vic_logo
coronavirus.vic.gov.au

General business FAQs - Victoria

Frequently asked questions that apply to all businesses in Victoria during COVIDSafe Settings.

Victoria to further relax COVIDSafe Settings

The Victorian Government has announced a further easing of COVIDSafe settings from 11.59pm Friday 9 April.

For more information, see the statement from the Minister for Health.

 

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

Frequently asked questions - COVIDSafe Settings

Last updated: 20 April 2021

What are the current face mask requirements?

You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to.

Face masks continue to be mandatory in some locations, unless a lawful reason not to wear one applies.

For a full list of settings where masks continue to be mandatory, see: Face masks.

Is electronic record keeping mandatory for my workplace?

From Friday 26 March 2021 most customer-facing venues and facilities are required to use the free Victorian Government QR Service or a Victorian Government API (Application Programming Interface) linked digital system for electronic record keeping. A 28-day compliance amnesty applies until 6.00pm Friday 23 April 2021.  

Supermarkets, markets, retail and shopping centres are highly recommended to use either of these record keeping options, but it is not mandatory for these businesses.

See the complete list of businesses required to use electronic record keeping. Workplaces which are not included on this list and which are not included in the Restricted Activity Directions are still subject to the record keeping requirements in the Workplace Directions. This means that record keeping is required in these settings, but electronic record keeping is not mandatory (meaning the record keeping can be paper-based). 

All businesses are encouraged to use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service or the Victorian Government API (Application Programming Interface) to keep records.

What is the density quotient , and does it include workers or only members of the public?

To make sure we stay safe and stay open, limits apply to the number of people who can be in a space at the same time.

The density quotient (also known as the two and four square metre rules) limits the number of people gathering in a space at the same time. 

The density quotient applies in all shared spaces and in all publicly accessible spaces. 

Shared spaces are not accessible to the public, but can be used by multiple workers, such as lunchrooms. In shared spaces, only workers are included in the density quotient. 

In publicly accessible spaces, members of public are always included in the density quotient. Where workers tend to engage in the same activities and occupy the same space as members of the public, workers are included in the density quotient. This includes places such as physical recreation facilities, retail stores and hairdressing salons. 

Workers are not included in the density quotient if they occupy publicly accessible spaces only for a short amount of time or spend most of their time in separate (non-publicly accessible) spaces. For example, waiters moving in and out of a dining area at a restaurant are not included in the density quotient. 

Further information on the settings where workers are (or are not) included in the density quotient in publicly accessible spaces is available at Two and four square metre rules.

Whether the two or four square metre rule applies depends on the setting.

For example, from 6.00pm Friday 26 March 2021, the two square metre rule (or density quotient of one person per two square metres) applies in many settings, with the exception of unstaffed strength and training facilities (where the four square metre rule applies). 

Find out more information about density quotients, including examples of how to calculate the relevant density quotient.

What is the density quotient and how do I apply it to my workplace?

To make sure we stay safe and stay open, restrictions apply on the number of people who can be in a venue or facility at the same time. 

From 6.00pm on Friday 26 March 2021, the density quotient of one person per two square metres applies in all settings except for unstaffed strength and training facilities where a density quotient of one person per four square metres applies.

The density quotient of one person per two square metres is calculated by dividing the size of the room by two. This means that a room of 20 square metres can have ten people. If the space is publicly accessible, then the density quotient includes customers in addition to workers. 

Find out more information about density quotients.

I am providing exclusive use of my venue to a single school, does the density quotient still apply?

The following facilities are not required to comply with the density quotient if providing an exclusive venue for the exclusive use of a single school at any one time for educational or school gathering purposes: 

  • community facilities
  • entertainment facilities (indoors and outdoors)
  • food and drink facilities (excluding food courts)
  • creative art facilities
  • dance floors
  • physical recreational facilities (indoors and outdoors).   

If parents or friends of students/staff (or any other visitors) are in attendance, then the density quotient will then will apply. 

The private gathering limits do not apply in areas of an accommodation facility which are being exclusively used by one or more schools for educational purposes (for example, a school camp).

How many people are allowed on a dance floor?

From 6:00pm on Friday 26 March 2021, there is no cap on the number of people permitted on a dance floor, but the density quotient relevant to the venue applies.

Dance floors must adhere to the venue’s restrictions, such as density limits and electronic record keeping requirements. 

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

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

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

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

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 currently restricted in how many worksites they go to each week?

Unless working in care facilities, hotel quarantine or high-risk hospitals (visit 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 Settings.

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 advised that they are working across more than one work premise. 

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

The worker must comply with each employer’s COVIDSafe Plan for each work premise 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 them 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.

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

You must follow the Department of Health advice for managing a confirmed case if one of your workers tests positive for COVID-19. This may include closing part or all of your business premises. The Department of Health will contact you in the event of a positive COVID-19 case as part of contact tracing. 

Workers have an obligation to tell their employer if they test positive for 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 Confirmed case in the workplace.

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 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 COVID-19 test results, visit: $450 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 Settings 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, visit sector guidance. Contact your industry regulator or peak body if you require support specific to your industry.

How can I 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 recommended that all businesses use contactless payments whenever possible.
Handling of cash is safest when:

  • hand hygiene is performed after handling
  • the touching of faces and/or masks is avoided – if faces and/or masks must be touched at any time then hand hygiene should be performed both before and after touching.

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

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

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.

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, face mask and cleaning requirements as per other work settings. 

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

Face masks continue to be mandatory in some settings. For more information visit the Face masks

There are a number of lawful reasons to not wear a face mask. You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to.

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

When the work or task requires the use of specific types of face masks in the workplace, they 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 the Victorian Chief Health Officer.

Face masks continue to be mandatory in some settings. For more information visit the Face masks

There are a number of lawful reasons to not wear a face mask. You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to.

Are COVIDSafe Plans required by all 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 and 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. Workers are strongly recommended to wear a face mask if they are in the car with someone who is not a member of their household, 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 COVID-19, visit Preventing infection in the workplace.

Do I need to submit my COVIDSafe Plan to the Victorian Government?

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 your COVIDSafe 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 their 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 patron 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 workers become unwell
  • avoid interactions in enclosed spaces
  • create workforce bubbles.

Who is enforcing COVIDSafe Settings restrictions?

Authorised officers are undertaking site inspections to ensure employers are operating with their 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

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 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.

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, such as work drinks or a work party?    

Yes. Work events can be organised, subject to public gathering limits. Any gathering held at a venue will need to comply with restrictions at the venue, that includes meeting the density quotient requirements and record keeping.

Private gathering limits also apply if work parties are held in a private residence. 

Face masks continue to be mandatory in some settings and continue to be recommended where you cannot maintain 1.5 metres from others.
For more information visit the  Face masks

There are a number of lawful reasons to not wear a face mask. You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to.

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 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 Public Events.

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 workers 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 in offices and venues?

Offices and venues should focus on frequently touched surfaces and should consider regular inspections of 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, follow 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

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 for 28 days of appointments and locations visited 
  • not have workers attend if a client or the people they live with are unwell, or if workers are unwell
  • adhere to the current face masks restrictions
  • 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 the services outdoors, where possible and safe to do so
  • follow the six COVIDSafe principles.

Do I need to adjust air conditioning (HVAC) for ventilation purposes?

Yes. Where possible, open doors and windows, and adjust air conditioning to enhance fresh airflow. Air conditioning should not be set to ‘recirculation’ mode.

How can workers safely provide reading material to customers, for example, in waiting rooms?

Reading material should be either laminated and disinfected after each use, or single-use paper material. General non-contact signage or QR codes can also be used to communicate information.

Are individual commercial passenger vehicles required 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 they must have a COVIDSafe Plan for that vehicle.

From 6.00pm on Friday 26 March 2021, commercial passenger vehicles must make a digital record keeping service available and should encourage passengers to check in when they ride in the vehicle.

Commercial passenger vehicles must make available the free Victorian Government QR Code Service or a Victorian Government API (Application Programming Interface) linked electronic record keeping system. , A 28-day compliance amnesty will be in place to 23 April 2021.  


Find out more information on the settings where electronic record keeping is required
Find out more information on the Victorian Government API

Does the density quotient or physical distancing recommendation apply in courts, tribunal buildings or Parliament House?

No, from 11.59pm Friday 9 April 2021, the density quotient does not apply in a court or tribunal building when in use for the ordinary purposes of courts or tribunals, or in Parliament House when it is used for the ordinary purposes of the Parliament of Victoria. 

This means operations can resume at 100 per cent capacity with no physical distancing requirements. Record keeping to support contact tracing and cleaning requirements are still in place. 

There are no physical distancing requirements in courtrooms or court facilities used for jury trials. 

However, in areas of courts, tribunals and Parliament House where the public are roaming for general visitation purposes and not for the operations of courts or Parliament, 1.5 metres of physical distancing is recommended, where possible.

Reviewed 20 April 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

24/7 Coronavirus Hotline

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.

Was this page helpful?