Covid-19 Update

Face masks to become mandatory across Victoria

From 11:59pm on Sunday, 2 August all Victorian residents will be required to wear face coverings whenever they leave their home. The Premier today addressed the media and urged people to practice social distancing and get tested.

Likewise, from 11:59pm tonight, and in the local government areas of Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliffe, residents will no longer be able to visit people or have visitors at home.

Residents can continue to visit restaurants and cafes, with household-to-household transmission driving case numbers in the region.The Premier also flagged that the government could shut hospitality venues if that was supported by data along with “hot spots” in other industries.

If retailers are seeking to buy face masks, sanitisation stations, or disinfectant wipes, HygiMed Australia provides face masks to the medical industry and has made these available to NRA members for online orders. HygiMed Australia is a National Retail Association partner.

Visit the HygiMed online store >


COVID Award flexilibities extended

Following a cooperative application by the NRA and the SDA last week, the COVID-19 flexibility provisions in Schedule X of awards applying to retail businesses were extended until 30 September 2020.

Schedule X has been extended in the following Awards:

  • General Retail Industry Award 2010
  • Fast Food Industry Award 2010
  • Storage Service and Wholesale Award 2020
  • Hair and Beauty Industry Award 2010

The NRA is glad that the Fair Work Commission acknowledged the ongoing need for flexibility to address the pandemic, however given the evolving situation the need for a further extension of these provisions would seem likely. The NRA will monitor this situation as it evolves.


Fines introduced for workplace COVID-19 breaches in Victoria

Self-employed people and employers in Victoria who fail to notify WorkSafe about positive COVID-19 tests or confirmed coronavirus cases attending workplaces in the infectious period now face a fine of up to $39,652 for individuals and $198,264 for a body corporate.

The new regulation – which was made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act on Tuesday and remains in force for 12 months – aims to reduce workplace transmissions which have been a key factor of the re-emergence of COVID-19 in Victoria.

WorkSafe said in a statement the infectious period began on the date 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms or a confirmed diagnosis (whichever comes first), until the day when the person receives a clearance from isolation from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Employers or self-employed people should notify WorkSafe through its advisory service on 13 23 60.

Government sources said today that employers had previously been required to notify the State Department of Health and Human Services, which eventually passed on the information to WorkSafe.

The new regulation, the Occupational Health and Safety (COVID-19 Incident Notification) Regulation 2020, created a possible criminal offence for not notifying WorkSafe of confirmed COVID-19 cases covered by the regulation.

Employers and the self-employed person would need to:

  • notify WorkSafe immediately upon becoming aware of the case, by the fastest means possible;
  • provide written notification to WorkSafe within 48 hours of first being required to notify WorkSafe, using the form published on WorkSafe’s website; and
  • ensure that the workplace (or the part of it) that the person attended is not disturbed – other than for the purpose of protecting the health or safety of a person or taking essential action to make the site safe or to prevent a further occurrence of an incident – until a WorkSafe inspector arrives at the site or such other time as a WorkSafe inspector directs.


Queensland border closes to residents of Greater Sydney

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has declared all of greater Sydney a virus hotspot, with the region’s five million residents to be banned from entering the state from 1am on Saturday, 1 August 2020.

The new border ban will mean 31 new local government areas (LGAs) will be declared hot spots — the Queensland government had previously declared three LGAs in Greater Sydney as hot spots.

The banned areas include: