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Snap lockdown: does my business need to close?

By CCIWA Editor

WA’s snap lockdown caught many business owners off guard, but it is essential for your safety and that of your employees to follow the government’s guidelines on what you can and cannot do.

For many, this will mean closing your doors or running at minimum capacity and directing your employees to work from home where they can.

For others, who provide an essential service, there are rules you and your workers need to follow around transport to and from work.

Here, CCIWA outlines the dos and don’ts of the Perth, Peel and South West lockdown for business.

As of 6pm on Sunday January 31, the following facilities in the Perth, Peel and South West regions need to close:

  • Schools, universities, TAFEs and education facilities;
  • Pubs, bars and clubs;
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues;
  • Playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor recreational facilities;
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, and casinos;
  • Beauty therapy services, parlour or salon including hairdressers, barbershop, nail salon, tattoo parlour, spa or massage parlour;
  • Large religious gatherings and places of worship;
  • Libraries and cultural institutions.

The Emergency Management Act (2005) stay at home directions for Perth, Peel and the South West outlines providers of essential goods or services as:

  • Supermarkets, grocery stores, bakers, butchers, fruit and vegetable stores and fishmongers.
  • Indoor or outdoor markets, but only providing groceries or fresh food and not food or beverages prepared on site (whether for consumption on site or take away).
  • Restaurants or cafes (including within food courts) but only to the extent that it provides takeaway meals of drinks, meal delivery services or provides food or drink to the homeless.
  • Bottle shops.
  • Financial institutions.
  • Consular and diplomatic services.
  • Court, tribunal or commission services.
  • Post offices.
  • Hardware stores.
  • Petrol stations.
  • Pet shops and veterinary clinics.
  • Urgent services for the health and safety of any person, animal or premises.
  • Childcare or family day care providers, but only to provide care to children of essential workers.

The Act listed essential worker as a person who is essential for the continued operation of:

  • An essential provider.
  • Essential health services.
  • Funeral or mortuary services or related activities.
  • Emergency services, including the State Emergency Services, fire fighting services, paramedical services, ambulance services, medical retrieval, police, military and defence services,
  • Essential infrastructure and services without which the safety, health or welfare of the community or a section of the community would be endangered or seriously prejudiced.
  • A person who is critical to the State’s response to COVID-19.
  • Roadside assistance services.
  • Government or local government services determined to be essential by the relevant CEO.
  • Waste recovery services.
  • Commonwealth agency services, including Australian Border Force and Commonwealth law enforcement and intelligence agency services.
  • Journalist and media services.
  • A factory or facility that is not able to be shut down without causing damage or loss to plant and equipment, but only those operations that are necessary in order to prevent that damage or loss.
  • Mining, building or construction services, including road construction services.
  • FIFO workers.
  • Administrative services provided by an employer to enable its employees to work from home, including payroll and IT services.
  • Organisations that provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal or premises, including emergency plumbers.
  • Public transport, including taxis, rideshare services and public passenger services.
  • Air transport.
  • Port operations.
  • A transport, freight or logistics driver.
  • A blood bank.
  • Care services for people with needs related to homelessness, age, infirmity, disability, illness or a chronic health condition.
  • Truckstops and roadhouses.
  • Production and distribution of food and groceries for sale by a supermarket, butcher, fruit and vegetable store or fishmonger; liquor for sale at bottle stores; medical and pharmaceutical products.
  • Commercial operations that supply goods or services necessary for the implementation of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Primary industries, only to the extent to ensure adequate supply of food and care to animals and maintenance of crops.

What to tell your workers

For businesses that are not defined as essential by the government guidelines, you should direct your employees to work from home where possible.

In this instance, you should ensure your workers have all they need to work from home and are able to do so in a safe and effective way.

If any worker is in a situation deemed dangerous, due to the threat of domestic violence, you may need to make alternative arrangements for them to come into the office.

If employees are unable to work from home, please contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on 9365 7660 or advice@cciwa.com to discuss options available to you.

According to the government’s guidelines, a person in the affected area may leave home if they are an essential worker, or to transport an essential worker by private vehicle to and from their place of work if you are a member of the same household as the essential worker.

It is compulsory for people to wear a face mask when outside the home while in the affected area, including on public transport.

There are a number of exceptions to the face mask rule, outlined here.

As outlined above, FIFO workers are considered essential. However Premier Mark McGowan has asked FIFO workers currently in Perth to remain in the region during the course of lockdown. “The government has asked companies to delay any shift changes and keep workers where they are for the next five days,” McGowan said.

Penalties

Individuals face up to 12 months in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 for failing to comply with these measures and bodies corporate can be fined up to $250,000.

Individuals not wearing face masks while in outside their home can be fined $1000 on the spot of up to $50,000.

Some leeway will be provided to people attempting to purchase a face covering, but WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson advises these people to wear a bandana or scarf – which are acceptable temporary but not permanent options.

WA’s snap lockdown caught many business owners off guard, but it is essential for your safety and that of your employees to follow the government’s guidelines on what you can and cannot do.

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