The Victorian Government has today introduced a range of further Stage 4 restrictions for Melbourne Metro and the Victorian and Federal Governments a range of support for impacted businesses and workers. These are in addition to the restrictions announced yesterday, Sunday, 2 August 2020 for Melbourne Metro and Regional Victoria.

Stage 4 Restrictions on Businesses

The Victorian Premier's Statement of 3 August 2020 details of the Stage 4 restrictions including the businesses impacted by closures, or additional requirements and obligations if they can remain open.

These Stage 4 restrictions on businesses will operate for a period of 6 weeks and businesses must ensure they adhere to the restrictions. If you are unsure how these restrictions apply to your business, the Industry Coordination Centre has been set up within the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions who will consider your case if your business falls into a grey area, or you want confirmation as to whether you can open or must close.

Some businesses will need to close by 11.59pm on Wednesday, 5 August 2020, with those able to remain open having until 11.59m on Friday, 7 August 2020 to enact a COVID Safe Plan, or if required, a Universal COVID Safe Plan or High Risk COVID Safe Plan, focussed on safety, prevention and response in the event that COVID is linked to a workplace. There will also be enhanced obligations for businesses allowed to remain open in construction, warehousing, distribution centres, meat processing, cold storage and aged care. These will be legal requirements that must be adhered to.

Businesses should reference the websites of Business Victoria, Safe Work Australia as well as the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet which provide further information to assist businesses in developing these plans. Businesses must also have regard to their legal obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic).

Additional Support Available During Stage 4 Restrictions

A $534 million Business Support Package outlined by Business Victoria will provide some support to businesses and workers during the pandemic, including $5,000 grants.

The Victorian Government will also continue to provide payments to workers with Isolation and Worker Support Payments. This includes a $300 COVID Test Isolation Payment whilst self-isolating and awaiting results, and a $1,500 COVID Worker Support Payment if a worker tests positive or is a close contact of a confirmed case whilst they quarantine at home as instructed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Federal Government has also outlined Paid Pandemic Payments of $1,500 for the fortnight for Victorian workers who have no more sick leave available to them, who are not receiving JobKeeper or JobSeeker support, who are required to self-isolate on instruction by a Public Health Officer. These payments can be accessed more than once if a worker is instructed to self-isolate by a Public Health Officer more that once. It is hoped this will assist in workers not turning up at work for economic reasons that have symptoms, are diagnosed with COVID-19 or who should otherwise self-isolate or quarantine.

It will be important for all businesses to comply with these new restrictions and obligations and we understand further information will be released tomorrow by the Victorian Government, including with regards to increased penalties for non-compliance.

If you need urgent advice or assistance in managing the impact of Coronavirus in your workplace, please contact IR Legal Solutions to discuss.

This content is not be a substitute for legal advice and is for information only. Employers should obtain advice that is specific to their circumstances and business operations, and not rely on this publication as legal advice.