Effectively yes: everyone must comply with the COVIDSafe Plan and the easiest way to ensure this is to have the plan written down and easily available to everyone.

QR Codes

8. Is it mandatory to use the Victorian Government QR Code?

Businesses, venues and facilities with electronic record keeping requirements, including retail, hair, beauty, and personal care services must use the Service Victoria QR code app.

9. Do staff need to check-in using the QR Code?

Yes. Records must be kept of ‘all persons’.

10. Is there a requirement to check-out using the QR Code?


11. Where do I need to display the QR Code?

Signage must be prominently displayed at each entrance to the Work Premises, and at all points of sale, so that members of the public can record their attendance using the Victorian Government QR code system.

12. Is there a requirement to have a different QR Code for each store/location?

Yes. There is a capacity to add locations (e.g. separate floor locations for a store spanning more than one floor) as part of the QR code registration process.

13. What do I do if a customer refuses to check-in using the QR Code?

There are options: (a) remind the customer of the purpose for which attendance records are collected, or (b) (optionally) refuse to serve the customer. Staff welfare is paramount and staff should adopt a course of action which protects their welfare. Businesses will not be fined if customers refuse to check in using the QR code service if a business has made a reasonable attempt at encouraging a customer to check in.

14. Can I check someone in, if they are unable to?


15. When manually recording a person's attendance at the workplace, what information must be recorded?

As per the Workplace Directions: first name, last name, phone number, date and time of attendance and area which attended (if there’s more than one). Paper-based methods should only be used as a last resort. Information must be transferred to an electronic database (e.g. using kiosk mode) as soon as practicable to preserve accurate time-stamp data.

16. What happens if staff leave the work premises and come back, do they need to check in again?

No defined rule here. Staff should use common sense about checking in after lunch, etc. If they’re working a ‘double shift’ (for example) checking in again could be beneficial. Contract tracers work with affected businesses to understand at-risk cohorts, including by understanding ‘who worked what shift’.

17. Can we modify the QR Code so that it reflects our branding?

Yes, however it must be noted that modification/rebranding of QR code may make it confusing for members of the public to understand that they’re looking at a QR code and need to use it. When QR codes are registered, standard format PDFs with QR code registration codes are included, and these should be used.

Density Quotient (DQs)

16. Do I include staff when calculating the density quotient?

Where staff interact with the public in the public accessible space, staff should be included when calculating density quotient.  Where staff do not interact with the public the public accessible space, staff do not need to be included when calculating the density quotient.

17. I operate a beauty and personal care service, do I need to have a density quotient for each treatment room?

The density quotient requirement applies to whole facilities, not individual spaces. However, service providers should use common sense and comply with the ‘spirit’ of the restricted activity directions to ensure that the risk of being identified as a Tier 1 site (and potentially being unable to trade) is minimised etc.

18. Do I need to have a COVID Marshall to manage the density quotient?


19. Where do I need to display density quotient (DQ) signage?

A sign must be displayed at each public entry to each such space that includes a statement specifying the maximum number of members of the public that may be present in the space at a single time, being the number permitted by the density quotient, rounded down to the nearest whole number. 

So (for example) retail shop owners need to be aware of current density quotient limits and follow these, as they may be subject to enforcement action if DQs are not observed. DQs may change over time.

20. Are delivery drivers included in the density quotient?

Not clear, but service personnel directly connected to a business are unlikely to be considered ‘members of the public’ where that phrase is used to identify people that are counted within a DQ.


Hygiene & Cleaning

21. How often am I required to clean my work premises?

General Cleaning Requirements

The business must take all reasonable steps to ensure that shared spaces at which work is performed and areas accessible to members of the public at any Work Premises are cleaned on a regular basis, including: 

  • frequently touched surfaces, including toilets and handrails, are cleaned at least twice on any given day; 

  • surfaces are cleaned when visibly soiled; 

  • if a function is to occur, a reasonable period of time has elapsed since the conclusion of any earlier function to allow for cleaning in between the functions;

  • surfaces accessible to a particular group are cleaned between groups; Example: cleaning surfaces between shifts of workers. 

  • surfaces are cleaned immediately after a spill on the surface. 

22. Are there approved cleaning products I should be using?

To ensure a surface is cleaned for the purposes of the Workplace Directions, a person must wipe the surface with a disinfectant: 

  • the label of which states a claim by the manufacturer that the disinfectant has anti-viral properties; or 

  • made by a person according to instructions issued by the Department. .

23. Do I need to have a cleaning schedule prepared?

High-touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly. Regular cleaning could be achieved with the assistance of a cleaning schedule.

24. Do I need to keep a record of when cleaning is completed?

Cleaning records may be very useful to establish that a business has complied with the cleaning requirements (detailed above) by an authorised person under the Workplace Directions.

25. How often do I need to clean fitting rooms?

Not specified, but the answer should be considered in the context of general cleaning requirements and (for example) the need to clean high-touch surfaces at least twice on any given day.

26. Is there a requirement to complete COVID Infection Control Training?

No, however it is a Victorian Government expectation that:

  • at least one worker at every workplace will have completed the training

  • workers should make themselves familiar with these guidelines.

27. Do customers need to wear face masks?

Requirements are set out in the current restrictions and change frequently.

28. Do staff need to wear face masks?

Requirements are set out in the current restrictions and change frequently.

29. Do I need to provide face masks to my staff?

No (as staff will be required to carry PPE with them) but having PPE that can be accessed by staff and provided by the workplace is advised.

30. Do I need to provide face masks to customers/visitors?

Not in retail locations.

31. Can we have product testers in our store? 

Yes. ‘Testers’ may be regarded as ‘high-touch’ surfaces and should be cleaned regularly, as per the above advice and the current Workplace Directions.


Workforce Bubbles

32. Can my staff work across multiple stores/sites?


33. What records do I need to maintain to show where and when staff have worked?

Record requirements would be the same level of records that would be required where staff didn’t work across multiple sites. Likewise, staff working across sites should check in at those sites to enable contract tracing (if needed) to be undertaken efficiently and effectively.


The ARA Retail Institute (ID NUMBER: 4049) is the leading national body providing for the education, consulting and professional development needs of the Australian retail industry. The ARA Retail Institute specializes in consulting and education on a broad range of topics, including: Retail Buying, Financials, Visual Merchandising, Marketing, Operations, and Sales and Service Strategy. The ARA Retail Institute houses a suite of both accredited and non-accredited training solutions; from the Diploma of Retail Management to customized in-house training programs. This suite provides a diverse and flexible range of education products to suit industry needs.