The rise of community transmission in Australia has proved it’s more important than ever for businesses to understand how to create a COVID Safe business. This plan will allow them to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff and customers during the pandemic.
Guaranteeing your business is COVID Safe may sound daunting. However, the NSW government has put together a step by step guide that will take you through the process.
The first step is to create a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your business. This plan will help protect your staff and customers. The safety measures will vary depending on the industry of your business. However, in general, it will outline your strategy for creating a COVID Safe environment. It will include the steps you take for hygiene and safety, physical distancing, staff wellbeing and how you will record details for contact tracing.
You can find COVID-19 plans for your industry here
Ensuring employee safety is nothing new. However, Victor Dominello, Minister for Customer Service, tells Small Business First that accessing the right resources will help businesses deal with what is a “once in a 100-year event”.
“Every employer has an obligation under the Occupational Health and Safety laws anyway,” says Dominello.
“However, COVID-19 puts another layer on that. We need to be aware of the new pandemic environment and what we need to put in place to keep customers and staff safe.”
Dominello suggests the implementation of a COVID Safe plan will help build up a “COVID muscle” amongst the business community.
“That means having a safe environment. If you go on our website, there are 22 specific industry plans from A-Z, from agriculture to zoos and there is a generic plan as well. You can download the plan, self-assess and then you get your blue stocker, and away you go.”
The minister stresses that not every industry is the same. What’s COVID Safe for one, may not be for another.
“There is no one size fits all for the pandemic. We have to tailor responses to specific industries. That’s why gyms and big events are the last to come on board.”
Once you’ve implemented your COVID Safety plan you can register your business as COVID Safe.
Dominello says there is a positive ripple effect of employing a COVID Safety plan.
“In politics, the big word is momentum – if consumers are not confident of coming into your store – if they’re concerned about their safety then that’s not good for business. But if you can show the world through Google Maps that you have the blue sticker. That you have a COVID Safety Plan. Well, when other businesses are scrambling because of an outbreak, you will have confidence that your business has been operating safely.”
For some higher risks businesses, the implementation of a COVID safe plan and registration as a COVID Safe Business is mandatory from July 24. As the risk of community transmission increases, these pubs, restaurants, bars cafes and clubs will fall under strict compliance measures including the aforementioned plan and registration as well as limiting group bookings to a maximum of 10 people, and maintaining a digital record of all visitors and staff at a premises.
Dominello said the new rules will be strictly enforced to protect the wider community.
“Venues should be on notice – NSW Police, Liquor & Gaming inspectors and NSW Health officials are carrying out inspections across the state to ensure COVID-Safe plans are being followed.
For all other businesses, Dominello says being able to demonstrate that you have a safe environment is a big tick. Once a business has completed their COVID Safety plan, he encourages business owners to share the plan with staff.
“It’s about confidence and trust. Do we trust each other to work together in a safe way? If you aren’t communicating this, then you are failing.”
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