COVID-19 and your business


Last updated: 30 Jul 2021 10:21am

2021 COVID-19 Support Package

The NSW Government will provide financial assistance, support measures and tax relief to help businesses and people across the state impacted by the current COVID-19 restrictions. For full details, visit: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/2021-covid-19-support-package

Make your workplace COVID Safe

Show your commitment to COVID Safety and help keep our communities safe. Complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan specific to your industry and register as a COVID Safe business.

Some businesses will need to complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan under the public health orders, but you can also voluntarily complete one in order to keep your workers and visitors safe.

Registering your premises as a COVID Safe business is mandatory for some industries and comes with some obligations.

NSW DPI is encouraging industry to have a COVID Safe Business Plan in place to protect the primary industries sector and workforce.

Completing a COVID Safety Plan is a quick and easy way to protects yourself, your workers, community and business.

Visit the COVID Safe businesses webpage for more information.

QR codes and farms

Business and organisations registered as COVID safe can access their NSW Government QR code and other customised resources online at NSW Government QR code and business resources.

Under the Public Health (COVID-19 Gathering Restrictions) Order (No 2) Amendment Order (No 2) 2021, farms are not required to have mandatory QR codes. Primary industry businesses are strongly encouraged to register as COVID Safe and use QR Codes where possible.

For the purposes of  on-farm activities such as bull/ram sales, shearing, and other events where you have larger on-farm visitors than usual, primary producers need to

  1. Keep a register of visitors. The organisers can choose how they do this, i.e QR code, sheet of paper, etc.
  2. This list needs to be made available to NSW Health, if requested, within 4 hours either as an excel or csv file to support contract tracing. If they are using a QR code this information is already provided.
  3. Hold this information for 4 weeks.
  4. The business is encouraged to complete an Agriculture COVID Safety Plan to ensure they meet all COVID safety requirements.

Agricultural shows and agricultural field days are required to have mandatory QR Codes.

Food processing and manufacturing businesses

The Workplace Health Management Plan Template has been developed to help employers and employees understand how to work safely during a human health event that impacts the workforce, such as COVID-19

Abattoirs and the meat processing industry

NSW Health in consultation with SafeWork NSW and the NSW Department of Primary Industries developed an Incident Action Plan (IAP) for the meat processing industry to raise preparedness in the event of an outbreak.

The Incident Action Plan and Guideline provides the detail about how business can prepare for and prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 and how a local health authority will engage with the business.  Meat processing facility Incident Action Plan for a confirmed case of COVID-19 

Positive COVID-19 cases are reported directly to local Public Health Units (PHUs), who will follow up with the initial confirmed case and if it includes a workplace regarding staff or patrons, contact the premises.

The Animal Welfare and Business Continuity Self-Assessment and the Workplace Health Management Plan Template , are available to  support the meat processing sector.

Also visit the NSW Government website for resources and guidance for abattoirs and the meat processing industry to help create and maintain a safe working environment for staff, customers and community.

Beekeepers

Recreational operators are required to adhere to the Public Health Order and stay at home. Given the current health risks, there is nothing in the NSW Biosecurity Act that compels recreational beekeepers to breach, or be exempt from, the Public Health Order.

Commercial operations can conduct their business in accordance with the Public Health Order, as a reasonable excuse to leave home in the restricted movement area. Businesses should:

  • Have a COVID Business Safety Plan and ensure your workers follow this when on duty
  • Whilst travelling outside of the restricted movement areas, only stop for essential reasons such as rest stops, meal breaks, fuel, necessary supplies, or an emergency, and wear a mask while travelling.
  • Follow all requirements for workers moving from restricted movement areas. This information may change regularly, and you should review frequently to ensure your business is complying. This includes mandatory testing and digital record keeping of workers and their movements.

Mandatory masks

You must wear a face mask at indoor non-residential premises in NSW. Learn about when you need to wear a face mask, when you can remove it and who is exempt by visiting the NSW Government website.

Do shearers need to wear face masks?

There is an exemption to wearing a mask when doing strenuous exercise (except when you are in a gym class or a dance class) Face mask rules | NSW Government

The activity of shearing would be classed as a strenuous physical activity, therefore, in an operational shearing shed, removal of the mask is permissible and safety measures be in place as per their COVID Business Safety Plan. Masks should be worn indoors when not shearing.

Do you need to wear masks in milking sheds?

Masks are to be worn in indoor areas. An indoor area is defined in the Public Health (COVID-19 Mandatory Face Coverings) order (No 3) 2021 as an area in a building or other structure, whether or not temporary, that has a roof, ceiling or other top covering, but does not include an area with at least 2 sides open to the weather.

If a dairy milking shed has more than 2 sides open, it is not defined as an indoor area, and face masks are not required.

Vaccinations

Check your eligibility for a COVID-19 Vaccination and find out more information about the rollout at NSW Government COVID-19 vaccination in NSW

Food Safety

NSW Food Authority has information and training regarding food safety and COVID-19.

You can visit the Food Authority website, call the Helpline on 1300 552 406 or email food.contact@dpi.nsw.gov.au.

Financial assistance for businesses and employers

For information about funding you can access to keep your business running and your employees in work visit NSW Government’s financial assistance website.

The difference between social distancing and self-isolation

Social distancing means we reduce the number of close physical and social contacts we have with one another. When social distancing actions are combined with good personal hygiene measures the spread of a pandemic through the community can be slowed.

If you are required to self-isolate you will be informed by NSW Health. This will normally only occur if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or have returned from overseas travel. If you are required to self-isolate you will need to be isolated for 14 days.

NSW Health has a range of advice on social distancing and self-isolation.

Social distancing for primary producers

Social distancing means the same for primary producers as it does for the rest of the community.

When social distancing actions are combined with good personal hygiene measures the spread of a pandemic through the community can be slowed.

Social distancing means:

  • avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others
  • attempting to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between themselves and other people where possible, for example when they are out in a public place.
  • avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people.
  • avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment

Find out more about social distancing.

If one of your staff becomes sick

If an employee becomes sick please ring the national COVID-19 hotline on 1800 020 080 and follow the advice of health officials.

Safe Work Australia has produced an infographic with advice on how to handle cases of COVID-19 in the workplace (PDF, 45.1 KB).

Workers diagnosed with COVID-19 must also notify their employer as soon as possible.

If you are an employer in NSW, you must notify SafeWork NSW as soon as possible where a risk from exposure to COVID-19 has occurred.

Use  Speak Up to let us know about unsafe work anywhere, anytime or call 13 10 50.

As an employer in NSW you must also inform your workers compensation insurer of any workplace injury or serious illness) you become aware of (including COVID-19) within 48 hours.

Workforce

Quarantine Fees  for Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) and Seasonal Worker Program (SWP) employees

For information regarding subsidised hotel quarantine for PLS and SWP employees visit the NSW Government’s Quarantine page.

Visas, Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Workers Program.

Department of Home Affairs have a range of resources and information to assist agricultural employers with immigration related queries. This includes information on the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program.

Help Harvest is an initiative to help people find seasonal employment opportunities with farm producers and agribusiness during COVID-19.

Mental wellbeing

See the NSW Government page for a range of services that can support you and your employees.