Over the weekend, State and Territory Premiers started to talk about the closure of non-essential services. As these powers are rarely used the definitions are not exactly neat and inclusive and this led to concern by HVIA members as to whether they could continue to operate.
Last night, the Prime Minister Hon Scott Morrison MP called a National Cabinet meeting and offered this explanation of which businesses would close from midday today 23 March 2020:
- They are cafes, pubs, nightclubs, cinemas, restaurants, casinos, cinemas, gyms and other indoor sporting venues, as well as churches.
- The full transcript and list is here: pm.gov.au/update-coronavirus-measures-220320
This definition was agreed based on a national approach, however it must be noted that the implementation of it will be up to the States and Territories, meaning they can build upon this list if they desire.
HVIA has monitored the responses of the State Premiers and we were pleased to see that the Premiers of Victoria and New South Wales, Mr Daniel Andrews MP and Ms Gladys Berejiklian MP are using a definition of ‘non-essential activity’ which is exactly the same as the Prime Minister’s list.
- The Victorian Premier’s transcript: vic.gov.au/coronavirus-stage-1
This means that under Stage 1 of the shut down as announced last night by the Prime Minister, HVIA’s members which offer vital support to the road freight industry can continue to operate, as long as you can comply with the existing measures of:
- No non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people outside or more than 100 people inside.
- All non-essential indoor gatherings of less than 100 people must have no more than one person per 4sqm.
- All Australians should expect their local businesses to be following this rule.
- Where possible, keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
- Avoid non essential travel.
Keep staff safe
Please ensure you continue to keep your staff safe during this pandemic if you choose to continue to operate.
HVIA has compiled a list of practical ways that might assist.
You might be already doing all of them and some of them may not be implementable but please try and do everything possible to ensure we get through this pandemic.
Please note, the HVIA office at this stage is open and will continue to be here to offer you support. Please call or email us at any time.
If you want to clarify any aspect of this advice we are here for you.
Todd Hacking & the HVIA team.
What are some of the practical ways HVIA members are supporting their staff?
- Where possible staff should be encouraged to work from home.
- If this is not possible, can shifts be implemented to reduce the number of staff congregating.
- Can staff desks be moved to provide greater distance between colleagues. The advice is to ensure at least 1.5m away and a ratio of 1 staff member / 4m².
- Can lunch breaks be staggered, can staff eat outside in safe areas away from a lunchroom.
- Can all face to face meeting be transferred to digital meetings or using internal phone networks – online programs like Skype,Teams, Zoom etc are good for face to face interaction.
- Ensure you are complying with the non-essential gathering requirements outlined by health officials.
- Ban or limit visitors to site.
- Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds regularly with soap, or use hand sanitiser where possible.
- Avoid hand contact or being in close proximity with other colleagues (stay a minimum of 1.5m away and ensure 1 person / 4m²).
- Increase cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaces and try to avoid touching these areas.
- If you are feeling unwell please stay home and seek medical testing.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and avoid touching your face.
- Increase PPE requirements.
HVIA Employer Assist
The rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic is the most unprecedented disruption to our society in seventy-five years, and the situation is causing anxiety and stress for business owners and employees alike.
HVIA Employer Assist partner Industry Legal Service, has prepared a guide to assist employers to prepare for how the outbreak may impact the workplace, including:
- Health and Safety
- Leave Entitlements
- Temporary Closures – stoppage or shortage of work – including provisions to stand down employees
- Government’s Economic Response to Coronavirus
- Coronavirus Information and support for business (NEW)
If you require further advice, please contact Employer Assist on 07 3376 6266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Some Other Useful Resources (links)
- Australian Department of Health: Coronavirus (COVID-19) -Daily Health Alert
- World Health Organisation (WHO): Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public
- WHO – Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19
- Safe Work Australia
- Health and safety bodies in your state or territory
- Coronavirus Health Information Line – 1800 020 080
Government responses for business
- Australia: treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses
- NSW: https://preview.nsw.gov.au/news/health-boost-and-economic-stimulus
- Victoria: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/economic-survival-package-to-support-businesses-and-jobs/
- Queensland: https://www.qld.gov.au/about/industry-recovery
- South Australia: https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/business-and-trade/running-a-business/preparing-a-business-continuity-plan
- Western Australia: https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/03/COVID-19-economic-response-Relief-for-businesses-and-households.aspx
- Tasmania: https://www.business.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/226377/Stimulus_Packages-Small_business_-_COVID-19_Fact_Sheet.pdf
- ACT: https://apps.treasury.act.gov.au/budget/covid-19-economic-survival-package
- NT: https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/community-advice/business
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