FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR EDEN-MONARO BUSINESSES

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR EDEN-MONARO BUSINESSES Main Image

The current NSW restrictions can be confusing and a little unclear at times, particularly as we start to re-open from Monday, 11 October 2021.

I have been inundated with questions about what we can and cannot do under the current restrictions in NSW, so I have done my best to answer many of these questions below.

The information provided is not legal advice but publicly available information on the current restrictions in Eden-Monaro. If you are still unsure, please contact Services NSW directly 13 77 88 or visit their website here for specific clarification and advice.

This can be a particularly overwhelming time for all of us - please reach out if you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or distressed. You can find a list of available support here.

This page includes:

🟡 COVID- 19 resources for businesses

🔴 Information on current restrictions for businesses

🟢 Information on support available for businesses

For information for individuals please click here.

 

🟡 Resources

The NSW Government roadmap factsheet can be downloaded here.

Posters and images to help with vaccination, check-in and hygiene requirements for businesses can be found here.

You can update your COVID-19 safety plan here.

For detailed rules for businesses please click here.

 

🔴 Current Restrictions

Q: Are non-critical businesses responsible for ensuring that customers and staff are fully vaccinated?

A: Yes, non-critical retail businesses are responsible for taking "reasonable steps" to prevent unvaccinated people entering their premises. 

The NSW Government has provided the following examples of reasonable steps businesses could take to do this:

  • ensure posters outlining vaccination requirements and Service NSW QR codes are clearly visible
  • train staff on ways to check proof of COVID-19 vaccination status (or a valid exemption) and what to do if someone refuses to be checked or is not vaccinated
  • remind customers of vaccination requirements in marketing materials and when taking and confirming bookings
  • consider ways for non-vaccinated customers to purchase products online
  • checking vaccination status upon entry where practical.

Critical retail will remain open for non-vaccinated customers (eg: Supermarkets, chemists etc).

For further information please check the NSW Government website here.

 

Q: Are non-critical businesses responsible for ensuring that staff are fully vaccinated?

A: The NSW Government has outlined the following timeline of vaccination requirements for staff in regional NSW.

  • 11 October 2021 - 1 November 2021: Staff in regional NSW will be required to have at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccination to go to work. 
  • 1 November 2021 - 1 December 2021: Staff in regional NSW will need to be fully vaccinated to got to work.
  • 1 December onward: No vaccination requirements will be in place for industries that do not have pre-existing vaccine mandates (eg: Aged Care)

These requirements apply, but are not limited to, the following industries:

  • Hospitality venues, such as cafes, restaurants, or pubs
  • Entertainment facilities, such as theatres, cinemas, and music or concert halls
  • Places of public worship, such as churches, mosques, or synagogues
  • Places where a wedding, funeral, or memorial service is held 
  • Hairdressers, spas, nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlours or massage parlours
  • Indoor recreation facilities, such as gyms, indoor pools, squash club, tennis centre, bowling alley, or ice rink 
  • Public swimming pools in indoor areas that are used to conduct swimming lessons, lap swimming, squad training and rehabilitation activities
  • Retail premises other than critical retail premises

For further information please check the NSW Government website here.

 

Q: Are critical businesses require to ensure that staff and customers are fully vaccinated?

A: No, the NSW Government has listed the following industries as critical and does not require proof of vaccination for staff or customers:

  • Supermarkets 
  • Grocery stores 
  • Shops that mainly sell food or drinks, such as butchers, bakeries, fruit and vegetable shops, and delicatessens 
  • Kiosks 
  • Petrol stations 
  • Banks and financial institutions 
  • Hardware and building supplies 
  • Landscaping material supplies 
  • Rural supplies 
  • Shops that mainly sell: 
    • Pet supplies 
    • Newspapers, magazines or stationery (for example, newsagents) 
    • Office supplies 
    • Maternity or baby supplies 
    • Medical or pharmaceutical supplies (for example, chemists) 
    • Alcohol (for example, liquor stores) 
  • Post offices 
  • Garden centres and plant nurseries 
  • Vehicle hire businesses but not businesses that sell vehicles 
  • Shops that mainly carry out repairs of mobile phones 
  • Laundromats and drycleaners. 

For further information please check the NSW Government website here.

 

Q: What is an acceptable proof of vaccination of staff and customers?

A: NSW Health only lists three forms of evidence of vaccination that can be accepted:

  • A COVID-19 digital certificate displayed through the Medicare App, Service NSW App or equivalent smartphone wallet.
  • Printed version of the COVID-19 digital certificate or immunisation history statement.
  • Successful completion of a Service NSW QR check-in that includes vaccination confirmation.

For further information please check the NSW Government website here.

 

Q: As a business, can I force unvaccinated customers to leave the premises?

A: Yes, the public health orders in NSW require a person to be vaccinated in certain settings, unless an exemption applies.

According to the NSW Government: "If the occupier of the premises believes that a person does not have a valid exemption, the occupier can ask the person to leave the premises. If the person refuses, the occupier of the premises can notify the police."

For further information please check the NSW Government website here.

 

Q: What measures are being taken to ensure compliance and what are the penalties for non-compliance?

A: The NSW Government has advised that "authorised officers" will be monitoring the reopening.

Penalties for individuals who are not complying with vaccination requirements include on the spot fines of up to $1,000. 

Penalties for individuals who are not complying with the public health orders include on the spot fines of up to $5,000.

The NSW Government may also close businesses and issue larger fines for more significant breaches of the public health orders.

For further information please check the NSW Government website here.

 

Q: What do I need to do if my business becomes a COVID-19 exposure site?

A: The NSW Government has created a Contact Risk Assessment document for workplaces to asses the risk of COVID-19 cases that are identified and to confirm what actions need to be taken. 

A copy of the assessment can be found here

For further information please check the NSW Government website here.

 

Q: What do I need to do if a staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

A: According to the NSW Government, the positive staff member will be required to isolate for 14 days regardless of their vaccination status. 

The NSW Government goes on to state that "You are encouraged to refer to your COVID Safety Plan and risk assessment approach for further instructions on notifying other staff."

Business will only need to inform NSW Health in 3 or more employees test positive for COVID-19 in a 7 day period.

A copy of the assessment can be found here

For further information please check the NSW Government website here.

 

🟢 Support available for business

Q: I operate a business in NSW that has been affected by the latest restrictions, can I get any extra for support?

A: Possibly, the NSW and federal Governments have been providing some support for businesses impacted by the restrictions.

 

NSW Support

Most NSW Government support is ending on the 30th of November, but application will close on Monday the 18th of October. This includes JobSaver payments and the Micro-business grants.

For information on these payments please check the services NSW website here.

Accommodation support grants

These are available for accommodation businesses who experienced cancellations for stays between Friday 25 June 2021 and Sunday 11 July 2021.

Two different grant amounts are available:

$2,000 for cancellations of 10 nights or less

$5,000 for cancellations of 11 nights or more.

Those with multiple accommodation properties in NSW will be able to apply multiple times.

Applications will close on the 30th of November 2021 and can be made through the Services NSW Website here.

 

Federal Support

As we have reached the 80% COVID-19 double vaccination rate the COVID-19 Disaster recovery payment will begin to reduce for those still receiving it and in two weeks following the payment will stop permanently (Probably 1 November in NSW).

 

Grants

There are many grants available for businesses and community organisations with complex eligibility requirements. Businesses should sign up to the grants bulletin to see what extra support may be available to them.

There are many different kinds of support available for different businesses and I encourage you to check your eligibility directly.

You can find more information on the NSW Government website here.

 

For questions on what restrictions apply for individuals, including information on border restrictions, please click here.

If you have any other questions, please contact me and my office will do what they can to assist you.