Frequently asked questions: COVID Safe Businesses

Frequently asked questions: COVID Safe Businesses

As at 1 October 2020

On this page:


FAQ 1 - Stage 4 – Overview of changes

  • For a full list of restricted businesses and mandatory COVID Safe requirements, please see the Chief Health Officer’s Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertaking Direction.

  • Stage 4 allows for events to continue under the Industry Framework for COVID Safe Events. The requirements for event organisers depend on the size and characteristics of the event:

    Organisers of events larger than 500 (indoors) / 1000 (outdoors) people and operating in compliance with an Approved Plan other than a COVID Safe Event Plan must notify the Public Health Unit of the event a minimum of 10 business days before the event by emailing COVID-19.Industryplans@health.qld.gov.au.

    For more information visit COVID Safe Events. An approval will depend on the level of COVID safe planning and risk presented by the event.

  • An outdoor area has fixed or temporary boundaries but is not fully enclosed and is open to the elements and natural ventilation. To reduce the risk of virus transmission there should be as much natural and unrestricted air movement as possible for the majority of time the area is in use.

    An outdoor area can include a veranda, balcony, deck, patio or similar structure that might be connected to an external wall of a building and also have a roof, awning or eave. It might also include a rotunda, tarpaulin or shade structure situated in a larger open space.

    An outdoor area does not include atriums that are internal to a building, internal courtyards or similar. A temporary or permanent marquee is not considered an outdoor area unless marquee walls are lifted for the duration of the event. A tent e.g., a circus tent or performance tent, is not considered an outdoor area.

    When curtain walls, panel walls or other fittings are used to fully enclose an area to protect from the elements it should be considered as indoor. Sometimes Queensland weather means that curtain walls, panel walls or other fittings are 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.

  • From Stage 4, eligible businesses who are following an approved COVID Safe Industry Plan or site-specific plan will be able to have one patron per 4 square metres indoors and one patron per 2 square metres outdoors. Restricted businesses can have up to 50 patrons when using a COVID Safe Checklist.

    Smaller venues below 200 square metres can have one person per 2 square metres up to 50 persons at a time provided a register of patrons is maintained and contact details are kept for at  least 56 days.

  • No. From Stage 3 businesses were no longer required to create defined spaces or areas within their  business. It is important that businesses still ensure social distancing is observed to the extent possible and there is no more than one person per 4 square metres indoors and one person per 2 square metres outdoors, unless otherwise specified.

  • If you have a general work-related complaint call WHS Queensland on 1300 362 128.

    If you are a business owner and you would like to better understand your WHS duties regarding COVID-19 call 1300 005 018.

    For general enquiries call 134 COVID (13 42 68).


FAQ 2 - COVID Safe Businesses

  • Businesses that operate a restricted business, activity or undertaking (as per the Public Health Direction) must keep contact information about all people at the premises (including staff), for contact tracing purposes for a period of 56 days, unless otherwise specified. This information must include:

    • full name
    • phone number
    • email address (residential address if not available)
    • date
    • time period (time in and time out).

    To capture time period, businesses must keep a person’s ‘in-time’ and either the person’s ‘out-time’, have policies that restrict time periods (e.g. two-hour table limit) or inform the person they are more likely to be contacted by authorities in the event of contract tracing if an ‘out-time’ is not provided.

    Depending on the nature of your dealings with patrons, it is understood you may collect and hold other types of personal information ordinarily collected by your business, such as loyalty cards, booking information, etc., that will only be used to provide patrons with those services. The information collected for the purpose of contact tracing cannot be used for that purpose. Businesses must maintain privacy compliance in this regard.

    If requested, this information must be provided to public health officers. The information should be securely stored, not used for any other purpose and deleted after 56 days.

    For further guidance on collection, storing and destruction of personal information.

  • Government takes your privacy seriously.

    If you are concerned a business has used your personal information incorrectly and breached your privacy, please discuss with the proprietor (business owner) as a privacy complaint in the  first instance.

    Should you not be satisfied with their advice please contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

  • All Queensland employers have obligations under Work Health and Safety legislation and must act to protect workers and others at the workplace from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 so far  as is reasonably practicable. All employers should put in place their own plan to respond to COVID-19 and to any directions issued by Queensland Health. They should consult with their workers on this plan and it should be made available when requested. This is an internal plan that does not need to be submitted to Queensland Health.

    If you have an existing Work Health and Safety (WHS) plan in place that covers COVID-19 risks and you have consulted with your staff to build it, you should continue to use it.

    If you do not have a WHS plan, or one that covers COVID-19 risks in place, you can download the Work Health and Safety plan for COVID-19 template from Worksafe Queensland.

  • If you have a general work-related complaint call WHS Queensland on 1300 362 128.

    If you are a business owner and you would like to better understand your WHS duties regarding COVID-19 call 1300 005 018.

    For general enquiries call 134 COVID (13 42 68).

  • Direct workers to stay at home if they are sick, and to go home immediately if they become unwell. They are required to be tested for COVID-19 if they have any symptoms of acute respiratory disease (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath) or a fever or history of fever and  must remain in isolation at home until they get the result and it is negative for COVID-19


FAQ 3 - COVID Safe Checklists

  • The COVID Safe Checklist is 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 before being allowed to recommence business. These businesses must complete, sign and display prominently at each premises in order to reopen.

    The COVID Safe Checklist covers requirements relating to the wellbeing of workers, hygiene and cleaning, social distancing and management of deliveries, contractors and visitors, including keeping contact details of all who visit the premises for at least 56 days.

  • COVID Safe Checklists are available to download at https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/government-actions/covid-safe-businesses

  • Yes. Businesses operating under a COVID Safe Checklist can serve up to 50 patrons. If a business wants to go above the 50-person limit, they will need to follow an approved COVID Safe Industry Plan.

  • No, you do not need to submit your Checklist for approval to any authority. You must complete all the steps in the Checklist, sign and date it and display it in a prominent area that can readily be seen by patrons and enforcement officers. Enforcement officers may check your compliance with this Checklist at any time and in doing so they may require you to produce a signed copy (including via email).

  • Yes. If you were operating during Stage 1, 2 or 3 using a COVID Safe Checklist, these checklists continue to apply. Should you wish to have more than 50 patrons you must comply with a COVID Safe Industry Plan.


FAQ 4 - COVID Safe Industry Plans

Developing a COVID Safe Industry Plan

  • COVID Safe Industry Plans can be developed by an industry through a representative group or a group of businesses within that industry. These plans should be developed in consultation with industry stakeholders including relevant unions, workers and other groups within the industry.

    The purpose of the plan is to help businesses in an industry show the health authority and the community that they can operate sufficiently safely in order to increase the number of patrons on site above the baseline restrictions at each stage in the Roadmap to easing Queensland’s restrictions (the Roadmap).

  • Yes. Once approved, a COVID Safe Industry Plan will be published online on the Queensland COVID-19 website for all businesses within that industry to access (regardless of membership to any industry body).

  • In an industry where there are multiple representative groups interested in developing a COVID Safe Industry Plan to be submitted for approval, these groups must work together to consolidate and combine plans for their industry to ensure that only one COVID Safe Industry Plan is submitted for approval. When reviewing the plan for approval, health authorities will seek to understand whether this engagement has occurred.

    Evidence of consultation with relevant unions, workers and other groups within your industry needs to be included when submitting the plan for approval. Once approved, COVID Safe Industry Plans are published and publicly available on covid19.qld.gov.au for all businesses to access (regardless of membership to any industry body).


FAQ 5 - COVID Safe site-specific plans

  • In some cases, a COVID Safe site-specific plan can be developed by eligible operators that are larger in scale due to the unique aspects of their business such as complexity and size. Only businesses identified by the Chief Health Officer as suitable for COVID Safe site-specific plans will be considered, these are:

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

    For more information on developing a COVID Safe site-specific plan please contact your relevant Queensland Government agency.

    Many businesses can follow an approved COVID Safe Industry Plan (more than one in some instances depending on the nature of the business), rather than developing a site-specific plan.

    For the most up to date information please also check the Chief Health Officer’s Public Health Directions.

Last updated:
16 October 2020