Last Updated: 07 Oct 2021 4:57pm

Mandatory vaccination of certain workers

In line with recommendations from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and National Cabinet, the Tasmanian Government has introduced mandatory vaccination for workers in a number of high-risk settings.

The requirement for vaccination against COVID-19 includes:

  • people who work in aged care facilities including direct workforce and volunteers providing services on a regular basis, to be vaccinated by 17 September 2021.
  • people who work in quarantine facilities and those who provide transport services to travellers during their quarantine period, to be vaccinated by 17 September 2021
  • people who work in medical and health care settings, and those who provide health and medical services and treatments, and all Department of Health employees and contractors, to be vaccinated by 31 October 2021.

Some people may be exempt due to a medical contraindication to the COVID-19 vaccine. A Vaccination Medical  exemption form is now available that requires a medical practitioner to complete.

Requirements as an employer

Employers should, as soon as is practicable, notify all staff that they are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Staff are required to provide evidence of their vaccination status, or a vaccination medical exemption, by the effective date.

From the effective date, employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure an employee does not enter, or remain the premises of a health care setting, if they are not sufficiently vaccinated against COVID-19.

The employer must maintain one or more of the following for each person:

  • If second dose received (fully vaccinated), a copy of the employee's Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register OR digital evidence of their COVID-19 digital certificate
  • If first dose received, a copy of their Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register, and evidence of second dose appointment
  • If not yet vaccinated, evidence of their booking for a vaccination
  • If they are not able to be vaccinated due to a medical contraindication, a copy of their vaccination medical exemption. An employee may have a valid medical exemption recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register OR a vaccination exemption form completed by their GP or specialist.

General advice for employers

What should I tell my staff about COVID-19?

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

Key information to share includes:

Should my staff get tested or medically cleared before coming to work?

For staff who do not have any symptoms of COVID-19

There is no need for staff who have no COVID-19 symptoms to be tested or medically cleared before returning to work, unless this has been directed by the Public Health Services. Check the testing for COVID-19 page for a full overview of symptoms but common symptoms include fever, sore/itchy throat, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath and loss of taste and smell.

At all times in the workplace it is important to practise COVID-safe behaviours including handwashing and physical distancing. For more information, see the COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework.

For staff who have symptoms of COVID-19

Any staff who have COVID-19 symptoms, even mild symptoms, should get tested. Symptoms can include: fever (or signs of fever e.g. chills, night sweats), cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath and loss of taste and smell. Staff with symptoms should stay away from work and remain at home (or a place of isolation) and get tested as soon as possible by phoning the Public Health Hotline (1800 671 738) or their GP.

Other than to attend a test or for urgent medical care, they should remain in self-isolation until test results are known. Even if test results are negative, encourage staff who are unwell to stay at home until they are symptom free and well enough to return to the workplace.

For staff who have tested positive for COVID-19

Staff who have tested positive to COVID-19 must stay at home (or their place of isolation) until they have fully recovered and received a letter from Public Health Services telling them they can leave isolation and return to normal duties, including work. They do not need a negative test.

After recovering, it’s important staff members get tested again if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms including: fever (or signs of fever e.g. chills, night sweats), cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell, even if its mild.

For staff with hay fever symptoms

Hay fever can be caused by allergies to pollen from some flowering plants and is more common in Tasmania during spring and summer.

Hay fever symptoms can include:

  • runny, itchy or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • itchy, sore and watery eyes
  • a cough.

These are also symptoms of a cold, flu and COVID-19 so it is hard to tell them apart without testing.

Employees experiencing hay fever symptoms, even mild symptoms, should get tested for COVID-19.

They should stay home and not attend work while they wait for their test results.

Employees can return to work if they have:

  • had a test for COVID-19 while they had symptoms and the result was negative
  • consulted a doctor to discuss their symptoms and received advice/treatment to manage them
  • received a certificate or letter from their doctor stating they currently have hay fever and can attend work.

If an employee’s symptoms worsen throughout the hay fever season or new symptoms develop, they should see their GP who may ask them to get tested for COVID-19 again.

Can staff who have travelled go to work?

As long as the location employees have visited (either for work or recreation) has not been identified as high or medium risk there is no restriction to them attending work.

Employees who are in quarantine 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.

Are my staff Essential Travellers?

See Essential Travellers for more information.

General workplace cleaning

The following information is about 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 door handles, 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.

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 on the Tourism Tasmania website.

Advice for travel, transport and hotel industries

Resources for People in the travel, transport and hotel industries.

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

Hire car businesses

Hire car companies are encouraged to support the implementation of the current quarantine 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 quarantine.

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

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

Building and construction

Building and construction remains an essential activity under Public Health guidelines. The Government asks that all those involved in the sector - businesses, contractors and employees - have a strong focus on measures to minimise risk of contracting COVID-19.

WorkSafe Tasmania provides links to COVID-19 health and safety resources including industry specific resources for those working on and around building and construction sites.

Primary producers and processors

Ensuring food produced in Tasmania's primary production and processing sectors is safe to eat is an important step in ensuring the wellbeing of consumers. It is also important to the protection of Tasmania's reputation as a producer of safe and clean food.

To help slow the spread of coronavirus, it is important that Tasmania’s primary production and processing sectors comply with their obligations to enforce physical distancing and maintain good hygiene practices.

Biosecurity Tasmania has developed a factsheet to support primary producers and processors that provides advice on ensuring good food safety practices and plans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To find out more, see the Biosecurity Tasmania section on DPIPWE's COVID-19 Response page.