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What do I need to do to reopen my business?

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Feeling overwhelmed?

This is a very tough time and it’s understandable if you are experiencing stress and anxiety as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and the impact it has had on your business.

It’s really important to look after yourself right now. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and getting enough sleep is a good start, but sometimes you need more support.

The good news is there is help available if you need it.

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It’s OK to not be OK

We know that small businesses are under enormous pressure in this rapidly changing environment.

If you aren’t sleeping, struggling to concentrate or are seeing other signs of anxiety or depression, Beyond Blue has a dedicated COVID-19 Mental Health Support Service including online resources.

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Struggling to cope?

Feelings of anxiety are a natural response to a period of uncertainty, like what we are experiencing now in this global pandemic.

It’s really important to be conscious of how you are feeling and to take care of yourself because your business depends on it.

This can be as simple as soaking up some sunshine in your backyard. Beyond Blue has developed good advice for coping amid COVID-19 with a dedicated Mental Health Support Service including online resources.

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Take this 5-min check-up

If you feel like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders, this 5 minute check-up developed by Ahead for Business can give you the tools you need to manage your stress levels.

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This is really tough, right?

At times, you may need help from professionals to work through concerns you have, whether they relate to anxiety you may be experiencing due to COVID-19 or the impact this health crisis is having on your business.

Beyond Blue has a dedicated COVID-19 Mental Health Support Service including online resources.

Find out more

Trouble sleeping?

We are living through extraordinary times and sole traders are facing huge challenges.

If you’re struggling to sleep, that can be an indicator that some of the worries you have are getting on top of you. Your business needs you, so seek some help if you need it.

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What do I need to do to reopen my business?

Check restrictions for your business

Restrictions on businesses are being lifted gradually. It is up to each state and territory to decide when and how far to relax the restrictions so it's important to keep up-to-date with current restictions in place for your industry. The following restrictions apply:

New South Wales

Tasmania

Queensland

Victoria

Northern Territory

South Australia

Australian Capital Territory

Western Australia

Create a COVID-Safe Plan

COVID‑19 will be with us for some time, so it’s important that your business has a plan - and continues to plan - to keep your workplace healthy, safe and virus-free.

The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission has developed an online planning tool to help businesses reopen and be COVID safe.

There are templates and guidelines available through your relevant state or territory to create a COVID Safe Plan. 

South Australia

South Australian businesses on the 'Defined public activities' list must have a COVID Safe Plan in place. To create your COVID Safe Plan, fill out the form, print it out and make it available at your premises.

Tasmania

Business that are reopening are expected to have a safety plan in place. Businesses that have continued to operate should prepare a safety plan by 15 June 2020. Most businesses that have continued to operate will likely be able to demonstrate that they meet the minimum standards in the measures they have already applied.

COVID-19 Safety Plan templates are available through WorkSafe Tasmania and should be kept at your premises, you do not need to submit them to WorkSafe.

Business Tasmania has developed a video to help you navigate the process of developing your COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Northern Territory

Nothern Territory businesses must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place to show how you will meet your requirements around the key principles of physical distancing and hygiene practices.

Businesses are required to complete an online COVID-19 Safety Plan checklist relevant to your business or organisation. If your business or organisation has multiple locations, you must apply for each premises.

Western Australia

Businesses need to ensure there is a COVID Safety Plan in place prior to reopening. Tailored templates have been developed for food businesses and licensed premises, sport and recreation, beauty and person care services.

Businesses must display a COVID Safety Plan Certificate (which is included in the plan template) in a visible location on the premises.

Queensland

From 1 June 2020, some businesses were able to start offering services to a larger number of customers if they are following an approved industry COVID Safe plan.

Industry COVID Safe plans are developed by an industry peak body or representative group for businesses within that industry to follow. The plan must clearly outline how businesses will operate and must satisfy Queensland's Chief Health Officer.

Individual businesses within an industry do not need to develop their own COVID Safe plan if they are following an industry COVID Safe plan.

Industries that are eligible to develop an industry COVID Safe plan include (but are not limited to):

  • fitness (e.g. gyms, health clubs and yoga studios)
  • hospitality (e.g. restaurants and cafes, pubs, clubs and hotels)
  • tourism experiences (e.g. charter fishing boats and 4WD experiences).

An industry COVID Safe plan guide has been created to help you develop your plan and understand what health authorities will be looking for when assessing your plan. There is no official template for the plan – you can determine the format while following the information in the guide.

In some limited cases, you can develop a site-specific plan if your business is larger in scale.

All completed industry COVID Safe plans must be submitted to Queensland Health for approval. Email your completed plan to COVID-19.Industryplans@health.qld.gov.au.

Approved industry COVID Safe plans will be published on the Queensland Government's COVID-19 website. Businesses can opt into an industry COVID Safe plan.

New South Wales

The NSW government has developed templates for specific industries. If your business doesn't fit within one of the specific industries, it is still recommended you have a plan to protect your staff, workers, customers and visitors. You can either use the general template or develop your own plan.

Once you have completed your COVID-19 Safety Plan, you can register your business as COVID Safe.

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT government has developed guidelines for businesses that need to create a COVID Safety Plan.

The following businesses need to have a COVID Safety Plan in place:

  • Restaurants and cafes offering dine-in services
  • Gyms, health clubs, fitness or wellness centres
  • Yoga, barre, pilates, spin facilities
  • Swimming pools
  • Boot camps and personal trainers
  • Personal services (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, nail salons, tattoo or body modification studios, day spas, and non therapeutic massage services)
  • Organisers of weddings and funerals
  • Auction houses
  • Real estate agencies conducting open home inspections or auctions
  • Libraries
  • Galleries, museums, national institutions
  • Outdoor amusement parks
  • Concert venues

The COVID Safety Plan must be in writing and available to be produced on request by compliance and enforcement officers, but it does not need to be submitted for approval.

Victoria

The Victorian government has released guidelines for the hospitality industry, beauty and personal care facilities and the tourism industry to help businesses reopen.

Download the COVIDSafe app

While the use of the COVIDSafe app is voluntary, all Australians are encouraged to download it to support contact tracing if required.

Small businesses should make staff aware of the app and the benefits, but cannot exclude them if they don't download the app.

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Talk to your trusted adviser

It is very important to talk to your trusted advisor about the health of your business, particularly the viability of your business once the government stimulus measures cease.

Display posters and signage

Safe Work Australia has developed COVID-19 posters and signage for businesses to print and display to show your customers and employees what actions you are taking to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The following states and territories have made branded posters and signage available:

New South Wales

Queensland

Tasmania

Australian Capital Territory

Northern Territory

South Australia

Victoria

Keep your workplace safe

Safe Work Australia has developed a number of checklists and fact sheets to help businesses keep workplaces, staff and customers safe during COVID-19 including:

How to keep workers safe

Workplace checklist

Working from home guide

Physical distancing checklist

Cleaning checklist

How to clean your workplace guide

Health, hygiene and facilities checklist

Collect customer data

To reopen, some businesses may be required to collect and store customer, employee and contractor information to assist with contact tracing if required.

GuestTrack is a free brower-based application to help businesses collect and store data of customers entering their premises. The app requires businesses to print out a QR code with guest instructions for your business and display it at the entrance or on each table. Visitors will need to scan the QR code and enter their contact details. The information collected and stored must comply with privacy laws and time limits. 

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Apply for grants

Some state and territory governments will make grants available to help small businesses affected by COVID-19 to get back on their feet.

New South Wales

Small businesses are able to apply for funding up to $3,000 to cover marketing and advertising expenses, make fit-out changes and train staff to in how to work safely under the current COVID-19 restrictions. Applications close on 16 August 2020.

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Western Australia

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is calling for expressions of interest under the new GroundSwell Program, from organisations to run entrepreneurial and technology programs in one or more of WA's nine regions. Grants of up to $200,000 are available to support regions to create jobs and build globally competitive and diverse industries.

You can apply online. Applications close on 10 August 2020.

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