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Accommodation and Food Services sector guidance

Sector guidance for Accommodation and Food Services business within metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

See below for up to date operational guidance and frequently asked questions for this sector.

For frequently asked questions that applies to all businesses go to our

Frequently asked questions — metropolitan Melbourne

Updated on: 14 September 2020

Read below for commonly asked questions by businesses within the Accommodation and Food Services sector. The following frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne, which is currently at Step One of Victoria’s roadmap for reopening.

Accommodation

If the client is staying for a reason not permitted under the directions (i.e. for holiday purposes) then they must go home. For a full list of the permitted types of accommodation, please see the Permitted Work Premises List available on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website.

Community members and businesses can raise concerns about compliance with directions through the Police Assistance Line (PAL) on 131 444.

No. Partners living separately are allowed to visit each other, but only at their place of residence. This booking does not fall under a permitted category of the Permitted Work Premises List.

Gardening and maintenance are allowed if it is essential for a healthy and safe workplace, or for emergency repairs.

Emergency repairs are urgent repairs, which must be undertaken for safety, to prevent injury, to prevent property damage or damage to goods, or to fix an essential service (e.g. a water connection).

Anyone permitted to work on-site must maintain physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others, and wear a face covering.

No. Providing accommodation as part of the Hotels for Heroes program is a permitted reason under both Stage 3 and 4 restrictions.

Accommodation providers in metropolitan Melbourne must close to visitors, except where specified as permitted to operate.

Those permitted to operate are:

  • All types of accommodation where it relates to a person’s primary residence, including:
    • hotel, caravan park, hostel, etc.
    • supported residential services
    • boarding schools, residential colleges and university accommodation services
  • Accommodation provided or funded by the Victorian Government in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), including:
    • for returned overseas travelers
    • for people subject to direction and detention notices
    • for diagnosed persons and close contacts
    • for critical coronavirus (COVID-19) responders (e.g. Hotels for Heroes)
  • Accommodation for work purposes on a temporary basis or for workers in permitted critical sectors beyond hotels (e.g. caravan parks)
  • Accommodation where it is unsafe for a person to reside in their primary place of residence
  • Emergency accommodation, including refuges and accommodation for people who are experiencing homelessness
  • Only essential support to be provided for in-home support for aged services
  • Other essential accommodation and food services, such as roadhouses (to comply with national heavy vehicle regulations)

Accommodation providers can maintain workers onsite that are required to undertake essential security, fire compliance and other essential building services.

All other accommodation providers must close until at least 13 September 2020.

Yes, but only for a permitted reason under the current directions, including that it is:

  • provided or funded by the Victorian Government in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), including:
    • for returned overseas travellers
    • for people subject to direction and detention notices
    • for diagnosed persons and close contacts
    • for critical coronavirus (COVID-19) responders (e.g. Hotels for Heroes).
  • accommodation for work purposes on a temporary basis or for workers in critical sectors beyond hotels (e.g. caravan parks)
  • accommodation where it is unsafe for a person to reside in their primary place of residence
  • emergency accommodation, including refuges and accommodation for people who are experiencing homelessness
  • essential support for in-home support for aged services.

Food and Beverage

Restaurants and cafes can provide takeaway and delivery service under Stage 4 restrictions.

This includes restaurants at pubs and clubs, and the takeaway service of alcohol where the liquor license permits.

Delivery drivers are permitted workers. Food and meals can be delivered at any time, including during the curfew hours of 9pm to 5am.

No. Food and beverage outlets located in food courts must remain closed under Stage 4 restrictions.

Operation

Cash can still be accepted as a form of payment, but it is strongly recommended that all businesses use contactless payments.

Yes. Chefs must wear a face covering at all times that it is practical to do so. When it is not practical to do so such as when tasting food, the face covering can be removed and replaced when the activity is finished, ensuring strict hand hygiene is conducted prior to the new face covering being fitted.

Yes, as long as you promote your business from home. You can only accept bookings during the restricted period for permitted reasons (for example, you cannot accept holiday bookings during the Stage 3 or Stage 4 restriction period). You will also need to consider the impact of further restrictions on any new or existing bookings.

If your workplace is closed under Stage 4 restrictions (i.e. not a permitted workplace), you can only visit:

  • to ensure the premises is closed safely
  • to support employees who are working from home (e.g. organising IT equipment to be delivered to their homes)
  • in an emergency or if otherwise required by law
  • to carry out emergency maintenance.

Staff numbers must be kept to the absolute minimum required and will need to be issued with Permitted Worker Permits. You must also have a COVIDSafe Plan in place.

Information about the Permitted Worker Scheme and COVIDSafe Plans (including a template) are available on the Business Victoria website.

Multi-unit dwellings and apartment towers can maintain the minimum number of employees required to undertake essential security, fire compliance and other essential building services including cleaning and disinfection.

Frequently asked questions — regional Victoria

Updated on: 21 September 2020

Read below for commonly asked questions by businesses within the Accommodation and Food Services sector. The following frequently asked questions apply to regional Victoria. Find out more about Victoria’s roadmap for reopening.

Accommodation

The following frequently asked questions apply to regional Victoria.

No. Tourism is not one of the reasons that people from a Restricted Area can leave home. Accommodation facilities must use reasonable endeavours to satisfy themselves that their customers do not live in metropolitan Melbourne. This can be confirmed using a driver’s licence or other relevant forms of ID.

No. Providing accommodation as part of the Hotels for Heroes program is a permitted reason under both Stage 3 and 4 restrictions.

Businesses can determine how to best securely record and store visitor details. A simple handwritten log or register will suffice but considerations should be made on how to minimise the risk of transmission if staff and customers share the record-keeping materials.

For example, only have one staff member per shift collect customers’ details and/or regularly clean the pens used to write down details.

Cash can still be accepted as a form of payment, but it is strongly recommended that all businesses use contactless payments.

Cleaning and disinfecting common contact surfaces will help to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). This should be done regularly (at least twice a day) for high-touch surfaces, between users, and immediately after spills. Surfaces and fittings should also be cleaned immediately when visibly soiled. See Cleaning and disinfecting to reduce coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission - tips for business and construction sites.

Personal items used in the workplace, such as glasses and phones, should be cleansed and disinfected frequently (e.g. by using isopropyl alcohol wipes).

Workplace amenities, including kitchens, lunchrooms, communal areas, change rooms, toilets, drink fountains and vending machines, should also be regularly cleaned.

Bedding that comes into direct contact with a customer (such as sheets, quilt covers and pillow cases) must be washed before the next booking, and other items should follow routine practice.

The laundering of linen should be conducted using the warmest setting possible that is in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions. Dry items completely. Do not shake dirty laundry as this may disperse the virus through the air.

Yes, you can have customers stay at your property. However, bookings cannot be taken from residents of metropolitan Melbourne under current restrictions.

Houses or room/s rented out must be cleaned between groups. See Cleaning and disinfecting to reduce coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission - tips for business and construction sites.

Yes, see Table regarding communal facilities in the section Creating a COVIDSafe workplace in the attached document.

Subject to physical distancing and requirements. The patron limit for communal areas is determined by the density quotient, which is calculated by measuring the total area of a space (in square metres) then dividing by 4.

Communal facilities are subject to the cleaning requirements (see How often should surfaces be cleaned?). Shared equipment is to be cleaned & disinfected with a disinfectant with anti-viral properties.

Venues should also implemented rostered use of these facilities and the provision of cleaning products for people using them.

Industry Restart Guidelines - Accommodation (PDF 1094.68 KB)PDF icon

Yes, hostels can accept customers provided that members of separate group bookings do not share the same rooms.

Dormitories can only be occupied by members of the same household. Communal spaces must be cleaned regularly, including twice a day for frequently touched surfaces (e.g. counters, handrails). The density quotient (one person per four square metres) applies to communal spaces.

No. Communal saunas and spas must remain closed. See Table regarding communal facilities in the section Creating a COVIDSafe workplace.

Industry Restart Guidelines - Accommodation (PDF 1094.68 KB)PDF icon

Indoor swimming pools must remain closed. Outdoor swimming pools (including those in accommodation facilities) may open to the public according to the Physical Recreation guidelines. These guidelines include:

  • Number of people in the pool or chlorinated spa subject to the density quotient of the pool itself or 50, whichever is smaller
  • No access to saunas
  • Record-keeping, cleaning and signage requirements are met.

Delivery drivers and other contractors visiting the premises should minimise interaction with staff. Use electronic paperwork where possible and, instead of a signature, send a confirmation email or take a photo of the goods onsite as proof of delivery.

Where possible, open windows and adjust air conditioning to enhance fresh airflow.

There are a number of ways interactions can be limited to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission. These include:

  • Space out reception or check-in areas or using alternate methods of checking in.
  • Encourage customers to use contactless payment methods such as credit or debit cards, phone or other payment-enabled devices instead of cash.
  • Consider using physical barriers, such as plexiglass screens, at counters where interactions with customers frequently occur. If practicable, set up separate workplace entry and exit points.

Yes. Separate areas, whether indoor or outdoor, can each have up to the customer limit, subject to meeting the density quotient of one customer per four square metres of customer-accessible area (for indoor dining) and one customer per two square metres for outdoor dining

Hospitality

The following frequently asked questions apply to regional Victoria.

In the Third Step, food courts can operate for takeaway and delivery only.

Cash can still be accepted as a form of payment, but it is strongly recommended that all businesses use contactless payments.

Self-service buffet-style food service areas, cutlery and glass stations, and communal drink and condiment stations should all be removed, or access prevented. Free drinking water should be provided via table service rather than at self-serve stations.

Having set seatings so there is minimal overlap between different groups is recommended. If businesses choose to impose a time limit on bookings, this should be kept to no more than two hours, particularly if there is more than one group sharing the same space.

Venues may continue to use their cutlery, crockery and beverage containers with appropriate hygiene, cleaning and sanitation processes in place.

The number of condiments available on tables should be minimised where possible. Where they are offered, they should be cleaned after each group of patrons. This includes items like sugar, salt, pepper and water jugs. If provided, condiments should be disinfected between uses and jugs of water should be properly cleaned before reuse.

All perishable food such as fresh fruit and vegetables should be cleaned as usual. Do not use soap, disinfectants or detergents to wash your food. These cleaning products are not designed for human consumption and may be unsafe to use with food. If required, and safe to do, food packaging can be sanitised with common household disinfectants such as alcohol-based sanitiser.

For further information, please visit Food Safety Standards.

The density quotient of one person per four square metres does not apply to workers in kitchens that are workplaces, but workers working in the kitchen must practise physical distancing where possible.

Yes, as long as they are shared within a group at the same table. No buffet service should be provided.

Walk-ins are allowed but venues should consider how these are managed so that physical distancing can be maintained, particularly at entrances.

Bookings provide a greater opportunity to manage demand and stagger arrival times to ensure physical distancing is maintained.

Venues must also ensure walk-ins do not take them over the patron limit and that contact details are collected.

Delivery drivers and other contractors visiting the premises should minimise interaction with workers. Use electronic paperwork where possible and, instead of a signature, send a confirmation email or take a photo of the goods onsite as proof of delivery.

Yes. Separate indoor areas can each have up to the patron limit, subject to meeting the relevant density quotient for the patron-accessible area. However, the maximum number of indoor patrons allowed in each venue is 20 (10 per space).

There are a number of ways interactions can be limited to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.

Ordering from a table should be encouraged, where possible, to limit counter or kiosk ordering.

Encourage customers to use contactless payment methods such as credit or debit cards, phone or other payment-enabled devices instead of cash.

Consider using physical barriers, such as plexiglass screens, at counters where interactions with customers frequently occur. If practicable, set up separate venue entry and exit points.

Menus should be either laminated and sanitised after each use or single-use paper menus. General non-contact signage can also be used to display your menus.

Takeaway menus should be placed outside the venue.

Where possible, open windows and adjust air conditioning to enhance fresh airflow.

No. Travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria is not permitted for the purposes of dining in a restaurant at this time.

Business owners must use reasonable endeavours to satisfy themselves that their customers do not live in metropolitan Melbourne.

This can be confirmed by asking customers to confirm that they don’t live there, or by using a driver’s licence or other relevant forms of ID.

People from regional Victoria may not travel through metropolitan Melbourne for the purposes of dining in a restaurant at this time, even if their destination is in regional Victoria. Travel within regional Victoria is permitted.

  • Yes. However, no food or drink is permitted in these areas.
  • These areas count towards density quotients and patron caps.
  • You must also take into account the requirements of the Tobacco Act, which are set out on the BetterHealth website and COVIDSafe measures such as social distancing must are adhered to in these areas.

Yes, alcohol can be served without food, however patrons must be seated. This applies to both indoor and outdoor service.

Outdoor dining permits are overseen by local councils. Please contact your local council for more information about outdoor dining permits.

A density quotient is the number of people permitted for each set measurement of space. The density quotient is designed to minimise close contact between people, to reduce potential transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

A patron cap is the maximum number of patrons allowed in a venue at any time. The cap is designed to minimise close contact between people, to reduce potential transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Gaming rooms in pubs and clubs cannot open at this time. Where can I access signage to publish at my workplace? For additional signage resources, please visit the DHHS website.

  • ‘Outdoors’ means: a space with no roof; or an open-air space designated for the consumption of food and/or beverages, which may have a temporary or fixed cover (e.g. awning or roof) so long as such cover has at least two open sides for airflow.
  • Roof is defined as any structure or device (whether fixed or movable) that prevents or significantly impedes upward airflow, including a ceiling.
  • Wall is defined as any structure or device (whether fixed or movable) that prevents or significantly impedes lateral airflow, including a closed window or door.

With the above definition, indoor venues that had open sliding or bifold doors or large open windows, would not be considered as outdoors. Venues must have outdoor areas that are truly ‘open air’ and have good airflow, so that we can be confident that there is a lower risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Permitted outdoor area may be a balcony or veranda, a courtyard, a rooftop, a marquee or a street or footpath. Outdoor service is subject to local council, licencing and other regulatory requirements. Please consult with your local council for further information.

  • Groups must be limited to public gathering limit (up to 10).
  • Groups must be seated 1.5m apart from other groups (including groups at other venues).
  • Members of the public must be seated.

Outdoor spaces:

  • Density quotient outdoors of one person per 2 metre squared.
  • A cap of 50 patrons per venue outdoors subject to the density requirements.
  • The density quotient must be applied in all outdoor spaces in a venue.

Indoor spaces:

  • Density quotient indoors of one person per 4 metre squared.
  • Open with a cap of 10 persons per indoor space.
  • A cap of 20 patrons per venue indoors subject to the density requirements.
  • The density quotient must be applied in all indoor spaces in a venue.
  • The density quotient does not apply to toilets and where used as a thoroughfare to outdoor space (e.g. foyer, reception area).

Yes, so long as the umbrellas and sun shades cover less than half of the outdoor area. Items that create a partial or temporary roof or wall would generally have to cover less than half the total area in order not to significantly impede upward airflow in the area.

Under the Third Step, groups are limited to 10 patrons.

Under the Third Step, food and drink facilities can open for seated indoor and outdoor service (for food and/or drink):

  • Maximum 10 people per group, seated 1.5m from other groups (both within the venue and between patrons at adjacent venues).
  • Tables must be cleaned after every customer.
  • Cleaning, signage and record keeping requirements apply.
  • Businesses must take reasonable steps to ensure that customers booking with them live outside of metropolitan Melbourne. This includes checking identification and refusing services to people who reside in metropolitan Melbourne.
  • Businesses must keep a record of customer details, including the date and time the person attended these facilities. These records should be kept for 28 days.

For indoor space: Businesses can serve customers indoors. There is a cap of 10 persons per indoor space, for up to two spaces per venue (for a maximum of 20 patrons), subject to density requirements of one person per 4m2.

For outdoor space: Businesses can serve customers outdoors. There is a cap of 50 customers seated outdoors per venue, subject to density requirements of one person per 2m2.

Pop ups: Should temporary new permits or licences be sought for pop-up hospitality venues, a cap of 50 patrons subject to the density quotient will apply.

Food courts: remain open for takeaway and delivery only.

‘Outdoors’ means:

  • a space with no roof; or
  • an open-air space designated for the consumption of food and/or beverage, which may have a temporary or fixed cover (e.g. awning or roof) so long as such cover has at least two open sides to allow for airflow. The open sides must remain open at all times while customers are present.

“Roof” is defined as any structure or device (whether fixed or movable) that prevents or significantly impedes upward airflow, including a ceiling.

“Wall” is defined as any structure or device (whether fixed or movable) that prevents or significantly impedes lateral airflow, including a closed window or door.

A temporary or fixed cover is defined as any structure or device (whether fixed or movable) that prevents or significantly impedes upward airflow, including a ceiling, roof or awning.

Examples of outdoor areas include:

  • a balcony or veranda; courtyard
  • rooftop
  • marquee
  • street or footpath
  • any similar outdoor area.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support and the Industry Coordination Centre

The Business Victoria website and hotline provide information on restrictions and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Call Business Victoria on 13 22 15.