COVIDSafe workplaces, industry restrictions & updates

All states & territories now require or encourage workplaces to have some form of a COVIDSafe Plan (or similar). For example:

In New South Wales, some types of businesses and organisations must register as COVID Safe under the Public Health Orders, whereas other businesses and organisations are encouraged to register as COVID Safe to show their customers and visitors that they are keeping up the highest standards to prevent COVID-19 transmission. Read more >

In Queensland, every workplace must have a COVID Safe management plan as part of the Work Health and Safety plan that all businesses are required to have and maintain. A COVID Safe management plan in Queensland does not need to be submitted to the Chief Health Officer for approval and should be made available when requested. Read more >

South Australia has implemented some business restrictions and closures. Workplaces in South Australia that are involved in a defined public activity must have a COVID-Safe Plan in place in order to trade. Read more >

Tasmania has implemented a COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework which encompasses Safe Workplaces Guidelines and minimum standards. To comply with the new minimum standards, employers should complete a safety plan and/or checklist. Read more >

Workplaces in Victoria must have a completed COVIDSafe Plan to continue their operation.

A COVIDSafe Plan sets out:

  • your actions to help prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace

  • the type of face mask or personal protective equipment (PPE) required for your workforce

  • how you will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace.

Businesses and industries operating in Victoria must follow COVIDSafe principles:

  • ensure physical distancing (1.5 metres)

  • wear a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth (update: now highly recommended indoors but only mandatory in certain settings such as care facilities)

  • practice good hygiene

  • keep good records and act quickly if staff become unwell

  • avoid interactions in close spaces

  • create workforce bubbles.

Read Reopening Victoria – is your workplace ready? >

Not all public health directions will be the same in each state and territory or for each business, so it is important you review the directions which apply to your workplace (scroll to the bottom of this article for links to the directions in your jurisdiction). Nevertheless, all Australian organisations and employers who are responsible for a workplace must take action to meet your work health and safety duties and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This includes the following employer obligations:

▶︎ Have a COVIDSafe plan in place that is regularly updated

▶︎ Ensure that any workers that can work from home are able to do so

▶︎ Collect records of all workers, subcontractors, customers and clients attending the work premises

▶︎ One worker per four square metres of enclosed workspace or in shared areas

▶︎ Unless an exemption applies, ensure that workers do not work across multiple sites, or for multiple employers

▶︎ Ensure that workers are in good health - workers cannot work if they are unwell and employers must not require workers with symptoms to work

▶︎ If your worker is unwell, send them home and direct them to be tested. They must stay home until they have their result

▶︎ Report any positive cases of COVID-19 to the government health department and workplace safety authority in your jurisdiction, your health and safety representatives, and notify your workforce

▶︎ Regularly clean your facilities, shared spaces and provide additional cleaning supplies

▶︎ Undertake risk assessments for cleaning and the potential closure of your workplace in certain situations.

From 3rd February 2021 at 11:59pm, updated COVIDSafe Summer restrictions apply across Victoria. The same restrictions apply in regional Victoria and metro Melbourne. Learn more about how COVIDSafe Summer restrictions affect working in Victoria >

Key points:

▶︎ If you are unwell, you must stay at home. If you have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, get tested and stay home. 

▶︎ When you leave home, you must carry a face mask, unless an exemption applies. 

▶︎ A fitted face mask must be worn in certain settings. Read more >

▶︎ To avoid crowds on public transport, consider flexible working arrangements with your employer, including off-peak travel.

▶︎ People working across state borders, please note you will need to apply for a permit to enter Victoria from anywhere in Australia.​ Read more >

▶︎ Offices and non-public indoor work settings: if you and your staff can work from home, you must work from home. If you can’t work from home, then you can go to work, and you do not need to carry a permit. 

▶︎ Offices and professional services can be open with COVIDSafe requirements: up to 50% of workforce. An increase to 75% workforce capacity is subject to public health advice. Read more >

▶︎ Community facilities and libraries can be open with with COVIDSafe requirements: density quotient of 1 per 2sqm if using electronic record keeping must be used. Otherwise density quotient of 1 per 4sqm applies if using manual record keeping.

▶︎ Healthcare, social assistance, emergency and safety services can be open with COVIDSafe requirements.

▶︎ As restrictions ease it is important to stay safe by washing your hands regularly, coughing and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow, and keeping at least 1.5 metres from others.

▶︎ This fact sheet for disability service providers outlines how to apply the easing of restrictions > More information for the disability services sector can be found here.

▶︎ Testing of asymptomatic residential aged care workers should commence from 19th October 2020.

▶︎ Residential aged care workers are encouraged to complete an online PPE and infection control training course before attending face to face training. The Commonwealth Department of Health has online training for care workers across all health care settings, including aged care. This training covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for coronavirus (COVID-19)

▶︎ Residential aged care employers in Victoria must:

  1. Conduct surveillance testing of all workers that are usually working on the premises in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

  2. Keep records of surveillance testing of workers for coronavirus (COVID-19)

For the purposes of the surveillance testing requirements, this includes all direct employees, contract, sessional, casual and visiting staff members of residential aged care services across all shifts. It does not include contractors performing temporary work on-site.

DHHS will assess future requirements for surveillance testing based on a risk assessment and advise the industry of any changes. More info here >

▶︎ View/download COVIDSafe Summer - How we work in Victoria (PDF) >

▶︎ Read more about Victoria's industry restriction levels >

▶︎ View/download Industry Restriction Levels - Common requirements all workplaces >

▶︎ Download COVIDSafe Plan template >

▶︎ Download COVID workplace attendance register >

▶︎ View/download Industry Restart Guidelines for Allied Health and Other Primary Health Services >

▶︎ Industry-specific requirements have been provided for all Community Services including healthcare, aged care, and disability services. View/download Industry Restriction Levels - Community Services >

More information is available on the Victorian Government COVID Safe Summer website.

As enforceable government directions are being made regularly, we encourage you to regularly check the links below for more information:

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia

If you need further assistance or information, please contact us today.