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How we work: Victoria

See current COVIDSafe Settings for business and industry in Victoria

Changes to Pandemic Management

On 7 October 2022, the Victorian Government announcedExternal Link sensible changes to COVID-19 requirements to align with decisions agreed to at National Cabinet.

From 11.59pm on Wednesday, 12 October, the pandemic declaration will end – and Victorians will no longer be required to isolate after testing positive to COVID-19, with isolation for positive cases now strongly recommended.

Powers continue to exist under OH&S laws to require vaccinations for people in workplaces– allowing employers to decide which measures are most appropriate to keep their workplaces protected against COVID-19.

The remainder of content on this page is under review.

Guide to COVIDSafe workplaces

1. Apply COVID-19 requirements, recommendations and information to keep your workplace safe

All workplaces should carefully consider the mandatory COVIDSafe requirements in pandemic ordersExternal Link that apply to keep their workers and customers safe.

In addition to the mandatory requirements in pandemic orders, workplaces are strongly encouraged to consider occupational health and safety obligations on how to manage COVID-19 in the workplace, to protect employees and customers. Workplaces can stay up to date by referring to WorkSafe’s COVID-19 information and adviceExternal Link .

The Victorian Government’s advice to Victorians to protect themselves and others, sets out requirements and recommendations to help reduce COVID-19 transmission.

Protect yourself and others by choosing to:

  • get vaccinated
  • wear a face mask indoors
  • let fresh air in
  • stay home if unwell
  • get tested if unwell
  • get medicines, if at risk.

Workplaces can stay up to date by reading the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s COVID-19 UpdatesExternal Link for the latest COVID-19 information on transmission in the community and other important public health information.

2. Respond to a symptomatic worker or a COVID-19 case in the workplace

If a worker has COVID-19 symptoms, their employer must:

  • not require them to attend the workplace
  • direct the worker to get tested as soon as possible – additional requirements will apply if the worker tests positive for COVID-19 and attended the workplace during their infectious period (see below).

If a worker tests positive for COVID-19, they must comply with the relevant isolation period, unless the worker has isolated due to COVID-19 in the previous four weeks.

See below for more details about:

  • procedures to manage symptomatic and COVID-19 positive workers
  • how to determine the relevant isolation period
  • relevant exemption periods and requirements for recently confirmed cases.

Procedures to manage a symptomatic worker or COVID-19 case in the workplace

If an employer or operator becomes aware that a worker attended the workplace in the 48 hours prior to becoming symptomatic, the employer must follow mandatory steps, including advising other workers at the worksite to:

  • monitor for symptoms
  • undertake a COVID-19 test if they have symptoms.

If a worker tests positive for COVID-19 and is required to isolate, and their employer becomes aware they attended the workplace during their infectious period, the employer has additional obligations. The definition of a worker includes contractors, consultants and volunteers. Find out more about a Case in the workplace.

Learn more about how to determine someone’s infectious period and how to manage a case in the workplace, including any additional steps and obligations:

  • Workers who test positive, after working indoors while infectious, are obligated to notify their employer and social contacts (including in the workplace), if they are required to isolate. For more information, read the Checklist for COVID cases.
  • Additional obligations to notify the Department of Health may also apply if a workplace has identified multiple cases of COVID-19. This includes requirements to report cases to the Department of Health (or a delegated entity listed on the department’s website) and comply with any directions from the department or WorkSafe in relation to business closures or cleaning. For more information visit the Department of Health’s Quarantine Isolation and Testing OrderExternal Link .
  • Operators of education facilities, for example, childcare centres or schools, have additional requirements. For more information visit Education – information for parents, students and educators.

For more information, visit Checklist for COVID cases.

Identifying COVID-19 isolation periods

A worker’s isolation period starts on the day they took their positive test. When their isolation period ends depends on whether the worker has COVID-19 symptoms.

A worker must complete a minimum of 5 days of isolation, with an additional period of isolation subject to their COVID-19 symptoms. For example, if the worker took their positive test on a Monday, they must remain in isolation until 11:59pm on Friday, unless they continue to have COVID-19 symptoms. If a worker:

  • has COVID-19 symptoms on the 6th or 7th day of isolation, then they must not leave isolation unless their symptoms cease
  • does not have COVID-19 symptoms on the 6th or 7th day of isolation, they may leave isolation their symptoms cease (for example, if they took their positive test on a Monday, they may leave isolation at any time on Saturday or Sunday if their symptoms cease)
  • has completed 7 full days of isolation, they may leave isolation regardless of whether they have symptoms or not (for example, if they took their positive test on a Monday, they may leave isolation at any time on the following Monday regardless of symptoms).

COVID-19 symptoms include (unless those symptoms are caused by an underlying health condition or medication):

  • fever
  • chills or sweats
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • loss of or change in sense of smell or taste.

There are additional recommendations for workers who complete COVID-19 isolation on their 6th day, including choosing to wear a face mask and RAT testing to minimise COVID-19 transmission. For more information, visit Checklist for COVID cases.

Limits on working in certain settings after the 6th day

If a worker leaves isolation on their 6th or 7th day, for the duration of those two days, they cannot work in a:

  • hospital
  • residential aged care facility
  • disability care facility
  • in-home care premises.

Additional requirements may apply to visit a hospital or a care facility. For more information, visit Checklist for COVID cases.

Summary of relevant exemption periods and requirements for a recently confirmed case

A worker that has isolated due to a COVID-19 infection in the previous 4 weeks is exempt from specified testing, notification and isolation requirements.

Length of time between the end of the worker’s previous COVID-19 isolation and the new infectious period* Requirements for a worker who is a recently confirmed case:
Less than 4 weeks since the worker’s previous COVID-19 isolation period

If less than 4 weeks have passed since the end of the previous isolation period, the following do not apply:

  • the recommendation to test if symptomatic
  • a requirement to self-isolate if a test is COVID-19 positive
  • a requirement to notify any close contacts or social contacts
  • if a worker is a close contact - a requirement to self-quarantine as a household close contact or undertake surveillance testing to leave home
  • if the worker is a social contact - a recommendation to test as a social contact.

However, a workplace must not permit a worker to attend the workplace if the worker is symptomatic. Managers and operators of workplaces must follow the available guidance if they become aware a symptomatic worker has attended the workplace.

More than 4 weeks since the end of the worker’s previous COVID-19 isolation period

If more than 4 weeks have passed since the end of the previous isolation period then all the requirements that apply to a diagnosed person, probable case, close contact and social contacts continue to apply, including:

  • a recommendation to test if symptomatic
  • a requirement to self-isolate if a test is COVID-19 positive for a period of five days, if the worker is asymptomatic, or five to seven days if the worker has COVID-19 symptoms, depending on when symptoms cease.
  • a requirement to notify any close contacts or social contacts
  • if a worker is a close contact - a requirement to self-quarantine as a household close contact or undertake surveillance testing to leave home
  • if the worker is a social contact - a recommendation to test as a social contact.

All procedures set out in section 2 on this page continue to apply to symptomatic and confirmed COVID-19 cases in the workplace.

3. Understand close and social contact requirements

Mandatory requirements apply to a person who is a close contact or a social contact of a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

A close contact is a person who has:

  • been determined to be a close contact by an official of the Department of Health, or
  • spent more than four hours with a diagnosed person or probable case, during the person’s infectious period indoors at a:
    • private residence
    • care facility
    • accommodation facility

A person is not a close contact or a social contact if that person has isolated due to COVID-19 in the previous 4 weeks. For more information, visit the Case, Contact and Outbreak Management PolicyExternal Link .

Close contacts can leave their home during the 7-day quarantine period if they:

  • wear a face mask in indoor settings
  • notify any education facility they are enrolled at or a work premises they are likely to attend for work within 24 hours of becoming a close contact
  • undertake five Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) during the self-quarantine period with a negative result each time, with a minimum of 24 hours between each test
  • need to escape the risk of harm (including harm related to family violence or violence of another person at the premises)
  • are required to do so by law, or in an emergency situation.

A close contact must not attend certain settings, such as a hospital or care facility, unless they have approval from a relevant hospital or care facility executive or they are a worker. Special requirements apply to workers of those facilities. Learn more at Checklist for COVID contacts.

A social contact is a person who has spent more than 15 minutes face-to-face, or more than two hours in an indoor space with a person who is a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case, during that person’s infectious period. This does not apply to a person who has isolated due to COVID-19 in the previous 4 weeks.

A social contact includes a person who has been in contact in the workplace with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. A social contact must take a RAT if they have symptoms.

Visit the Checklist for COVID Contacts to confirm what type of contact you are, and what requirements you need to follow.

An asymptomatic close contact, who is a healthcare or care worker, may attend work during their self-isolation period, subject to specific conditions. These include specific consent and face mask requirements. For more information on healthcare or care workers and the close contact exemptions that apply to them, visit Checklist for COVID contacts.

4. Create and review COVIDSafe Plans

Businesses or organisations with on-site operations (including home-based businesses) must have a COVIDSafe Plan. The Plan should be regularly reviewed to ensure it is current and include any other measures a business or an organisation is following to manage COVID-19 in the workplace. For more information, visit COVIDSafe Plan.

5. Check face mask requirements

Face masks are required in some indoor settings, unless an exception applies.

For information about where face mask requirements currently apply, visit Face masks - when to wear a face mask.

6. Check whether vaccination requirements apply to your workplace

Workers in some sectors must be vaccinated to work outside their home, unless an exception applies.

This applies to workers and contractors in:

  • residential care
  • aged care
  • disability care
  • healthcare
  • custodial services
  • emergency services
  • specialist school facilities that are registered for the main purpose of providing instruction for students with a disability.

In these settings, to work outside the home, workers:

  • 18 years or over require three COVID-19 vaccine doses
  • under the age of 18 years require two doses (or one dose of a single dose vaccine).

This applies to all workers, including:

  • contractors
  • volunteers
  • students on placement
  • workers of home-based businesses not living on the premises.

Workers in these settings must show their employer evidence of their vaccination status, and employers must collect, record and hold worker vaccination information.

Operators of healthcare and aged care facilities can also allow an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated worker onsite under exceptional circumstances, provided the relevant facility operator takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the worker wears PPE, at all times while on the premises of the facility. PPE should include, at a minimum, a surgical mask and face shield.

To find out more, including the exceptions that apply, visit Worker vaccination requirements.

Visit Mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations and your rightsExternal Link for frequently asked questions about vaccine requirements.

Visit the WorkSafe websiteExternal Link to learn more about collecting vaccination information in other workplaces.

7. Improve ventilation

Improving ventilation and air flow can help protect your employees and customers by reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The Small Business Ventilation Guide offers businesses and workplaces simple tips on improving ventilation.

8. Display signage

Where face masks are required, signage must be placed at each public entry to advise people of the requirement, noting that exceptions may apply.

Visit Face masks - when to wear a face mask to find out where face masks are required.

Signs, posters and templates for your workplace are available in various languages to support COVIDSafe workplaces.

9. Other industry-specific settings

Some industries have specific requirements in addition to those outlined above. For information on industry-specific settings, visit Pandemic (Workplace) OrderExternal Link .

  • The Secretary of the Department of Health, Chief Health Office or Deputy Chief Health Officer has published a protocol that specifies requirements for the use and operation of cruise ships on the Pandemic Orders RegisterExternal Link .

Reviewed 07 October 2022

COVID-19 business support

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

Call Business Victoria on 13 22 15

Contact Business Victoria

Coronavirus Hotline

Call the Coronavirus Hotline if you need help to report a rapid antigen test (RAT) or if you have any questions about COVID-19.

The Victorian Coronavirus Hotline diverts to the National Coronavirus Helpline every night between 6pm and 8am.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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