COVID Safe Businesses

During a public health emergency, the Chief Health Officer can issue Public Health Directions to assist in containing, or to respond to, the spread of COVID-19 within the community.

These directions may apply to specified Impacted Areas for a set period of time.

Find out more about Impacted Areas, and whether any have been declared and are in force.

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*Outdoor

An outdoor area:

  • has fixed or temporary boundaries
  • is not fully enclosed, i.e. is open to the elements and natural ventilation (significant amount of natural and unrestricted air movement required for most of the time area is in use)
  • can include a veranda, balcony, deck, patio, or similar structure that might be connected to an external wall of a building
  • can have a roof, awning, or eave
  • may include a rotunda, tarpaulin or shade structure situated in a larger open space.

An outdoor area does not include:

  • atriums internal to a building, internal courtyards or similar
  • a temporary or permanent marquee, unless marquee walls are lifted for the duration of the event
  • a tent, e.g., a circus tent or performance tent.

Use of curtain walls, panel walls or other fittings to fully enclose an area to protect from the elements is considered indoors.

Sometimes Queensland weather may require curtain walls, panel walls or other fittings to be used for short periods to partially enclose an area for patron comfort and safety. If a business is in doubt, it should operate as if it is an indoor space.

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COVID Safe Checklists

COVID Safe Checklists relate to seated dining and drinking, food courts, and personal services. These are different to COVID Safe Event Checklists, which allow for 500 attendees (indoors) and 1000 attendees (outdoors) per day at events.

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COVID Safe Businesses

Important:

Queensland is open for business, but there are still some things we need to do to keep COVID safe:

  • Follow the public health directions to keep your business and customers COVID Safe.
  • Ensure staff and customers observe physical distancing.
  • Collect and keep customer details (if required).
  • Don’t allow staff or customers showing any COVID-19 symptoms to enter your premises.
  • Ensure COVID Safe management plans (Work Health and Safety) are in place which detail how you, your workers and your patrons will stay COVID safe.
  • Operate under a COVID Safe Industry Plan or a COVID Safe Checklist, which detail how COVID safety is managed in specific industries.
  • Develop COVID Safe site specific plans if your business has an individual, unique and complex site (like large outdoor amusement parks, zoos etc.).

The COVID Safe Business Framework outlines how workplace health and safety requirements, checklists and industry and site specific plans work together to help ensure Queensland businesses continue to operate COVID safely.

Penalties

Any business found in breach of the Public Health Directions and/or Public Health Act 2005 could face a penalty of up to $6672.50 or 6 months' imprisonment.

On the spot fines can also be issued.

To avoid this, we recommend you check back to this site regularly for updates to the Roadmap, plans and checklists.


COVID Safe management plans

All businesses in Queensland have obligations and responsibilities under Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation.

Every workplace must have a COVID Safe management plan to help protect its staff, customers and visitors and to prepare for a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace.  This plan is your Work Health and Safety plan that all businesses are required to have and maintain. It does not need to be submitted to the Chief Health Officer for approval and should be made available when requested.

This plan must demonstrate how you will meet all requirements set out by the Chief Health Officer. Some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional obligations for employers and employees.

Important resources

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COVID Safe Checklists

COVID Safe Checklists help businesses identify how they can keep their workers and patrons safe and limit the spread of COVID-19 at their premises.

Each COVID Safe Checklist provides a list of mandatory requirements for businesses considered to be at a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 and are required to meet a high standard of safety. These businesses must complete, sign and display their checklist prominently at each premises in order to operate.

Some restricted businesses may elect not to operate under an approved COVID Safe Industry Plan, despite one being available for their industry. In these instances, they may have to abide by additional restrictions.

For example—a small cafĂ© in Townsville may prefer to operate under the COVID Safe Checklist for dining and drinking rather than an approved plan. However, should they want to hold more than 50 people, they will need to comply with a COVID Safe Industry Plan.

There are also voluntary checklists available for any business to use to help keep them and their patrons COVID safe.

    • You are required to complete and display a COVID Safe Checklist before trading in line with the timing of each stage of eased restrictions.
    • These Checklists tell you what you need to do if you are a business in the above categories to be COVID Safe. The Checklists include input resulting from consultation with key industry stakeholders.
    • You must complete the Checklist to ensure you comply with essential public health requirements to enable you to open and provide a safe environment for your patrons and your staff.
    • You must complete, sign and display the Checklist in a prominent and visible location at your business premises.
    • You are not required to submit this Checklist to Queensland Health however a relevant enforcement officer can check compliance at any time and/or may ask for a copy of the signed Checklist.
    • Your staff must complete COVID Safe mandatory training within two weeks of your business commencing. Staff that commence with your business after this two-week period must complete this training before commencing. See the COVID Safe mandatory training section below for more details.
    • Record keeping obligations and collecting personal information under the public health directions is required. Find out more on collecting and storing information.
  • Online mandatory training programs have been developed to provide all staff in industries operating under a COVID Safe Checklist with training to help ensure a COVID Safe work environment.

    This training must be completed:

    • within two weeks of a business opening/reopening
    • by staff commencing with your business after this two-week period.

    COVID Safe training programs are available and can be accessed online through TAFE Queensland or from an approved industry organisation.

    Free online COVID Safe training programs

    • TAFE Queensland for:
      • COVID Safe for dining in – suitable for hospitality
      • COVID Safe for personal services – suitable for beauty, nail, massage tanning, tattoo parlours, spas, saunas and bathhouses.

Important resources

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COVID Safe Industry Plans

COVID Safe Industry Plans are not for use by individual members of the public. These plans are specifically for business use only.

Individual businesses do not need to develop their own COVID Safe Industry Plan (or site-specific plan) if they are following an approved COVID Safe Industry Plan.

For consistency of safety standards and compliance, Queensland Health will only approve one COVID Safe Industry Plan per industry.

Businesses should contact their respective industry representative in the first instance if their requirements are not met in this plan.

Each industry plan will be different, i.e. no two plans will be the same. Plans will vary based on the size of the venue(s), type of activity being undertaken and the type of business operating, and multiple industry plans may be relevant.

Some industry plans require businesses to develop an additional ‘business plan’ and/or WHS plan - these do not need to be submitted for approval but must be available for compliance checks.

Events may operate in compliance with an approved COVID Safe Plan (if applicable) other than a COVID Safe Event Plan. Depending on the number of attendees, the location of the event within Queensland, whether the event is outdoors*, and the public health directions in place, you may need to notify Queensland Health a minimum of 10 business days prior to the event taking place via the COVID Safe Event Plan Submission Portal.

Requirements of COVID Safe Industry Plans and eligible industries

A COVID Safe Industry Plan can be developed by an industry through a representative group or a group of businesses within that industry, in consultation with the Queensland Government.

Where there are multiple associations within an industry these groups should develop a plan together or select one plan to submit for approval. You should work with other industry stakeholders including relevant unions and workers within your industry as part of this collaboration.

Follow the guidance for developing COVID Safe Industry Plans to learn what content is needed and what will be assessed when the health authority approves the plan. Any revisions are to be discussed with the relevant government department who will submit the amendments to Queensland Health for approval on behalf of industry.

Important resources

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COVID Safe site-specific plans

In some limited cases, a site-specific plan can be developed by eligible operators that are large in scale, with unique and complex aspects of their business.

Businesses considered suitable for COVID Safe site-specific plans are limited to:

  • large outdoor amusement parks
  • zoos
  • convention centres
  • concert venues
  • theatres and auditoriums of seating capacity greater than 1000
  • museums
  • arenas
  • stadiums
  • casinos.

Before commencing the development of a site-specific plan, it is strongly recommended businesses contact their relevant Queensland Government agency to determine if they are eligible as many businesses can follow a COVID Safe Industry Plan rather than developing a site-specific plan.

If you are eligible, continue to work directly with the respective agency for further advice and guidance in preparing and submitting your plan.

Events may operate in compliance with an approved COVID Safe Plan (if applicable) other than a COVID Safe Event Plan. Depending on the number of attendees, the location of the event within Queensland, whether the event is outdoors*, and the public health directions in place, you may need to notify Queensland Health a minimum of 10 business days prior to the event taking place via the COVID Safe Event Plan Submission Portal.

Important resources

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Submitting COVID Safe Plans for approval

Submissions relating to new COVID Safe Industry Plans, COVID Safe site-specific plans, or amendments to existing industry plans are to be discussed with the relevant government department who will submit the plan or amendments to Queensland Health for approval on behalf of industry.

COVID Safe Event Plans and supporting information can be submitted to Queensland Health by emailing via the COVID Safe Event Plan Submission Portal.

Businesses are required to include evidence in your submission that you have consulted with relevant industry stakeholders during the preparation of your plan.

Important resources

  • Approval process for COVID Safe Plans—currently being updated.

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Availability and compliance with COVID Safe Industry Plans

Approved COVID Safe Industry Plans are publicly available for all businesses within that industry to access and follow (regardless of membership to an industry body).

Businesses must print and complete the Statement of Compliance included in the approved COVID Safe Industry Plan and display it in a prominent, visible location in your premises. This is particularly important in helping your customers feel confident and safe being on your premises. Businesses do not need to display the whole plan, only the Statement of Compliance.

By following an approved COVID Safe Industry Plan you are not required to complete and display the mandatory COVID Safe Checklist. However, all businesses should continue to follow the Work Health and Safety guidelines.

A relevant enforcement officer can check the plan at any time and/or may ask for a copy of the signed Statement of Compliance.

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Mental health in business

If your business has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), it is important to look after your mental health as well as your physical wellbeing. Please visit Queensland Health’s COVID-19 and mental health practical advice and information from trusted sources and partners to help you stay mentally and physically healthy and well.

These are exceptional times, but we are a resilient society with the strength and capacity to cope with difficult situations.

Ensure you keep well-connected. Support each other and keep up-to-date so that you can help support friends and loved ones.

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Last updated:
15 January 2021