Many businesses will be required to take “reasonable steps” to prevent the unvaccinated from entering their premises. The NSW Government has announced new public health measures for business and individuals to come into force at the expected reopening date of Monday October 11 (when the 70% vaccination target is expected to be reached).
People aged 16 years and over will only be allowed entry into some venues or settings if fully vaccinated, along with people with exemptions. In some venues, children under 16 will have to be accompanied by a fully vaccinated member of their household to enter. This includes hospitality venues, non-critical retail stores, personal services, sporting, recreation and entertainment facilities and events. Critical retail such as supermarkets and pharmacies will still be accessible to those not fully vaccinated. There are several options to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or exemption.
Those businesses open only to the vaccinated are responsible for taking reasonable steps to prevent unvaccinated people entering their premises. For example, having prominent signs stating requirements, Service NSW QR codes, staff checking vaccination status upon entry and only accepting valid forms of evidence of vaccination, or medical exemption.
Authorised officers will monitor businesses re-opening, particularly those that have vaccination requirements, for example hospitality, retail, gyms, and personal services (e.g. hair, beauty).
Penalties may apply for individuals and businesses who don’t comply. On the spot fines of $1,000 may apply to individuals for not complying, or for using fraudulent evidence of vaccination or check-in. On the spot fines of $5,000 may apply to businesses for not complying with the Public Health Order vaccination requirements. Further penalties may apply for significant breaches.
Other rules for business:
- If a staff member tests positive, whether they are vaccinated or unvaccinated, they must self-isolate for 14 days and follow the advice from NSW Health. Businesses will refer to their COVID-19 Safety Plan and risk assessment approach for further instructions on notifying other staff.
- Businesses must inform NSW Health if three or more employees test positive for COVID-19 in a seven-day period.
- NSW Health guidelines will enable businesses to assess workplace risk if a COVID-19 case is identified and confirm actions to be taken.
- Businesses can reduce the risk of closure or staff going into isolation by implementing rigorous COVID-19 Safety Plans. Other proactive steps businesses can take include ensuring staff are vaccinated and implementing regular onsite testing programs for workers.