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Information for business and industry for metropolitan Melbourne

Frequently asked questions for all businesses during the restricted activity period.

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  • Frequently asked questions

Read below for general frequently asked questions that applies to all businesses in metropolitan Melbourne. For frequently asked questions for specific sectors go to our Sector guidance main page.

Go to our Creating a COVIDSafe Workplace for further information about producing a COVIDSafe Plan.

Frequently asked questions

What is the coronavirus (COVID-19) reopening Roadmap for industry?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) reopening roadmap is the overarching plan to reopen Victorian businesses and industry as we continue to manage the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and keep people safe.

Each step of the Roadmap outlines the restriction levels that will apply to industries, businesses and workplaces during that step.

It also includes the “trigger points”, which are a point for review by our public health team to consider any potential changes to the restrictions, based on case numbers, testing numbers and other factors. Public health advice is also provided at each step.

More information is available on the Victorian Government website.

Can my business open?

As Victoria begins its path towards a COVID normal, there will be an easing of restrictions and changes to how permitted businesses can operate. To find out if your business can operate under the current restriction levels, please visit:

My business is closed under the current restrictions – do I need a COVIDSafe Plan to re-open?

Businesses that remain closed under the current restrictions do not need a COVIDSafe Plan, however a plan will be required to reopen. Businesses are encouraged to start developing their plans now, in preparation for a safe opening when in line with Victoria’s roadmap for reopening. To find out when your business will be required to open visit:

Under which restriction levels do the six COVIDSafe principles apply to workplaces?

The six COVIDSafe principles apply to all Victorian workplaces across each step of the reopening roadmap. This includes the wearing of face coverings, physical distancing, practising good hygiene and keeping good records to assist dealing with cases of coronavirus (COVID-19).

How much time will we be given to reopen our business?

The Roadmap is the overarching plan to reopen Victorian businesses and industry. Each Step of the Roadmap outlines the “trigger point” for review, based on the case number and transmission rates, and public health advice, that must be met before the next Step is enacted, and the restrictions on industries and businesses can be eased.

The Victorian Government has taken the advice of health authorities and industry in building the Roadmap. We will regularly communicate progress towards each Step of reopening and eased restrictions. Where the Chief Health Officer believes a proposed transition date may be required to change, we will alert business and industry as soon as is practical.

Will worker permits still be required in metropolitan Melbourne as restrictions are eased?

Yes. Worker permits will be required in metropolitan Melbourne under the First and Second Steps of the Roadmap for reopening.

My place of work (permanently or temporarily) is in regional Victoria and I live in Melbourne. The work I do is considered permitted. Can I travel from metropolitan Melbourne to a regional area for this work? This includes contract jobs and visiting clients.

Yes, if you are already employed and provided that the work you are doing is classified as permitted. You must have a valid Worker Permit in order to travel to regional Victoria.

Your COVIDSafe Plan should recognise that while working in regional Victoria, you must operate to the current restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne. This means that if a permitted worker travels into regional Victoria for work – their restrictions travel with them. For example, a permitted worker who has travelled from metropolitan Melbourne to work can’t visit a restaurant, have a beauty treatment or access any service that isn’t currently available in metropolitan Melbourne.

What if I have a question about Victoria’s Roadmap for reopening?

More information is available on the Victorian Government website.

How do I know which step of the recovery roadmap is relevant to my business?

You can find more information about the specific business restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria at each Step of the reopening roadmap:

When will I get more information about what restrictions mean specifically for my business?

The Roadmaps for metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria provide an overview of the restrictions that apply to various businesses in each step of the pathway to reopening.

For more information visit:

We are working with industry bodies to clarify in greater detail what restrictions mean for each industry. If you are a business owner, please reach out to your peak body and industry leaders for more information. You can also call the Business Victoria Hotline on 13 22

What is meant by 'workforce bubbles', and what can my business do with one in place?

Workforce bubbles limit the number of workers who come into contact with each other, by putting employees into groups and keeping those groups largely separate.

For example, this may include keeping pools of staff rostered on the same shifts and areas of a worksite and ensuring no overlap in shift changes where it is practicable and safe to do so.

Employers must not allow staff to work across multiple sites unless an exception applies.

Workers are required to declare to their employers when they are working at another site.

Is carpooling still prohibited in metropolitan Melbourne?

You must not carpool to and from work with a person with whom you do not ordinarily live with, unless it is not otherwise reasonable and practical for either person to get to work (e.g. you don’t have a license or access to a car). These arrangements will continue under the First and Second Steps of the Roadmap from 11.59pm on Sunday 13 September.

Where possible, other arrangements, such as getting driven to and from work by another household member, should be made.

Carrying passengers in your car should be avoided where possible, unless they live in your household. The enclosed space of a car presents a heightened risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

I work alone in my workplace. Can I attend work when the restrictions ease?

Sole traders operate under the rules for their industry. For information about your specific industry and the rules related to it, visit Vic.gov.au.

The six COVIDSafe principles for business include ‘wear a face covering’. Does this apply to people who have received an exemption from wearing a mask?

No.

Are funerals and wedding arrangement going to change in the First or Second step?

No, attendance limits for funerals and weddings will only change from the Third Step. For more information visit the Victorian Government website.

Can I use taxi or rideshare services? Can friends or family travel in the vehicle with me?

Yes, but only for one of the permitted reasons under the current restrictions in your area. You must wear a face covering. Where possible, maintain physical distancing by sitting in the back seat, and wash or sanitise your hands before and after getting in the vehicle.

Where possible, carrying passengers in your car should be avoided, unless they live in your household. The enclosed space of a car presents a heightened risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

My business is not on the permitted list. When can I access the premises to prepare for reopening?

If your business is closed under First Step or Second Step restrictions, you can only visit:

  • to ensure the premises are 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.

If your business is reopening in the Third Step, you cannot visit before the start of the Third Step to prepare for reopening.

What additional funding and supports will be available to help businesses respond to these COVIDSafe restrictions?

The Victorian Government will continue to support businesses through the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

To support businesses impacted by these restrictions, one-off grants for eligible businesses are available under the Business Support Fund – Expansion program. For more information on eligibility, business mentoring or mental health support initiatives for business owners and sole traders, visit the Business Victoria website.

Please continue to monitor the Business Victoria website and subscribe to the Small Business Victoria Update Newsletter to stay informed.

Are staff able to attend a closed work premises to perform essential services during the curfew period in the First Step?

Yes, if they are a permitted worker. A person is permitted to leave their premises between 9.00pm and 5.00am during Step One, if it is for work purposes and they have a permit.

Does an employee require a Permitted Worker Permit if they are attending the workplace at short notice for an emergency?

No. If an employee is required to work on-site at the work premises on short notice, and it’s impractical for them to receive a Permitted Worker Permit before doing so, then they may travel to work and enter the premises without one.

In these circumstances, the employee must either carry a Permitted Worker Permit (which is either incomplete or applies to another time period) so that the employee’s Permitted Employer can be contacted to verify that the employee is required.

Should businesses extend the dates on the current Permitted Worker Permit document to the end of the First Step? When will worker permit templates be updated to reflect extended restrictions?

If an employer has issued a Permitted Worker Permit with an end date beyond 13 September 2020, they do not need to reissue a Permitted Worker Permit.

Employers can edit and add to the dates on an existing Permitted Worker Permit if they wish, or they can issue a new permit.

For an employee who works the same or fixed hours each week, the end-date on an existing permit can be removed. This ensures the permit remains valid should there be any change in the duration of restriction periods.

For an employee who works irregular hours each week, the permit must list the specific dates on which they are rostered.

Employers issuing new permits to workers should use the latest permit form available on the DHHS website.

A new childcare permit does not need to be issued for permitted workers (remote or on-site) who have current childcare permits.

Can my restaurant remain open after curfew in metropolitan Melbourne?

Takeaway may operate for customers who are permitted workers and who are travelling to or from work after curfew.

Delivery drivers are permitted workers. Food and meals can be delivered at any time, including after the curfew of 9pm during the First Step.

Outlets operating takeaway during curfew must ensure there is clear signage indicating that takeaway is only available for permitted workers, but will not be required to verify that a customer is a permitted worker.

When can residential solar installations begin?

Solar panels can be installed at construction sites, including a residential renovation where the property is fully vacated, provided specialist contractors adhere to the worksite’s COVIDSafe Plan and are included in the daily workforce caps.

Solar panels cannot be installed on existing residential or commercial properties under the First Step and Second Step, unless the property at which the installation is taking place is considered a construction site. However, critical repairs to solar panels can be made where required in an emergency or for safety reasons.

What is the definition of a worker?

Workers refer to people working on a site including, but not limited to, owners, managers, employees, contractors, workers on labour hire and security.

It does not include workers specifically dedicated to oversight of COVIDSafe functions in the workplace e.g. workers doing additional cleaning of high-touch points or overseeing the implementation of COVIDSafe practices.

Workers do not include suppliers and deliveries (e.g. concrete testers and the like) who are only present onsite for a short period of time and these do not count towards the daily worker limits.

Under First Step, are our customers allowed to leave home / travel to access our services?

People who live in the Melbourne metropolitan area are required to stay at home and can only leave home for four reasons between 5am – 9pm each day:

  • to shop for food and essential goods or services
  • to provide care, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
  • to exercise
  • for permitted work.

They may also leave their home in an emergency or if required by law.

If you are an essential service, people in metropolitan Melbourne can travel to access your services. However, we are asking them to travel within 5kms of their home to access services. If they cannot access those services within 5kms then they need to only travel as far as necessary.

We deliver essential services in a permitted industry that involve our employees visiting multiple client sites through the week. Under the First Step, is there a limit to the number of client sites we can visit?

In order to limit the risk, an employer must not require or permit a worker to perform work at more than one Work Premises of the employer. Where this is not reasonably practical (e.g. social care workers), the employer must be able to demonstrate that they have systems and processes in place to minimise the number of workers working across multiple sites. If working for more than one employer, the employee must also provide written details of the other work premises they are attending to assist with contract tracing.

Note that specialist contractors servicing the construction industry are only able to move between up to three construction sites per week.

My business is closed under the First Step – can I visit the premises for administration or maintenance purposes?

If your business is closed under Step One, you can only visit to:

  • ensure the facility is safely closed
  • support employees who are working from home (i.e. organising I.T. equipment to be delivered to their home)
  • address an emergency or otherwise required by law.

Emergency maintenance is also permitted.

I’m a permitted worker. Will my normal car park be open?

Car parks that support permitted workers and permitted businesses can remain open. Check with the relevant operator to see if they remain open.

Can maintenance occur under the First Step?

Only urgent and emergency maintenance can be carried out under the First Step across all residential accommodation. All other maintenance work should be deferred during the First Step.

Can I travel to my workplace or business for general maintenance or to collect/drop off deliveries?

No. If your workplace is closed under the First Step (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.

For more information on permitted workplaces visit the DHHS website.

Are commercial cleaners allowed to operate under the First Step?

Yes, commercial cleaners can continue to operate where the cleaning services are required for the operations of a Permitted Work Premises, or for a Closed Work Premises where there are safety or environmental obligations. Furthermore, any cleaning service that relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) health response is considered Permitted Work Premises under the current health directions and are allowed to operate.

Can supervisors and/or managers for permitted workplaces move between sites?

The First Step is designed to limit movement as much as possible. Workers, including supervisors and managers, must not work at more than one site unless it is not reasonable and practical for the supervisor/manager to be limited to only one work site.

If there is a genuine reason why the supervisor/manager cannot be limited to one site, the employer must have systems of work in place to minimise the number of workers working across multiple sites, and maintain a record of all workers who do so.

For small-scale construction, supervisors can move between sites and specialist contractors can move between up to three sites per week. These arrangements must be recorded in, and observe the requirements of, the High Risk COVIDSafe plan at each site.

For more guidance on small-scale construction sites, please see the relevant section of the Business Victoria website.

Are workers for labour hire companies restricted to the number of work sites they go to each week?

Workers can only work at one site, unless it is not reasonable and practical to do so.

Workers who are  working at more than one site must keep a log of the sites visited, including date, time and place of attendance. Workers must comply with their employer’s COVIDSafe Plan.

Go to our Creating a COVIDSafe Workplace for more information.

Is there training in infection control to make my workplace safer?

Yes. Free, short, accredited training is available to help staff identify and manage the ongoing risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the workplace. Free infection control training will help businesses prepare to safely reopen and ensure their customers and workforce are protected.


Go to our Creating a COVIDSafe Workplace for more information.

Back to Sector guidance main page.

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.