Is Your Qld Business COVID Safe?
This article includes new info and resources released by Queensland Government on Saturday 11 December, 2021.
It is easy to become complacent or desensitised when we’ve been living in a state where case numbers have – thankfully – remained low. But that hasn’t meant the pandemic has been easy to navigate.
As a business owner, not only are you trying to keep many balls in the air whilst running your business, but you’re also operating in unchartered territory – a pandemic.
With information changing frequently, we’ve rounded up a collection of Qld specific resources to help SMEs prepare for this next chapter.
Remember, you also have a duty of care to your employees and clientele which we cover in this blog here.
COVID-19 Restrictions for Businesses
The scope of this post is not to discuss all of the restrictions and regulations that our population and businesses will face. You can find all of those on the Queensland Government website HERE.
From 1 January 2022 there will be changes to requirements for close and casual contacts. Read the latest information here (published 11 December 2021).
For businesses: Not sure what to do if you or one of your team are considered a close contact, casual contact or low risk contact. Download the PDF guide here
Safe Work Resources
There are several workplace health and safety considerations for small businesses.
Below you’ll find some great resources to draw upon from sources such as Safe Work Australia and Worksafe Queensland to name a few:
1. Current COVID-19 Business Restrictions in QLD
2. WorkSafe Qld COVID Safe Business Page
3. WorkSafe Guide to Work Health and Safety during COVID-19
4. WorkSafe Health and Safety Plan Template for COVID-19
5. Safe Work Australia COVID-19 Information for Workplaces (includes advice about physical distancing, risk assessments, hygiene and cleaning practices and signage and posters that you can use)
6. Australian Government Advice for Keeping Employees Safe During COVID-19
Did You Know: COVID-19 Cleaning Rebate Qld
The State and Federal Governments have provided many avenues of support for businesses with schemes such as Job Keeper and Business Support Grants.
One little-known support is a cleaning rebate available to businesses that have been listed as an exposure site by Queensland Health. This rebate will reimburse up to 80% of professional cleaning costs (capped at $10,000 per event).
Will this rebate still be available from 1 January 2022? Yes! However, the Queensland Government has suggested businesses or venues listed as exposure sites are extremely unlikely to be closed when a positive case is detected. More information can be found here.
Your 2022 Marketing Plan: Social Media Updates & Direct Communication
Many businesses have utilised their social media channels throughout the pandemic to keep their customers and staff informed. This is a great way to provide current updates when things change quickly.
In addition to social media and Google Business Profile (your Google My Business listing) we also recommend using your owned and direct marketing channels such as email newsletters, blog posts/website and SMS to ensure that important messaging is not overlooked.
The Vaccination Issue
The new vaccination regulations require that businesses uphold the restrictions outlined for those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated.
It’s widely known that the following types of businesses will not be allowed to accept unvaccinated people into their venues in most situations:
- Hospitals and healthcare facilities
- Residential aged care and disability care accommodation
- Prisons and correctional facilities
- Hotels, pubs, clubs, taverns, bars, restaurants or cafes
- Nightclubs, live music venues, karaoke bars, concerts, theatres or cinemas
- Sporting stadiums, theme parks or tourism experiences like reef excursions that are outdoor entertainment venues
- Festivals – either indoor or outdoor – such as musical festivals, folk festivals or arts festivals
- Queensland Government-owned galleries, museums or libraries.
But what about other environments and offices? We’re already starting to see some enterprises advising suppliers – not just their workforce – that proof of vaccination may be required.
How Will Businesses Regulate Vaccination Requirements?
Affected business owners and staff will require proof of vaccination status before allowing patrons and staff to enter their premises. The Medicare app stores this information on smartphones, and it can be added to Google Pay and Apple Pay. As of 19 November, your vaccination status can also be linked to the Check-In Qld app. The vaccination status will be displayed each time a person checks in to a venue.
Businesses have been advised that they must do the following to remain compliant:
- display the vaccination rules at your premises
- request that customers show their vaccination status when they check in to your business
- ask the person to leave your premises if they are not vaccinated or cannot/refuses to provide their status
It places quite a heavy burden on the staff and owners, but the Government has also advised that businesses will have the support of police when customers refuse to comply.
Both businesses and customers can face penalties of up to $1378.50* for refusing to comply.
There are very comprehensive FAQs at the bottom of THIS PAGE.