Skip to content


Retail Trade (Goods) sector guidance

Sector guidance for Retail Trade (Goods) 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

Business Operating Reductions - Retail

Stage One restrictions

What are the new restrictions for retail businesses?

From 11:59 pm on 13 September 2020 the following changes will need to be adopted by Melbourne retail businesses in areas under Step One restrictions.

Each retail business will:

  • May move to a contactless ‘click and collect’ and delivery service model that removes face-to-face interaction between staff and customers
  • enact a COVIDSafe Plan focused on safety, prevention and response if coronavirus cases are linked to their workplace
  • increase cleaning of shared spaces
  • enforce the wearing of face coverings by staff on site.

Retail businesses that implement click and collect must reduce the number of people in the workplace.

Employees will be:

  • prohibited from car-pooling to and from work
  • able to work at only one premises
  • required to inform their employer if they share accommodation with anyone working at another high-risk workplace.

Application

Do the restrictions apply to all retail businesses?

The restrictions apply to all retail businesses not listed as permitted work premises.

Reduced staffing requirement

What is the level of staffing for permitted retail businesses?

Retail businesses that remain open as they are permitted work premises, such as pharmacies and post offices, are not required to reduce their staff levels.

What is the level of staffing for closed retail businesses?

Retail businesses are allowed to implement click and collect but must not operate with more than 67 per cent of their daily peak and daily total workforce.

What is the definition of reduced operations requirements and peak capacity?

A daily peak workforce capacity is calculated by taking the average of the highest number of workers on site at any given time on each day over:

  • July 2020; or
  • any three-month sequential period in the last 12 months.

A daily total workforce capacity is calculated by taking the average of the total number of workers on site on each day over:

  • July 2020; or
  • any three-month sequential period in the last 12 months.

What is the definition of a worker?

Workers refers 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 undertaking emergency repairs and maintenance.

It does not include staff 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.

Documentation

What documentation is required?

Specified worksite operators will be required to declare in an attachment to their COVIDSafe Plan:

  • the location and nature of the activities undertaken at sites intended to continue restricted operations;
  • the peak workforce capacity levels calculated for each site and the time period used to establish these levels;
  • the restricted workforce levels proposed for each site during the restriction period calculated in compliance with the order; and
  • that the operator will retain and agrees to make available for inspection the business records and calculations used to establish the restricted workforce levels and demonstrate compliance with those restricted workforce levels through the period to which the restriction apply.

Compliance and enforcement

Government is introducing a specified worksite reporting regime supported by independent compliance reviews and site inspections. The process is being established to ensure the specified worksites comply with the intent of the order and can provide independently verifiable evidence of their compliance during and after the restriction period.

What documentation do I need to retain?

The COVIDSafe Plan and attachment (as specified above) must be retained and be available for inspection on request. It will not be otherwise be submitted to or endorsed by the Victorian Government.

Operators will also be required to retain and make available for inspection evidence of the peak workforce capacity level determined, including roster, time and attendance, payroll and other site attendance records.

Who will enforce these restrictions?

Authorised officers will be undertaking site inspections for workplaces subject to reduced operation requirements to ensure they are complying and have a complete High Risk COVIDSafe Plan.

How will compliance be monitored?

Site operators will be randomly selected for independent compliance review and asked to demonstrate compliance with the order. To facilitate these compliance reviews which will take place both during and after the Stage 4 restriction period, operators will be required to retain and make available for inspection site rosters, time and attendance data, payroll data and other site attendance records as requested.

Compliance reviews will be conducted by independent agents appointed by the Victorian Government for this purpose.

Frequently asked questions - metropolitan Melbourne

Updated on: 16 September 2020

Read below for commonly asked questions by businesses within the Retail Trade (Goods) sector. The following frequently asked questions apply to metropolitan Melbourne, which is currently at Step One of Victoria’s roadmap for reopening.

Car dealerships

No. Car dealerships and salesrooms are currently not open under Stage 4 restrictions. If you are buying a car through a private sale, you can only leave home if it is necessary to buy the car at this time (e.g. if you are a permitted worker and need the car to get to work).

Yes, subject to the sale being critical/essential and the sale being completed online or over the phone, and with contactless delivery (delivered to the premises). You cannot inspect vehicles at a dealership or complete the sale onsite.

Click and collect

Attendance on site at retail outlets is allowed for the purposes of fulfilling online orders, either through postage, delivery, or by a ‘click and collect’ service.

This means that any retail store can operate a contactless ‘click and collect’ service. However, this service can only operate for customers who live within a 5-kilometre radius for collection. Delivery provides an alternative.

Any retail store operating as delivery or click and collect only is essentially operating as a distribution centre. Therefore, they will only be able to use up to 67% percent of their normal workforce.

Contactless ‘click and collect’ is the process by which closed retail and food takeaway businesses provide on-site collection of goods that were purchased and paid-for beforehand.

The closed retail business may:

  • collect orders from customers that are within the five-kilometre radius of the collection address
  • collect payment before the customer arrives to collect items
  • provide the customer with a digital proof-of-purchase that includes a collection date and time
  • instruct staff in the use of contactless methods to verify proof-of-purchase (e.g. no exchanging of documentation or signature)
  • maintain a collection point that meets people density requirements, removes the need for face-to-face retail operations, and restricts customers from entering the premises to browse
  • provide customers with a contactless method for returns and exchanges.

Exemptions may be made for the following:

  • fitting items due to critical need (e.g. prescription glasses, hearing aids, etc.)
  • emergency medical and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • specialist services at telecommunications retail stores to support telecommunications as a critical service during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

You should not be travelling across town to pick up a click and collect order.

The only times you can travel further than 5km from your home for necessary goods or services, including for click-and-collect, are for health and medical goods or if the necessary good or service is not available within 5km. You should purchase goods from a supplier that is as close to home as possible.

Yes. A team member can enter a car park as part of the contactless click and collect service. They must wear a face covering and ensure they maintain at least 1.5 metres distance from other people. The customer should be encouraged to stay in their car.

Retail stores

Face-to-face retail operations that are not permitted for closed retail businesses in metropolitan Melbourne include:

  • sales activity conducted on premises
  • non-emergency consultation
  • trying on or testing items
  • collecting payment in person (e.g. cash, EFTPOS and credit card terminals)
  • returns and exchange of items.

No. Tobacconists are not fundamental to the critical supply chain. Tobacco products can be sourced from other retailers who are permitted to continue operating, such as convenience stores.

Telecommunications retail stores can continue to operate, but through ‘Click and Collect’ operations only. Specialist services at telecommunications retail stores are permitted to open by appointment for the purpose of supporting telecommunications as a critical service during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Employers should minimise any requirement for employees to move between different sites as this is one way that COVID-19 can be spread at work places.

An employee working at more than one site must keep a log of the places visited including date, time and place of attendance.

Only retail staff required to enable contactless click and collect or online delivery should be onsite. Unless area managers are required for this logistical function alternative arrangement should be made to avoid visits to multiple retail sites.

Any retail store operating as delivery or click and collect only is essentially operating as a distribution centre. Therefore, they will only be able to use up to 67% percent of their normal workforce.

No. While ancillary and support businesses are able to open on-site to ensure the sale of goods required for the operations of a Permitted Work Premises, that ancillary business must be necessary for the operation of the permitted industry. Brand and sales representatives and merchandisers are not necessary in order for the retail trade facilities to operate.

All Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) registered health professionals (such as audiologists, optometrists, occupational therapists and orthotists/prosthetists) may continue to operate to provide services that prevent a significant change/deterioration in functional independence that would result in more care being required.

Optometrists may continue to provide services that prevent a significant change/deterioration in functional independence that would result in more care being required.

Permitted activities onsite include essential repairs and services, and attendance necessary to fill online orders.

No. You can only travel up to 5km from your home to shop. You should stay as close to your home as possible, for example shopping at the nearest supermarket. For some people the nearest essential goods and services will be more than 5km away. In this situation you may travel beyond 5km to the nearest provider.

No, standalone lottery kiosks or lottery kiosks that are agents for dry cleaners or laundromats are not allowed to operate under Stage 4 restrictions.

Lottery terminals in newsagents or convenience stores may continue to operate.

Stage 4 restrictions aim to minimise the movement of people by allowing only essential activities to continue such as purchasing necessary goods. Grocery stores and convenience stores have been included as a permitted work premises on this basis, reflecting their role in the supply of essential goods in local communities.

Given that grocery stores and convenience stores have been permitted to operate for this specific purpose, they may only operate if their primary product range comprises essential goods such as food and personal care products.

Computer repair shops providing repair services are permitted as a ‘specialist service’ to support telecommunications and enable working from home. This should operate as ‘drop off and collect’ service to minimise face-to-face interaction.

Customers are permitted to seek urgent computer repairs within a 5km radius of their home. If this service is not within the 5km radius of the customer’s home, then can travel to the nearest provider if there is no closer option.

For the purposes of shopping, if you live in metropolitan Melbourne you can only travel up to 5km from your home. You should stay as close to your home as possible, for example shopping at the nearest supermarket.

Under the Third Step of Victoria’s reopening roadmap, you will be able to travel more than 5km from your home to go to a retailer of your choice.

The only exception to this is where the nearest essential goods and services provider is more than 5km away. In this situation you may travel beyond 5km to the nearest provider.

There are no restrictions for residents in regional Victoria traveling to retail outlets, though you should stay as close to home as possible.

For more information on restrictions under these steps, visit www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-restrictions-roadmaps

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.