Following on from the Victorian Government announcement of the impact of Stage 4 restrictions on workplaces, many businesses will be forced to close for six weeks or if permitted to remain open, required to enact a COVIDSafe plan and in some industries comply with more stringent measures to continue operating.
Closures and COVIDSafe plans
Retail, manufacturing and some administration will close from 11.59pm on Wednesday, 5 August 2020. Retail stores will be able to operate under a contactless ‘click and collect’ or delivery basis.
Industries that will be permitted to operate (but under significantly different conditions) will have until 11.59pm on Friday, 7 August 2020 to enact a COVIDSafe plan which must focus on safety, prevention and response if COVID-19 is linked to the workplace. For example, cleaning services will be able to continue to operate provided a COVIDSafe plan has been enacted before the deadline (e.g. temperature checks for employees prior to commencing a shift).
Additional restrictions in certain industries
From 11.59pm on Friday, 7 August 2020, employers in the meat industry, and warehouse and distribution centres will need to scale back to two-thirds of their workforce at any one time. Employees will also be required to adhere to strict workplace health and safety requirements such as the use of PPE, temperature checks and regular COVID-19 tests.
Large scale construction on buildings taller than three storeys will be allowed a maximum of 25% of the normal employee workforce onsite. Small scale construction and/or domestic building can have no more than five workers on site at any given time.
Curfew from 8.00pm to 5.00am
Should your employees be required to leave their home between 8.00pm and 5.00am for work purposes during the Victorian curfew period, they will be required to prove that they are in fact on their way or returning home from work.
The Victorian Premier has confirmed that there have been discussions regarding the issuing of permits for such workers, with further details to follow.
Assistance in light of additional restrictions
If your business is affected by the Stage 4 restrictions and you are required to shut down or scale back your operations, various options are available with respect to your employees.
As stated above, if your business is permitted to operate, you will need to enact a COVIDSafe plan, and potentially further industry-specific measures, by the required deadline.
If you would like any assistance or further information in relation to the above, please contact our Employment, Safety and Migration team.
– This article was prepared by law firm Macpherson Kelley and appeared on its website at www.mk.com.au