Business and employees

Last update: 26 Mar 2020 11:15am

I’m sick and I’m a healthcare / aged care worker

All healthcare workers and aged care workers who provide direct patient care who get sick with fever (≥38˚C) or history of fever (eg night sweats, chills) OR acute respiratory infection (eg shortness of breath, cough, sore throat), with or without recent travel or contact with a confirmed case, are defined as suspected cases. You must not go to work. You must self-isolate and phone your GP or the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 immediately for advice.

I’m not sick but I’m a healthcare/aged care worker. When do I need to stay away from work

You cannot go to work if you:

  • returned to Australia on or after 16 March (you need to self-isolate for 14 days following arrival in Australia)
  • returned to Australia from mainland China, Iran, South Korea or Italy in the past 14 days; you need to self-isolate at home for 14 days from your date of departure from that country
  • had contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days; you need to self-isolate for 14 days from your last contact with the confirmed case
  • you returned to Tasmania on or after 21 March and have not been exempted from self-isolation; you need to self-isolate for 14 days from your date of departure interstate
  • you have direct patient contact AND you develop a fever (≥38°C; or history of fever eg night sweats, chills OR acute respiratory infection (eg shortness of breath, cough, sore throat), with or without recent travel or contact with a confirmed case.

I’m a healthcare worker returning to Tasmania from interstate. How does the 14 day self-isolation apply to me

Starting Saturday 21 March 2020, all travellers arriving in to Tasmania must complete a Tasmanian Arrivals Form and self-isolate at home or in their accommodation for 14 days unless they meet Essential Traveller or exemption criteria and have received official communication stating that they are exempt.

Exemptions may be available to trained healthcare workers returning home for work, and non-resident trained healthcare workers coming to Tasmania to provide health services not otherwise available in Tasmania. You will need to seek exemption by completing the application form available online at least 24 hours before your arrival in Tasmania. Include as much detail as you can about why it is essential for you to return to work.

Exemption is granted after assessment of the risk and benefit for each healthcare worker’s unique situation. Travel, work and contact history will be considered carefully for each application.

Your exemption will only be granted for the purposes of carrying out the health services in your initial application. You will need to reapply for an exemption to undertake additional services.

Applications for exemption must be authorised by the Secretary, Department of Health.

Health workers should refer to the Information for healthcare workers and the Individual self-isolation exemption application (Health Service). Every healthcare worker seeking an exemption from self-isolation must complete an application form.

If you arrived in Tasmania without an exemption, you are required to isolate yourself until such time that you are advised that an exemption has been granted.

If you are approved for an Essential Traveller status then you will need to comply with the Self-isolation conditions for essential travellers.

To find out more, email Health.exempttraveller@health.tas.gov.au

Last update: 27 Mar 2020 6:25pm

Non-essential gatherings

Social and sporting gatherings of more than 10 people must now be avoided. This covers both indoor and outdoor gatherings.

This means not congregating in places such as beaches, parks, playgrounds, sports fields, race tracks, shopping centres or malls in groups of more than 10.

This also applies to our own homes, except if more than 10 people live in your home.

Even in smaller groups we must keep our distance - at least 1.5 metres or two large steps, or one person per 4 square metres wherever possible.

Venue closures

As of midnight Wednesday 25 March 2020, the following are not permitted to operate:

  • Hotels, motels, hostels, bed and breakfasts and boarding houses (excluding permanent residents and workers). NB: People who are staying at all these accommodation types in Tasmania, have until 11.59pm Sunday 29 March 2020 to depart. Anyone self-isolating must continue to do so for the 14-day self-isolation period. New bookings cannot be made. See emergency accommodation for travellers for more information
  • Caravans, camping parks and campsites (except where people live permanently or if their primary residence isn’t available). NB: People who are staying at caravan parks in Tasmania, have until 11.59pm Sunday 29 March 2020 to depart
  • Amusement parks and arcades
  • Auction houses
  • Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons and tattoo parlours
  • Boot camps and personal training sessions (excluding outdoor sessions, which are limited to groups of 10 people and social distancing of one person per four square metres applied)
  • Cafés (excepting takeaway service and home delivery, cafés or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens; services providing food or drink to the homeless, workplace canteens can provide takeaway)
  • Community and recreation centres, unless being used to host essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services
  • Community facilities, such as halls, clubs and RSLs
  • Concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums
  • Food courts, except for delivery and takeaway
  • Funerals maximum attendance of no more than 10 people* and where the one person per four square metre rule applies
  • Galleries, museums, national institutions and historic sites
  • Hairdressers and barber shops - limited to 1 person per 4 square metre rule and personal contact minimised as much as possible
  • Health clubs, fitness centres, yoga, barre and spin facilities
  • Indoor and outdoor play centres
  • Libraries, community centres and youth centres
  • Local government non-essential facilities and services, such as libraries and pools
  • Outdoor markets (other than food or farmers markets)
  • Places of worship
  • Real estate auctions and open house inspections - private inspection appointments permitted
  • Saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres
  • Social sporting-based activities
  • Spas and massage parlours
  • Strip clubs, and sex on premises venues
  • Swimming pools
  • Weddings maximum attendance of no more than five people and where the one person per four square metre rule applies.

*Additional family members might be able to attend a funeral under special circumstances, provided States and Territories provide the exemption.

The new closures are in addition to the following facilities, which stopped operating from noon Monday 23 March 2020:

  • Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafés will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings and places of worship.

These measures will be regularly reviewed based on advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

See Venue closures for more information.

Essential gatherings

Essential gatherings must restrict the number of people present to:

  • 500 for outdoor gatherings
  • 100 for indoor gatherings

Essential indoor gatherings

An indoor gathering takes place within a single enclosed area (a single room or area).

Essential activities include:

  • essential workplaces
  • health care settings
  • pharmacies
  • food shopping
  • schools and universities
  • public transport and airports

These essential indoor gatherings should apply social distancing and good hygiene practices, including:

  • being able to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between people
  • providing hand hygiene products and suitable rubbish bins, with frequent cleaning and waste disposal.

Essential outdoor gatherings

Essential outdoor events of less than 500 attendees can proceed. All events must follow these rules:

  • Consider the size of the space, the number of people in it, and how much room people have to move around safely — people must be able to keep 1.5 metres apart.
  • Make hand hygiene products and suitable rubbish bins readily available.
  • Conduct frequent cleaning and waste disposal.

Density

In a given occupied space, there must be a density of no more than one person per 4 square metres of floor space – this is about 1.5 metres, or two large steps, between people.

Events hotline

If you run an event and would like further advice on this matter, you are encouraged to contact Events Tasmania on 1300 880 634.

Business hotline

If your business has been impacted by restrictions due to COVID-19, you are encouraged to contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 to discuss your situation and register your impact.

Last update: 25 Mar 2020 8:14pm

All employers

Can staff go to work

Starting from Saturday 21 March, all non-essential travellers departing for Tasmania will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. If they do not get sick in that time, they can then return to work and normal duties. They do not need a clearance certificate.

Employees who are in isolation should alert their employer. Depending on the type of work, and provided the employee is well, they may want to discuss alternative arrangements such as working from home. See the ‘Isolation guidance’ information sheets at www.health.gov.au/covid19-resources

What should I tell my staff

Employers should provide information and brief all employees and contract staff, including domestic and cleaning staff.

Key information to share includes:

  • how to stay informed and the best sources of information (Australian Government and Tasmanian Government Department of Health websites)
  • how to protect yourself and others
  • what to do if they have travelled interstate and overseas in the previous 14 days
  • the employer’s expectations that staff will follow instructions provided by Public Health Services
  • non-essential meetings or conferences of critical workforces such as healthcare professionals and emergency services should be limited
  • non-essential overseas travel should be reconsidered
  • social distancing measures must be adhered to.

Can staff who have travelled to go to work

Starting from Saturday 21 March, all non-essential travellers departing for Tasmania will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. If they do not get sick in that time, they can then return to work and normal duties. They do not need a clearance certificate.

Employees who are in self-isolation should alert their employer. Depending on the type of work, and provided the employee is well, they may want to discuss alternative arrangements such as working from home. See the ‘Isolation guidance’ information sheets at www.health.gov.au/covid19-resources

Are my staff Essential Travellers

See the fact sheet on Tasmanian border restrictions.

General workplace cleaning (not for healthcare settings and confirmed cases)

Cleaning is an important way to slow the spread of viruses like the one that causes COVID-19.

For frequently touched surfaces like doorhandles, tabletops, desks, light switches, railings, shared keyboards and mice, taps and handles:

  • Clean these surfaces frequently, making sure you remove any visible dirt and organic matter so that the disinfectant can work well.
  • Regularly wipe the surface using your normal household or workplace detergent/disinfectant, following the instructions on the label.
  • It’s okay to use detergent wipes, as long as the cleaning process is thorough and removes visible dirt/organic matter.

Surfaces that are less often touched:

  • Clean these surfaces at least when they start to look dusty or dirty and immediately after any spillage or contamination.
  • Use your normal household or workplace detergent, following the instructions on the label.
  • It’s okay to use detergent wipes, as long as the cleaning process is thorough and removes visible dirt/organic matter.
  • Damp mopping is better than dry.

Australian Government information for employers

The Australian Government Department of Health has prepared an information sheet for employers which provides more information, including:

  • can staff go to work?
  • what should I tell my staff?
  • what precautions should I take when cleaning?
  • can food and water spread coronavirus?
  • how can we help prevent the spread of coronavirus?
  • more information?

Tourism operators

Support for cancelled bookings

If your business has been impacted by cancellations both now and in forward bookings due to the coronavirus, you are encouraged to contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 to discuss your situation and register your impact.

Information for Tasmanian tourism operators including business assistance information is also available at https://tourismtasmania.com.au

Advice for travel, transport and hotel industries

The Australian Government Department of Health has issued a fact sheet for Hotel Management and Hotel Staff and Hotel Guests about preventive action staff and guests should take. There are also other resources for people in the travel, transport and hotel industries.

For more resources specific to tourism in Tasmania, see Tourism Tasmania.

Hotels and short-term accommodation providers

If guests need to self-isolate, it is important that staff and guests take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. The risk to staff is low if they wash and dry their hands well and take simple precautions.

Staff must avoid close contact with these guests, but it is safe to be in the same room for cleaning (maintaining at least 1.5m or two large steps from guests).

Some measures which staff can implement include:

  • Reduce cleaning to every second day instead of daily
  • Leave meals at door
  • Wear gloves when collecting used trays/handling used eating utensils.

If a person in self-isolation develops symptoms, they should contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

For more information, see the Information for hotels and short-term accommodation providers that require guests to self-isolate.

Hire car businesses

Hire car companies are encouraged to support the implementation of the current self-isolation actions to support community safety especially when it is clear the use of their vehicles is contrary to current health directions. The following advice is provided by Department of State Growth to support this decision making by operators:

  • Hire and drive accreditation does not place a positive obligation on an operator to hire a vehicle.
  • Refusal to accept a hirer will only be an offence if the refusal is due to grounds established under anti-discrimination legislation.
  • There are no measures that the Transport Commission would invoke against a hire and drive operator for refusing a hirer who is required to be in isolation.

State Growth are encouraging industry to work with travellers who may need to get to place of self-isolation whilst reinforcing industry standard cleaning procedures.

State Growth will be providing information directly to operators to confirm these details.

Last update: 25 Mar 2020 7:35pm

Does the self-isolation period apply to travel by Fly in Fly out (FIFO) workers

A Tasmanian resident FIFO worker who believes they fall into one of the Essential Traveller categories can apply via the Tasmanian Arrivals Form at the airport or online. See the Information for Fly-in-Fly-Out Workers.

Does the self-isolation period apply to travel commercial fishers and recreational boaters

Commercial fishers and recreational boaters do not need to self-isolate if they have not set foot interstate or overseas, and have not taken on crew from interstate and overseas in the past 14 days. See Coming to Tasmania for more information.

I’ve completed my period of self-isolation but my boss won’t let me return to work without clearance or a coronavirus test

The national approach is only to test people who are unwell AND have recently travelled overseas or interstate or been in contact with a person confirmed to have the virus. There is no value in testing people who are well.

The Department of Health does not issue medical certificates.

See Information for employers and Information about returning to your community.

I’ve been sick and have recovered but my boss won’t let me return to work

You can complete a Statutory Declaration stating you are ready to return to work.

Last update: 26 Mar 2020 2:11pm

Freight into Tasmania

Freight will continue to come in and out of our state, and with TT-Line having capacity to carry extra freight, Tasmanians can be assured we will have the essential supplies we need.

Energy / power supply

Tasmania’s energy supply remains secure and Governments around Australia are taking important measures to continue to ensure the reliability, security and affordability of the national power grid.

Hydro Tasmania, TasNetworks and Aurora have activated their pandemic and Business Continuity Plans to ensure security of supply.

Drinking water

Drinking water supplied by TasWater is safe to drink. Disinfection processes for drinking water are designed and operated to manage pathogens, such as viruses. Conventional disinfection applied to inactivate the most resistant viruses will also inactivate COVID-19. No additional treatment is required and there is no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through drinking water. The safety of drinking water supplied to Tasmanians by TasWater is regulated by the Department of Health under a comprehensive legislative framework to ensure a consistent, reliable supply of safe, good quality drinking water.

Where a reticulated drinking water supply is available, this is the best and safest option. There is no need to buy bottled water. Water supply is an essential service and TasWater will continue to work with the Department to ensure that safe drinking water is delivered to your home at all times. Should the quality of your water change, then you will be advised about any restrictions on the safe use of your water. This is unlikely to occur and if it does, then it would not be COVID-19 related.

For more information see the Water Research Australia fact sheet for COVID-19.

Agriculture

The Tasmanian Government is working with the Australian Government and industry to guarantee food production and supply as essential services.

Feed, hay, fertilizer and other agriculture products will continue being delivered to farms.

Last update: 25 Mar 2020 7:21pm

State Government financial support

The Tasmanian Government is providing further support and economic stimulus to help businesses and Tasmanians affected by COVID-19. For more information please see Stimulus and support.

Australian Government Support

Information about Australian Government support for individuals/households and businesses is available at on the Treasury website.

Bank support

The Australian Banking Association announced a small business relief package from Australia’s banks.

Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.

For more information see Australian Banking Association.

Last update: 27 Mar 2020 5:30pm

Business support

Travel restrictions are impacting Tasmanian businesses and both the Australian and Tasmanian Governments are putting in place support measures to assist where it is most needed.

For information and support for your business, go to www.business.gov.au for Australian Government measures, and www.business.tas.gov.au for Tasmanian Government measures.

Business Tasmania hotline

If your business has been impacted by travel restrictions due to the coronavirus, you are encouraged to contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 to discuss your situation and register your impact.

Events hotline

Travel restrictions are impacting some events in Tasmania. If you run an event and would like further advice on this matter, you are encouraged to contact Events Tasmania on 1300 880 634.

Australian Government Support

Information about Australian Government support for individuals/households and businesses is available on the Treasury website.

Small business support

Australian Banking Association announced a small business relief package from Australia’s banks.

Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.

For more information see Australian Banking Association.

Tourism operator support

Information for Tasmanian tourism operators, including business assistance information is available on the Tourism Tasmania website.

Last update: 27 Mar 2020 7:46pm

Tasmanian accommodation providers are permitted to continue offering services to non-essential workers and visitors to Tasmania to 11:59 pm Wednesday 1 April 2020 (revised from 11.59 pm Sunday 29 March 2020).

After this date, accommodation providers are able to offer services to the following categories:

  • Tasmanian workers
  • Interstate workers deemed as Essential Travellers (link to Essential Traveller info on coronavirus site)
  • People in a self-isolation period (who must vacate at the end of the 14 day required period)
  • People currently residing permanently at the premises
  • People whose principal residence is unavailable
  • People currently residing permanently there for compassionate reasons, including emergency accommodation due to an emergency, family violence or vulnerability.

Commercial accommodation operations include hotels, hostels, AirBnB, bed and breakfasts, holiday home rentals, and caravan parks offering self-contained cabin-type options.