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General business FAQs - Victoria

Frequently asked questions that apply to all businesses in Victoria during the Last Step.

COVIDSafe Summer — new restrictions apply from 11:59pm, Sunday 17 January 2021

From 11:59pm on Sunday 17 January face masks will no longer be mandatory in most public indoor settings.

  • Face masks continue to be mandatory in airports, hospitals, large retail stores over 2000 sqm, shopping centres, indoor markets, in taxis and rideshares, on public transport, and on domestic flights to and from Victoria.
  • You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to.
  • It is strongly recommended you wear one whenever you cannot keep 1.5 metres distance from others.

Find out more about COVIDSafe Summer restrictions.

These frequently asked questions apply to all businesses in Victoria. For frequently asked questions for specific sectors, go to our sector guidance main page.

Updated on: 8 January 2020

Frequently asked questions

How can I provide feedback on COVIDSafe Summer restrictions for industry?

The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions continues to consult with industry in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services public health team about changes to restrictions.

If you are an individual business, please contact your peak body or industry leaders for more information, or contact Business Victoria, or call 13 22 15.

Do the six COVIDSafe principles apply to workplaces during COVIDSafe Summer?

Yes. The six COVIDSafe principles apply to all Victorian workplaces. This includes recommendations on physical distancing, hygiene, record keeping and face masks.

Are labour hire workers restricted in how many worksites they go to each week?

Unless working in care facilities, hotel quarantine or high-risk hospitals (see Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions for a definition of a high-risk hospital), there is no requirement for workers to reduce work across work sites during COVIDSafe Summer. If someone is working for more than one employer in care facilities, hotel quarantine or high-risk hospitals, the worker must provide a written declaration to each employer to advise them that the worker is working at more than one work premises, and provide details of the other work premises to each employer. In addition, each employer must keep a record of all workers who have disclosed that they are working across more than one work premises. 

More information can be found at: Record keeping for contact tracing — information for business page.

The worker must comply with each employer’s COVIDSafe Plan for each work premises they attend. 

What is meant by 'workforce bubbles'? How do I put one in place?

Workforce bubbles limit the number of workers who come into contact with each other, by putting employees into groups and keeping those groups separate.

For example, this may include keeping groups of workers rostered on the same shifts and in the same areas of a worksite. You should ensure groups of workers do not overlap in shift changes where it is practical and safe to do so.

Can sole traders operate from a self-contained workplace during COVIDSafe Summer?

Yes. Sole traders can operate from a self-contained workplace during COVIDSafe Summer

Can businesses 'door-knock' for sales purposes?

Door-knocking is permitted during COVIDSafe Summer. It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask if you are entering someone’s home while door knocking.

Face masks must be worn in all public indoor spaces (other than private residences), apart from when eating and drinking, unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies. Face masks must be carried at all times and are strongly recommended to be worn in outdoor settings whenever physical distancing of 1.5 metres from others cannot be maintained. 

No one should conduct door knock sales or attend work if they have any coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms. They should get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) and stay home to wait at home for their results.

Are face masks required in the workplace? 

Yes. Face masks must be worn in all indoor spaces (other than private residences), on public transport, and in commercial passenger vehicles, apart from when eating and drinking or unless you have a lawful reason not to wear one. Face masks must be carried at all times and are strongly recommended to be worn in outdoor settings whenever physical distancing of 1.5 metres from others cannot be maintained.

For more information, visit our Face masks page.

Are face masks required in airports?

Yes. Face masks must be worn by both workers and members of public while in any public indoor space such as an airport, unless you have a lawful reason not to wear one.

Do I need to close my business if a worker tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

You must follow the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) advice for managing a confirmed case, if one of your workers tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). This may include closing part or all of your business premises. 

DHHS will contact you in the event of a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) case as part of contact tracing. 

Workers have an obligation to tell their employer if they test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) to help keep other workers safe. The employer must not disclose the identity of the worker unless they have permission from the person.

For more information, visit our Confirmed case in the workplace page.

If a worker is working from home and not attending the work premises, are they required to notify their employer if they test positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

No. Workers are only required to inform their employer if they attended the workplace 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms, or 48 hours prior to when they had the test if they never had symptoms (i.e. they were asymptomatic).

Are casual workers eligible for test isolation payments?

Yes. For more information about financial support for Victorian workers who are waiting for test results, visit: $450 coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Isolation Payment.

I have a concern about compliance with business and industry restrictions. How can I report it?

To report a suspected breach of Public Health Directions or COVIDSafe Summer restrictions, contact the Police Assistance Line on 131 444

Workers: Please contact WorkSafe on 1800 136 089 if you would like to discuss a matter specific to your place of work. 

Employers: For guidance and frequently asked questions for businesses with on-site operations during the restricted activity period, visit our sector guidance page. Please contact your industry regulator or peak body if you require support specific to your industry.

How can I best maintain physical distancing with contractors, such as delivery drivers?

Delivery drivers and other contractors visiting a premise should minimise interaction with workers. Use electronic paperwork and payments where possible and, instead of a signature, send a confirmation email or take a photo of the goods on-site as proof of delivery.

Do all transactions need to be cashless?

Cash can still be accepted as a form of payment, but it is strongly recommended that all businesses use contactless payments.

Where can I access signs and posters about current restrictions to display at my workplace?

For signage resources, visit our Signs, posters and templates for your workplace page

We are a diversified business with operations across several industries. Which set of industry restrictions do we follow? For example, an aged care business with a head office, retail stores, labour hire and health professionals.

Restrictions are determined by the primary function or use of each specific work premises. This may mean that a business operates under different restrictions at each different work premises. 

For a business that operates offices, retail stores, and health clinics, the head office will be governed by the 'offices' restrictions, the retail stores are subject to the 'retail industry' restrictions and the health clinics are subject to the 'healthcare and social assistance' industry restrictions.

When can workers who are working from home return to the worksite?

During COVIDSafe Summer, workers are encouraged to work from home if they can and employers should work with workers to support working from home. 

Office workplaces can allow a partial and optional return to the office for workers. 

Face masks must be worn in all public indoor spaces(other than private residences, including offices, apart from when eating and drinking or unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies. Face masks must be carried at all times and are strongly recommended to be worn in outdoor settings whenever physical distancing of 1.5 metres from others cannot be maintained.

I operate a business from my home. Am I subject to the same restrictions as other businesses in my industry?

Yes. You must have a COVIDSafe Plan in place, and the work space is subject to the density quotient and cleaning requirements as per other work settings. 

Face masks must be worn in all indoor spaces (other than private residences), apart from when eating and drinking or unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies.

Face masks must be carried at all times and are strongly recommended to be worn in outdoor settings whenever physical distancing of 1.5 metres from others cannot be maintained.

Face masks are strongly recommended in the home if people other than your immediate household are present.

Home-based businesses no longer require a discrete work area in order to operate, subject to the restrictions of their industry. 


What type of face masks should I provide for workers who do not have their own face mask?

Where the work or task requires the use of specific types of face masks in the workplace, or where face masks are mandatory, these must be provided by the employer. In all other circumstances, a fitted face mask that covers the nose and mouth should be provided.

A face mask with three layers is recommended by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer.

For more information, visit the Face masks and Types of face masks pages. 

Are COVIDSafe Plans required by all open work premises? 

All employers across Victoria require a COVIDSafe Plan to operate on-site.

The only exceptions to this requirement are:

  • businesses with no on-site operations (i.e. the entire workforce is working from home)
  • certain transport sector work vehicles.

Vehicles used as a place of work, such as a food truck or a dental van, need to have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Employers that operate transport services with two or more vehicles in a fleet (for example rideshare, taxis, public transport) need to have a COVIDSafe Plan for their business, but not an individual plan for each vehicle in their fleet. If an employer only controls one commercial passenger vehicle, then it must have a COVIDSafe Plan for that vehicle.

For employers that do not provide transport services, to achieve physical distancing, numbers should be limited to one person per vehicle per trip, where possible. If this is not possible, workers should use both the back and front seats in order to maintain physical distancing and wear a face mask in the car, unless they have a lawful reason not to.

Shared vehicles should be thoroughly cleaned after each passenger or driver.

For more information about cleaning and disinfecting to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) visit our Preventing infection in the workplace page.

Do I need to submit my COVIDSafe Plan?

Your COVIDSafe Plan must be available for inspection on request. You do not need to submit your COVIDSafe Plan or have it endorsed by the Victorian Government. You must produce this plan upon request by WorkSafe or other relevant authorities.

What should a business consider when reviewing their COVIDSafe Plan?

There are two main considerations for employers when reviewing COVIDSafe Plans for ongoing safe operation.

  • how their usual workplaces and operations are configured to ensure each worker has the necessary space (density quotient or limit) to perform their tasks
  • continuing to ensure workers work from home if they can.

A COVIDSafe Plan helps businesses to effectively apply the six principles of COVIDSafe workplaces:

  • ensure physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres
  • carry a face mask and wear it in mandatory settings
  • practise good hygiene
  • keep good records and act quickly if staff become unwell
  • avoid interactions in close spaces
  • create workforce bubbles.

Who is enforcing COVIDSafe Summer restrictions?

Authorised officers are undertaking site inspections to ensure employers are operating with a COVIDSafe Plan and are complying with the Six principles of COVIDSafe workplaces.

How is COVIDSafe Plan compliance being monitored?

Site operators are being selected for independent compliance review and asked to demonstrate compliance with the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s Directions. To facilitate these compliance reviews, operators are required to retain and make available for inspection their COVIDSafe Plans, project resourcing plans, site rosters, time and attendance data, payroll data and other site attendance records as requested by relevant authorities. 

All members of the community can report a suspected breach of public health restrictions, including isolation, a mass gathering or business breaches, by contacting the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 or reporting it online at Police Assistance Line and Online Reporting

What work premises require High Risk COVIDSafe Plans?

The requirement for certain industries to have a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan was removed on 22 November 2020. However, there are Additional Industry Obligations for some industries.

Businesses can continue to use an existing High Risk COVIDSafe Plan if they wish, or can adopt a standard COVIDSafe Plan. Please see the industry restrictions levels for more information on the requirements for your business. 

Is there infection control training available to help make my workplace safer?

Yes. Free, short, accredited training is available to help workers identify and manage the ongoing risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the workplace.

Completing free infection control training will help businesses prepare to safely reopen and ensure customers and the workforce is protected.

Can on-site occupational health and safety (OHS) training occur at work premises during COVIDSafe Summer?

OHS training should be conducted virtually from home where possible. Where training cannot reasonably be undertaken from home, it can be delivered on-site.

If training is delivered on-site, both trainers and trainees must wear a face mask if indoors, unless a lawful exemption applies. Face masks must be carried at all times. Face masks are strongly recommended to be worn in outdoor settings whenever physical distancing of 1.5 metres from others cannot be maintained.

What do the cleaning schedule audits involve?

Cleaning schedule audits should include daily checks of cleaning logs to ensure cleaning is completed.

Can I organise a work event (for example, work drinks or work party)?    

Yes. Work events can be organised, subject to public gathering limits. During COVIDSafe Summer, up to 100 people can gather outdoors from any number of households, or 15 people can gather at a person's household from any number of households.

Face masks must be worn in all indoor spaces (other than private residences), apart from when eating and drinking, or unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies. Face masks must be carried at all times and are strongly recommended to be worn in outdoor settings whenever physical distancing of 1.5 metres from others cannot be maintained.

During the event, practise good hygiene and wash your hands regularly. If you don’t feel well, don’t go to the event. Get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) and stay home while you wait for your results.

Events that meet the definition of ‘public events’ must adhere to the Public Events Framework. Public events include sporting events, festivals, fairs, parades, performances and trade shows. For more information visit our Public Events page. 

Can clients or visitors attend my workplace?

Clients or visitors can attend the workplace if the activity cannot be practically conducted virtually. 

If the attendance of the client or visitor is necessary to the operation of your business, it is recommended that their movement is limited within the workplace and their contact with workers is minimised.

Clients and visitors are required to follow the same COVIDSafe practices as your workers, including signing into and out of the workplace and practising physical distancing. 

Face masks must be worn in all indoor spaces (other than private residences), apart from when eating and drinking, unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies. Face masks must be carried at all times and are strongly recommended to be worn in outdoor settings whenever physical distancing of 1.5 metres from others cannot be maintained.

Can I attend my workplace on-site if I need access to specific equipment or technology, or if I have confidential documents or mail I need to access in a restricted area?

Workers can go on-site or attend the office if the task cannot be completed remotely, including if they need access to specific equipment, technology or information for work. 

Office workers can begin a partial, optional return to working in offices from 30 November 2020.

See the Office workplaces guidance page for further information.

Why should start, finish and break times be staggered?

Staggering start, finish and break times supports physical distancing of 1.5 metres in the workplace. It helps reduce the congregating of staff around entry and exit points, in busy walkways and in common areas (such as bathrooms and kitchens).

Your COVIDSafe Plan must include measures to ensure physical distancing.

For high-capacity buildings, this includes points of entry and exit and the use of elevators.

Staggering start and finish times also reduces risk when workers commute, by helping spread peak demand on public transport networks.

As a guide, it is recommended that high-capacity workplaces, like manufacturing facilities, have staggered start and finish times over one and a half to two hours. 

What cleaning is required for fabric chairs?

Venues should focus on frequently touched surfaces and should consider regular inspections of venue seating and undertake spot cleaning as and when required.

Chairs should be cleaned after each use. For fabric chairs, clean the surfaces of the item that can be wiped with a damp cloth.

For soft or porous surfaces like fabric or leather, seek advice from the manufacturer about what cleaning products can be used.

Where possible, it may be more effective to use a removable washable cover, or a disposable cover on chairs. Disinfectant is not suitable on fabric surfaces as it only works with extended contact time with the surface.

For more information visit the Cleaning and disinfection page. 

I run a mobile business that provides services inside private residences. What restrictions must I adhere to?

Businesses that visit private residences must:

  • have a COVIDSafe Plan that provides for visits to other premises, including keeping records of appointments and locations visited for 28 days
  • not have workers attend if a client or the people they live with are unwell, or if workers are unwell
  • where possible, provide services in a separate space to where other occupants of that private residence are, or request that other occupants leave while services are provided
  • provide services remotely when there is no need to be at the private residence
  • provide the services outdoors, where possible and safe to do so
  • follow the six COVIDSafe principles.

Reviewed 19 January 2021

Coronavirus Victoria

Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support and the Industry Coordination Centre

The Business Victoria hotline provides information on restrictions and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Call Business Victoria on 13 22 15

Contact Business Victoria

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If you suspect you may have coronavirus (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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