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

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

  • Follow the public health directions and keep up-to-date with requirements to make your business and customers COVID Safe.
  • Ensure staff and customers observe physical distancing.
  • Collect and keep customer details (if required).
  • The Check In Qld app is available for businesses to download and use to collect contact details from patrons to keep them COVID Safe.
  • 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.).

Note: All restricted businesses may now have one person per 2 square metres on their premises, other than a hospitality business that does not comply with the requirement to collect contact details electronically.

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 person found in breach of the Public Health Directions and/or Public Health Act 2005, i.e. to whom a Direction/Act applies, without a reasonable excuse, could face a penalty of up to a maximum of 100 penalty units 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.

Reporting a breach

Individuals with concerns about whether a business is complying with the Public Health Directions and/or Public Health Act 2005 can call 134 COVID (13 42 68).


Collecting contact information

Some businesses are required to collect contact information for patrons to enable contact tracing of anyone at risk of exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19.

There are specific requirements for the hospitality industry, and any changes to requirements will be detailed in the Direction for Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings.

Important information for the hospitality industry

  • All hospitality businesses (such as pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, cafes and other venues that serve food and drink) must now collect and store contact details electronically.
  • The Check In Qld app is available for businesses and patrons to download and use in venues across Queensland.
  • Non-electronic methods, such as paper-based forms, can be used:
    • for all patrons, workers or contractors who cannot provide the required information electronically (e.g. due to age, disability or language barriers, do not have a smart phone)
    • if it is not possible to collect the information electronically due to unexpected circumstances (such as an internet outage or system breakdown)

    however transfer of all non-electronically collected contact information into an electronic system must occur within 24 hours of collection.

  • Hospitality businesses that do not collect and store contact details electronically will be required to operate under the one person per 4 square metre rule with all patrons to be seated. Dancing is also not allowed in these venues.
  • This requirement applies to all hospitality businesses operating under the Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction, including those that form part of a larger business. For example, a restaurant or café situated within a cinema, casino or gallery will need to collect and store contact details electronically.
  • Other industries may be included in the future in a staged approach.

You can:

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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.

For further information

Business owners that would like to better understand their WHS duties regarding COVID-19 can call 1300 005 018 or their union or industry association.

Employees with a general work-related complaint can call WHS Queensland on 1300 362 128.

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 café 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 to enable you to open and operate, providing 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 an authorised enforcement officer (including Queensland Police, Local Government Environmental Health Officers) can check compliance at any time and/or may ask for a copy of the signed Checklist.
    • Where the Chief Health Officer has issued updates to the public health directions, which differ from requirements outlined in published Approved COVID Safe Plans or Checklists, the relevant Direction(s) prevails to the extent of any inconsistency.
    • Checklists will continue to be updated to remain in line with current restrictions/public health directions.  Check back to this website regularly to ensure your business is complying with the most recent COVID Safe Checklist.
    • Your staff must complete COVID Safe mandatory training within two weeks of your business opening. 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 contact 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 need to notify Queensland Health:

  • a minimum of 10 business days for up to 10,000 attendees, including multi-day events with onsite accommodation (including camping)
  • a minimum of 20 business days for over 10,000 attendees, including multi-day events with onsite accommodation (including camping).

prior to the event taking place via the COVID Safe Event Plan Submission Portal.

For more information on holding events, refer to the Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events.

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 need to notify Queensland Health:

  • a minimum of 10 business days for up to 10,000 attendees, including multi-day events with onsite accommodation (including camping)
  • a minimum of 20 business days for over 10,000 attendees, including multi-day events with onsite accommodation (including camping).

prior to the event taking place via the COVID Safe Event Plan Submission Portal.

For more information on holding events, refer to the Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events.

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 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.

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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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Determining occupant density

  1. Establish the entire site size in square metres.
  2. Determine the size of the non-useable spaces in square metres (for example: space taken up by equipment, storage containers, kitchens, toilets and other impenetrable structures).
  3. Deduct the non-useable area size from the entire site size.
  4. Divide the usable area of the site by two for one person per 2 square metres or by four for one person per 4 square metres.

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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.

You may also find tips and resources to support mental health on the Australian Government website.

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:
7 April 2021