In this informative article by Amy Towers, Principal Consultant, Risk Collective you will find a snapshot of the current COVID Safe Plan requirements and expectations across jurisdictions.
Determining whether your business needs a COVIDSafe Plan is easier said than done, especially if you operate across borders. So, why is it such a maze? The short answer is that each State and Territory have their own public health or emergency management directions and these directions stipulate requirements for businesses to operate safely during COVID. The directions on COVIDSafe Plans are regularly being reviewed and updated.
In addition to the specific jurisdictional requirements, the rules for COVIDSafe Plans can differ across industries and sub-industries. Retail is an example of this. For example, in Queensland, it is not a public health direction for a retail business to operate in compliance with a COVIDSafe Checklist unless the business, activity, undertaking, premises or place is a food court. However, if a retail business is not offering dine-in services, or nail or beauty therapy services, the QLD government suggests that the business should still have in place a plan to respond to COVID-19 as part of the business’ obligations under the Work Health & Safety Legislation.
Another example is retail operations in Victoria. Under Stage 4 restrictions, workplaces that remain open must have a COVIDSafe Plan. In addition to this, if you are a retail business with warehousing and distribution operations or a supermarket distribution business (some exclusions apply), you must enact a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.
Keeping up-to-date with COVID-Safe Plan requirements
Retailers must keep up-to-date with the relevant public health directions, as well as ensure they continue to meet their health and safety duties under the relevant health and safety Act.
As enforceable government directions are being made regularly, retailers are encouraged to regularly check the links on the Safe Work Australia COVID-19 – Public health directions and COVIDSafe plans webpage for more information.
An overview of COVIDSafe Plan requirements for retailers
To provide retailers with a snapshot of the current COVIDSafe Plan requirements across jurisdictions, the table below outlines requirements and expectations, and provides links to further information.
Important: This is a guide only. The reference to ‘retail’ in this list does not include hospitality venues, retail food services, beauty and hairdressing, cinemas, food courts and the like.
Australian Capital Territory
- Retail businesses are encouraged to complete a COVID Safety Plan
New South Wales
- Retail businesses are encouraged to complete a COVID Safety Plan.
- Registering as a COVID Safe business is optional but recommended for retail businesses.
- NSW Health – public health orders
- NSW Government – COVID-19 Safety Plan
- COVID-19 Safety Plan for retail and grocery
All businesses must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan to show how it will meet its requirements around the key principles of physical distancing and hygiene practices. All businesses are required to lodge a COVID-19 Safety Plan by filling out the relevant checklists available.
- Northern Territory Government – Chief Public Health Officer directions
- Northern Territory Government – COVID-19 Safety Plan checklist
Under Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation, retail businesses in QLD should have a WHS plan to manage COVID-19.
A COVID Safe Checklist developed by the government is a mandatory requirement for restricted businesses (no requirement to submit checklist for approval).
- Retail businesses can use the Retail, Hair and Beauty COVID-19 Industry Plan as best-practice guideline endorsed by Queensland Health.
- Business Queensland – Industry COVID Safe plans.
All businesses that conduct a ‘Defined public activity’ must have a COVID-Safe Plan. A number of locations and activities are excluded from the Direction on public activities, including retail stores.
If your activity or business is not a Defined Public Activity, you are not legally required to complete a COVID-Safe Plan. However, should you wish to have a Plan as an extra precaution, you can complete a Voluntary COVID-Safe Plan.
- All workplaces are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that complies with the minimum COVID-19 safety standard. The Direction for COVID-19 Workplace Plans sets the minimum standards for workplaces to be COVID Safe.
Tasmanian Government Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Resources (under the heading ‘Current Directions’).
- WorkSafe Tasmania – COVID19 Safety plan templates and checklist.
- Permitted premises in metropolitan Melbourne must have a COVIDSafe Plan to continue to operate under Stage 4 restrictions.
- For retail businesses operating in regional Victoria a COVID Safe Plan is recommended.
Victorian Department of Health and Human Services – State of Emergency.
- Business Victoria – COVID-19 industry guidelines.
- All businesses are encouraged to complete a COVID Safety Plan.
Businesses that were required to close under the Directions and are reopening for the first time in Phase 4 must complete a COVID Safety Plan. The COVID Safety Guidelines will help you complete your plan.
- WA businesses that reopened in earlier phases should ensure their COVID Safety Plans are updated and continue to be implemented, using the COVID Safety Guidelines.
Western Australian Government – State of Emergency Declarations
Disclaimer: the material within this update is provided for general information and educational purposes in summary form on topics which are current when it is first published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such.