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Hygiene and cleaning FAQs
What are the most important things I can do to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) in my business?
Frequent cleaning, hand hygiene, ensuring clients and staff do not attend your premises when unwell, and physical distancing are the main measures that can protect against coronavirus (COVID-19).
How often should surfaces be cleaned?
Cleaning and sanitising common contact surfaces will help to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). This should be done every hour for high-touch surfaces. Surfaces and fittings should also be cleaned immediately when visibly soiled and after any spillage.
Common contact surfaces include:
- Benches and workstations
- Door and cupboard handles
- EFTPOS keypads
- Eating and drinking utensils
- Tables and chairs (including underneath)
- Kitchen and food contact surfaces.
Personal items used in the workplace such as phones should be cleaned and, ideally, 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.
How should surfaces be cleaned and disinfected?
You need to clean and disinfect surfaces; both steps are essential. The first step is cleaning, which means wiping dirt and germs off a surface. You can use common household detergent products for cleaning, they are stocked at supermarkets.
Cleaning alone does not kill germs. The next step is to disinfect the surface. Disinfection means using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. Again, supermarkets stock common household disinfection products – it is important to use products that are labelled “disinfectant” and to follow the instructions on the label. You can find more information at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/cleaning-and-disinfecting-reduce-covid-19-transmission.
The requirements outlined in this document are in addition to any existing requirements of your business detailed in the Infection prevention and control guidelines for hair, beauty, tattooing and skin penetration industries.
How often should staff be washing their hands or sanitising?
The most important measure is proper handwashing. To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, practice good hand hygiene before all contact with clients, and after any activity or contact that could result in hands becoming contaminated.
Hand washing should take at least 20 to 30 seconds. Wash the whole of each hand, covering all areas with soap before washing with water. If hand washing is not practical, alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% ethanol or 70% iso-propanol is recommended.
Staff must have access to appropriate handwashing facilities and must wash and dry their hands:
- On arrival at work
- Before touching a client
- Before performing a procedure
- After a procedure or exposure to body fluids/substances
- After touching a client
- After touching the environment around a client
- After handling used instruments and equipment
- Before and after setting up clean/sterile instruments to use for a procedure
- After smoking, coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose, eating or drinking, and using the toilet
- After touching hair, scalp, mouth, nose or ear canal
- After handling rubbish and other waste
- After handling money or bank cards
- Before and after cleaning
- Before and after removing gloves (if used).
How can I best maintain physical distancing with contractors such as delivery drivers?
Request delivery drivers and other contractors visiting the premises to limit 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.
I am a business or employee with questions about reopening, who can I contact?
Business Victoria is ready to support businesses and answer their questions about preparing for a safe reopening. For further information, please contact us on 13 22 15, or using the Contact Us form.
Floor plan and physical distancing FAQs
What does the four square metre rule mean?
To maintain physical distancing requirements, there must be enough space within the business premises that equates to one person per 4 square metre.
This is used to calculate the total number of clients you can have in your premises at any one time. The size of your premises may limit number of clients you can allow to enter at once. For example, if your business has an internal usable floor space of 20 square metres you can have a maximum of five clients in your premises at any one time.
The four square metre rule must be complied with in addition to the limit on having no more than 20 clients per premises.
Remember also the importance of ensuring people can stay 1.5 metres apart whenever possible, so clients and staff must not be grouped or clustered together.
The Department of Health and Human Services website provides information about monitoring compliance of the directions at: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/shopping-and-retail-restrictions-covid-19#what-is-the-four-square-metre-rule
Will the Victorian Government provide downloadable signage that I can put up at my business on physical distancing and expected staff and client behaviours?
Yes. Signage can be downloaded on our Beauty and Personal Care Facility Guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19) page.
Additional signage provided by the Victorian Government can be downloaded at www.health.gov.au/resources/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-campaign-resources
Staff and training - Employer FAQs
If a staff member is sick should they stay home?
Staff attending work while unwell creates a significant risk of coronavirus transmission. Staff should be directed to stay home if they are sick or go home immediately if they become unwell. Employers’ leave policies should be reviewed to ensure that staff do not attend work while unwell.
Any staff member showing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, however mild, should be asked not to come into work and/or sent home immediately. Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.
Employers should also implement a screening process by suggesting that staff complete the Staff coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Questionnaire before every shift (see Appendix of this document). If a staff member develops symptoms while at work, they should:
- immediately notify their supervisor or employer;
- leave the workplace, travelling by the least public means possible; and
- ring the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice on testing.
They must then stay home until symptoms have resolved, until it has been 72 hours since the last fever or chills, and until they have received a negative test result.
Staff should also be provided with appropriate wellbeing support.
Should my staff be temperature tested at work?
Staff should complete the Staff Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Questionnaire before every shift, which can include a temperature check.
Please advise your staff that if they take their temperature using a thermometer and it is 37.5 degrees or above, they are considered to have a fever and should not come to work.
Even if your staff have only mild symptoms like tiredness or a sore throat, they should attend a coronavirus (COVID-19) testing location. For a map of testing locations visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/getting-tested-coronavirus-covid-19
What plans do I need to have in place?
Have a plan in place should one of your staff members test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). For example, maintain accurate records of your work rosters to identify which staff have worked near each another during a shift.
If staff develop symptoms at work such as fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath they should leave work and seek medical advice and call the 24-hour coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398.
For more information on identifying the symptoms of coronavirus go to www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19.
If one of your staff does test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) treat their condition with understanding and compassion. Check in on their wellbeing regularly during self-isolation and monitor their mental health.
What do I do if a staff member or client tests positive for coronavirus?
All businesses should have a response plan ready for the possibility of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) at their premises.
If a client or staff member with a confirmed case has attended your business while they are infectious, you will be contacted by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Each business should then consider the following steps:
- Consult with DHHS who will direct on whether the business is required to close for a short period to facilitate deep cleaning and enable contact tracing.
- Determine what areas of the business were visited, used, or impacted by the infected person.
- Clean and disinfect all areas that were used by the confirmed case (for example, workstation, offices, bathrooms and common areas).
- Close off the affected area before cleaning and disinfecting.
- Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation and then commence cleaning and disinfection.
- Fully disinfect all areas of the site, paying particular attention to high touch areas. The business should remain closed until this is completed.
- DHHS will liaise with operators where someone has been at the business while infectious with coronavirus (COVID-19). DHHS may request information from the operator to assist with contact tracing. DHHS will contact anyone who is identified as a close contact of the case.
- Work with DHHS to ensure that all appropriate preventative measures have been taken prior to reopening the business.
- Any staff member who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) should remain in home isolation until they have been notified by DHHS that they have met the criteria for release. The staff member should follow DHHS guidance and their employer’s policy.
- Staff who are identified to be close contacts of a person with coronavirus (COVID-19) by DHHS should not come to work for 14 days after their last close contact and must self-isolate. During self-isolation, they should watch for symptoms and seek medical assessment and testing if they become symptomatic.
Please respect the privacy of people with a confirmed case of coronavirus and treat their condition with understanding and compassion. If a staff member is self-isolating, check on their wellbeing regularly and monitor their mental health.
Should I encourage staff to wear PPE?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should only be used where therapists were previously required to use masks and gloves to control for risks other than coronavirus infections.
You must follow the Infection prevention and control guidelines for hair, beauty, tattooing and skin penetration industries, and you must provide your staff with appropriate PPE as per these guidelines.
How can I minimise interactions between staff members during breaks or when transitioning into or out of work periods?
Businesses should help staff maintain physical distancing protocols during these times by:
- reviewing shift arrangements to create smaller teams and have each team work independently (known as cohorting).
- staggering or increasing the time between shifts or client appointments to eliminate bottlenecks and avoid intermingling between different teams.
- Using gaps between shifts for cleaning before new work teams or cohorts arrive.
- Spreading out staff break times to reduce the number of people using communal facilities at the same time.
- Removing excess chairs and tables from communal break areas to encourage staff to stay a minimum 1.5 metres from one another during break.
- Discouraging commuting and carpooling together.
If a staff member turns up to work with a temperature and is sent home, am I responsible for paying them for that shift?
Staff attending work when unwell creates a significant risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission. Staff should be directed to stay home if they are sick or to leave and go home as soon as they become unwell.
Employers’ leave policies should be reviewed to ensure that staff do not attend work while unwell.
Responsibility for payment will depend on how the staff is engaged (i.e. permanent or casual), the employer’s leave policies and any applicable workplace instrument such as an enterprise agreement or modern award.
Further information on coronavirus-related pay and leave entitlements can be found through the Fair Work Ombudsman at:
How can I best engage and consult with staff regarding coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Employers have an obligation to consult staff and Health and Safety Representatives on matters related to health and safety that directly affect or are likely to directly affect them.
Keep staff informed through regular briefings on coronavirus (COVID-19) with information from the Department of Health and Human Services website, including updates and reminders on risk control strategies, and communicating and enforcing coronavirus-related policies and procedures.
Distribute information from authoritative sources, such as WorkSafe and the Department of Health and Human Services, to increase staff’s awareness of the need for preventative measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
Consult staff on what control measures should be put in place to eliminate or minimise the risk of transmission and the adequacy of facilities, such as for handwashing, for staff and clients.
Ensure that your staff feel supported and heard. Take their views into account when making decisions, advise them of those decisions, and provide means for them to their raise concerns.
Also ensure that any consultation requirements under workplace instruments (such as an enterprise agreement or modern award) that apply to your business are observed.
For further help on how best to consult staff, refer to WorkSafe Victoria’s website.
Staff and Training - Staff FAQs
What personal protective equipment am I entitled to as a member of staff?
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should only be used where therapists were previously required to use masks and gloves to control for risks other than coronavirus infections.
Your employer must follow the Infection prevention and control guidelines for hair, beauty, tattooing and skin penetration industries, and you must be provided with appropriate PPE by your employer as per these guidelines.
Does my employer need to consult with me about safe work practices?
Employers must consult staff and Health and Safety Representatives (if any) on health and safety matters that directly, or indirectly affect them.
Employers should also:
- provide updated information to all staff, including staff who are on leave, contractors and casual workers, in a format they can easily understand (e.g. in their own language) and in multiple formats (e.g. email, posters and verbal)
- ensure there are contingency plans for replacing staff when necessary.
For further information on how your employer should consult with staff, visit WorkSafe Victoria’s website.
Am I entitled to additional paid leave if I have to self-isolate?
Responsibility for payment will depend on how you are engaged with the employer (i.e. as a permanent or casual staff), the employer’s leave policies and any applicable workplace instrument such as an enterprise agreement or modern award.
Recent changes made by the Fair Work Commission to many modern awards provide for up to two weeks unpaid pandemic leave and greater flexibility for annual leave for employees in many awards.
Further information on coronavirus-related pay and leave entitlements can be found at the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
What are my rights if I am concerned about safety at my workplace?
You have a legal right to a safe work environment and:
- be provided with adequate training;
- be familiar with relevant work policies;
- be consulted on issues that affect you; and
- know how, and with whom to raise concerns.
If the business you work for is not meeting its obligations as an employer under the OHS Act, you can contact WorkSafe Victoria’s advisory service on 1800 136 089.
You may also choose to contact your union if you require further assistance and/or guidance regarding your rights.
Clients, deliveries, contractors and visitors FAQs
I am a hairdresser that also supplies beauty services. Do I have to comply with this checklist, including the limit of 20 members of the public at the facility?
You do not need to comply with the 20-person limit at the premises, as this requirement has not applied to hairdressers to date.
However, other minimum conditions will continue to apply, such as maintaining the one person per four square metre rule, which depending on the indoor size of the premises may result in fewer than 20 people being able to be on site at any one time.
How can I encourage safe client behaviour?
Place signs at entry points stating that:
- Clients should not enter if they are unwell
- Only a limited number of clients are allowed to be in the premises according to the client limit or density quotient.
- Penalties may apply for clients not adhering to these limits or other directions issued by the Chief Health Officer
- Businesses have the right to refuse service or entry under these guidelines.
Can I offer clients refreshments during their treatment/appointment?
Businesses should consider suspending the serving of refreshments to clients during the coronavirus (COVID-19) period to avoid contamination of kitchenware. Encourage clients to bring their own refreshments.
What do I do if a client does not comply with hygiene practices?
If a client attending your business is in breach of the directions issued by the Chief Health Officer or is not cooperating, you have the right to refuse entry to clients or ask them to leave.
Am I able to take temperature checks to screen clients entering the premises?
Temperature checks for clients are not currently recommended. Temperature checks are only recommended in certain sensitive settings such as on entry to hospitals.
What information am I required to collect from clients?
You must request that each person (client, visitor or contractor such as maintenance worker) who attends provide their first name and a contact phone number.
You must keep a secure record of those details, the date and time at which the person attended the facility.
You are not required to view or record clients’ IDs to verify their information.
Do I need to disclose to clients that data will be retained?
Yes, there should be a collection notice displayed informing clients and other visitors of the requirement to record their contact details, the purpose for doing so and that records will be destroyed after 28 days.
How long do records need to be kept?
Keep the record for 28 days from the date the client or visitor attended your premises. This enables contact tracers to quickly make contact in the event that a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) is detected.
Securely destroy the record after 28 days from the date the individual attended. Note that this only applies to client records put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Other business records, such as those required by the Australian Taxation Office, should be retained under their normal statutory periods.
Businesses must take reasonable steps to protect clients’ personal information from being misused, interfered with and lost, as well as from unauthorised access, modification and disclosure.
What if a client or visitor does not want to give their details?
Explain the purpose for collection, which is to assist any contact tracing in the event of an outbreak or potential exposure to someone with coronavirus (COVID-19) at your premises and in order to protect the client and the health and safety of their family and friends.
If the client or visitor still declines to provide details after being given an explanation, they cannot be compelled to do so. You also have the right to refuse entry to clients or ask them to leave.
Clients concerned about the handling of their personal information can make a privacy complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
Do I need to keep electronic records or would written down (pen and paper) suffice?
Businesses can determine how to best securely record and store visitor details. A simple handwritten log or register will suffice. A template for recording visitor details can be found at www.business.vic.gov.au/disputes-disasters-and-succession-planning/coronavirus-covid-19/beauty-and-personal-care-facility-guidelines-for-coronavirus-covid-19
You must consider how to minimise the risk of transmission if staff and clients share the record-keeping materials – it is best if only one staff member per shift collect clients’ details. Regularly clean the pens used to write down contact details.
Records should be securely stored and information not used for any other purpose other than the reason for which it was collected, namely to trace in the event that a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) is detected.
Do I have to do an ID check to verify client and visitor details?
No. You should request and record each person’s first name and phone number along with the time and date they visited.
Do I have to get every single client and visitor’s details, or just one from each group?
The details of every person in the group should be requested.
What if the client or visitor does not have a phone number?
Invite the client to provide an email address instead or any other alternative means of contact to assist with contact tracing in the event of an outbreak or potential exposure.
Can I record visitor contact details from when they made a booking?
Records should reflect all the clients and visitors who attend your premises, not only those making the booking. Details from a booking or reservation can be used as long as the person actually attended at the time they booked for.
What do I need to do to comply with privacy regulations when collecting and keeping visitor details?
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner provides a guide on the reasonable steps you could take to protect the personal information you are collecting from clients and visitors. This includes steps to protect the information from misuse, interference and loss, as well as unauthorised access, modification or disclosure.
Am I allowed to collect data from clients who are under the age of 18?
Do I have to request client and visitor details each time they come in, even if they are regulars?
Yes. It is important to record both their first name, phone number and the time they attended.
Compliance and enforcement FAQs
Where can I find futher information
Business Victoria is ready to support Hairdressing, Beauty/Nail and Barbering businesses and answer their questions about preparing to safely reopen. For further information, please contact Business Victoria on 13 22 15, or using the Contact Us form.
How will you enforce compliance?
Victoria Police may conduct spot checks to ensure compliance with the directions of the Chief Health Officer.
What are the penalties for not complying?
Police can issue on the spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses for:
- refusing or failing to comply with the emergency directions;
- refusing or failing to comply with a public health risk power direction
- refusing or failing to comply with a direction by the Chief Health Officer to provide information.
Bigger fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for businesses are possible through the courts.