Venues urged to start taking steps to be able to re-open safely

01 May, 2020 by Andy Young

Businesses, including pubs, bars and restaurants, are being urged to start planning how they can re-open and operate safely, once they are given the green light by the Government.

Speaking on Channel 7’s Sunrise this morning, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said businesses need to work towards having a COVID-safe workplace, and should start working on their re-opening action plan.

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“We know the virus will still be with us, but if we can control the spread of the virus then we can re-start the economy,” the Minister said.

“So businesses need to examine ‘what industry am I in?’ ‘what are the restrictions that are still going to be in place in my particular workplace?’ and ‘do I have that action plan, that set of best practice principals ready to go, so when I am given the green light, I can open my doors, and Australians can come back to me with confidence, knowing I have a COVID-safe workplace.’”

She added: “Each workplace needs to look at its individual circumstances in terms of how those new restrictions will apply in what will be the new normal environment we live in.

“If you look at the recent announcement by Wes Lambert of Restaurant & Catering, they have put in place a set of best practice principles based on the steps they need to take as the restaurant industry.

“You need to be sure that when you are given that green light and we are re-starting Australia, you are ready to go so we can all have confidence in our workplaces regardless of where we work.”

Suggestions for creating that COVID-safe workplace include limiting the number of people allowed in your venue, using floor markings and regularly cleaning door handles, buttons and hand-rails – all areas that are frequently touched and which have been recognised as high-risk coronavirus transmitters.

The other key message for the Government and health officials is to download the COVIDSafe app, and it has been suggested venues should encourage all patrons to download the app, as part of creating a safe environment.

The news comes as the Northern Territory has said it will begin easing restrictions for venues in two weeks. The Territory has gone three consecutive weeks with no new cases of COVID-19, and now has just four active cases.

South Australia’s Premier Steven Marshall has said that the state has just recorded its eighth consecutive day with no new cases. The state now has just 14 active cases and while Marshall said he hoped that SA would be able now eliminate rather than simply suppress COVID-19, he did not give any indication when restrictions may be lifted.

Queensland has now gone four days with no new cases and there are zero active cases of the virus in the ACT, so it is hoped governments will start looking at how they ease restrictions.

As TheShout reported on Wednesday though, the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy said that the pathway to venues re-opening was the successful easing of other restrictions not causing large community outbreaks.

National Liquor News reported yesterday that while restrictions are being eased in Western Australia, retailers are remaining vigilant, while AHA National CEO Stephen Ferguson told Australian Hotelier that the association is working on how the industry will look on the other side of the shutdown.