NEWS:
COVID-19 Should I close?


We’ve done a quick check around the region and are hearing that some businesses are confused about if they should close their doors.

The instructions that have been published on various government websites are fairly explicit – but we think some businesses are confused about if they fall into the definition. A great example is a gift store that also operates as a cafe. Or a dance studio – is it an indoor sports centre?

We prelude this with every decision should be based on risk:

  • who comes into your workplace?
  • where have they been?
  • do you have any workers that are a high risk, or who are living with people who are high risk?
  • how is your workplace equipped to manage social distancing (4sq metre rule)

The NSW Government guide states:

The NSW Minister for Health has directed that the following must not be open to members of the public except as follows —

  • pubs and registered clubs, except for the purposes of —
    • selling food or beverages for persons to consume off the premises, or
    • if the premises include hotel or motel accommodation, providing that accommodation including by providing food or beverages to persons using that accommodation to consume in their rooms
  • food and drink premises (other than pubs), except for the purposes of —
    • selling food or beverages for persons to consume off the premises, or
    • if the premises are part of hotel or motel accommodation, providing food or beverages to persons using that accommodation to consume in their rooms
  • entertainment facilities
  • amusement centres
  • casinos, except for the purposes of, if the premises include hotel or motel accommodation, providing that accommodation including by providing food or beverages to persons using that accommodation to consume in their rooms
  • micro-breweries or small distilleries holding a drink on-premises authorisation under the Liquor Act 2007 or cellar door premises, except for the purposes of selling food or beverages for persons to consume off the premises
  • recreation facilities (indoor)
  • places of public worship, except for the purposes of conducting wedding services or funeral services.

Mass gatherings are also banned:

  • a gathering of 500 or more people in a single undivided outdoor space at the same time.
  • a gathering of 100 or more people in a single undivided indoor space at the same time.

If you operate a business, that isn’t on the list above, and you fall under the “mass gathering” criteria – then you may continue to operate, but you might want to consider your health and safety obligations and implement a few changes:

  • Have staff stay at home if they don’t feel well
  • Encourage staff (and customers) to be more diligent with personal hygiene
  • Provide access to hygiene and sanitisation supplies
  • If you can, rearrange your office so you achieve the recommended social distancing
  • For large organisations, consider splitting your staff into A/B groups and have them in the office on alternate rosters
  • Be prepared to implement flexible arrangements/work from home
  • Cancel all non-essential business travel
  • Make sure workspaces are cleaned regularly and thoroughly
  • Avoid large indoor meetings and lunchrooms
  • Stay up to date on changes by following credible sources: we recommend business.gov.au and health.gov.au along with https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19

For further suggestions to keep your business safe, visit SafeWork NSW who have prepared advice to assist persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to comply with their obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 in relation to the management of the global COVD-19 pandemic.