COVID-19 and your business

Last updated: 02 Nov 2021 11:24am

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:

Business Concierge - Support for your business

NSW Government has a free Business Concierge service to provide guidance to businesses. To book a session with the Business Concierge, call Service NSW on 137788, or visit the Business Concierge webpage.

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

Small business 'Prepare for the unexpected' business continuity plan

The NSW Small Business Commission has a 'Prepare for the unexpected' business continuity plan for small business to prepare for unexpected risks of disruption to their business. This resource includes a pandemic check list.

Now is a good time to consider how your business will continue to operate if something unexpected happens. Planning is important if you have animals or perishable goods.

COVID-19 Case Studies

Feedback from industry has suggested that sharing learnings from COVID-19 affected businesses are extremely powerful to improve COVID-19 risk management across primary industry sectors. Several case studies have been developed which represent actual NSW businesses that NSW DPI has worked with to manage COVID-19 incidents.

Common observations during this current COVID period:

  • Workplace transmission is extremely rare in the vast majority of COVID outbreaks we have observed in workplaces. This is due to most food processing plants having developed and implemented very good plans and have instigated very good preventative measures such as work bubbles, mandatory masks, and high vaccination rates.
  • Early communication with Health is vital and involving DPI at an early stage is beneficial to ensuring the response is dealt with appropriately.
  • In many cases post a COVID infection affecting your business, you may not hear from Health for a number of days. Be proactive and compile the line lists of close and casual contacts asap to be able to provide to Health to save time.
  • Health and affected businesses place enormous value on CCTV footage of high risk areas such a lunch rooms and change rooms to identify close and casual contacts.

You can view the case studies here. Business names have been removed to maintain confidentiality.

Make your workplace COVID Safe

Show your commitment to COVID Safety and help keep our industry and communities safe.

Work Safe Australia have a range of resources to help workplace implement COVID Safety measures.

NSW Health have a variety of posters, factsheets, digital resources and translated resources on COVID-19.

Visit the COVID Safe businesses webpage for more information.

Where to get vaccinated:


All people over the age of 12 must wear a face mask:

  • in indoor areas (e.g. while shopping, when at a library)
  • in indoor areas of common property of apartment buildings
  • at a public transport waiting area
  • while on public transport
  • if you are working at a hospitality venue and dealing directly with members of the public
  • on an aircraft when the aircraft is flying above NSW and in the airport.

Exemptions are available. Learn more about face mask rules.

Travelling for work while on duty

Primary industries workers in regional NSW and Greater Sydney Area are permitted to travel in a work vehicle, while on duty, with other workers as long as they:

  • Wear a mask at all times
  • The business must have a COVID Business Safety Plan in place


The Public Health Order of October 8 states that a person who is an unvaccinated adult must not be in a vehicle in the general area with another person other than a member of the person’s household. A person who is at least 16 years of age must carry evidence showing the person’s name and place of residence, and produce the evidence for inspection if requested to do so by a police officer. This clause does not apply to a vehicle being used to carry out work.


  • The NSW Government has developed a COVID vaccine information pack for businesses to help encourage increase vaccination rates.
  • For settings in regional NSW with vaccination requirements for staff and customers, staff can return to work on 11 October if they have had at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but must be fully vaccinated by 1 November 2021. Make sure you know what applies to your business and workers.
  • Only certain workplaces require double vaccination for staff and customers
  • If an employee can reasonably WFH then the employer must allow them to
  • If an employee is unvaccinated and can reasonably WFH then they are required to WFH
  • For workplaces not listed below, if an employee cannot reasonably WFH then it will be up to the business to decide if they mandate vaccination or not
  • For workplaces not listed below, it will be up to businesses to determine if they will mandate vaccination for customers or not

Venues requiring Double Vaccination:

  • Higher risk premises (hospitality venues, entertainment facilities places of public worship);
  • Hairdressers and beauty salons;
  • Recreation facilities (indoors);
  • Pubic swimming pools;
  • Information and education facilities;
  • Retail premises but not including critical retail premises (service stations and highway service centres are not defined as retail premises, therefore unvaccinated persons are permitted to enter).

Service NSW QR code

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, harvest and other activities 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 contracting businesses are required to have a QR Code and COVID Business Safety Plan.

Agricultural shows and agricultural field days are required to have mandatory QR Code and COVID Safety Plan.

Guidance for businesses with linked COVID-19 cases

For further information on guidance when you business is linked with a COVID-19 case, visit Guidance for businesses with linked COVID-19 cases | NSW Government

There are two ways a business might be informed of a COVID-19 link:

  • being notified by public health authorities
  • an employee or other contractor notifying that they have been diagnosed.

Once you have been notified of a COVID-19 link to your business:

  1. You will be put in contact with your local Public Health Unit.
  2. Your Public Health Unit will advise you on the type of contact tracing needed.
  3. You will be required to advise staff, visitors, contractors and customers of the situation.
  4. You will be informed of any infection control measures you need to take.

Businesses/premises do not necessarily have to close after a case has been notified. This will depend on:

  • the premises being appropriately cleaned.
  • the Public Health Unit being satisfied that there is no ongoing risk
  • business access to available staff.

The privacy and confidentiality of the person diagnosed must be maintained.

Employers or businesses with diagnosed employees, or otherwise concerned they may be linked to a COVID-19 case, should seek advice from their local Public Health Unit (PHU) by calling 1300 066 055.

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

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.

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.

Food processing and manufacturing businesses

The Workplace Health Management Plan Template (PDF, 393.67 KB) 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 (PDF, 281.93 KB) and the Workplace Health Management Plan Template (PDF, 393.67 KB), 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.

This information may change regularly, and you should review frequently to ensure your business is complying.

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


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 NSW

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

General Information


Beekeepers who are a registered business can conduct their business in accordance with the Public Health Order. Businesses should:

  • Have a COVID Business Safety Plan and ensure your workers follow this when on duty.
  • Bee-keepers who provide swarm removal services, are able to undertake this task as it provides an important public health service. You should travel with evidence of the request to remove a swarm, including the address you are travelling to.

Can saleyards, food and fibre auctions and on-farm livestock sales operate?

Public places that operate for the purposes of an auction for food supply, livestock, fibre or crops can be open to members of the public within a ‘stay at home’ area. Auctions on-farm for the purposes of selling livestock are also permitted. All sites must have a COVID Safety Plan and follow rules in place at that time. Attendees to auctions must follow the safety measures in place by the auction, or site operator.

It is expected that COVID-19 management requirements are adhered to by businesses conducting the auction as well as auction participants:

  • Businesses conducting an auction must have a COVID Business Safety Plan, the business registered as COVID Safe with this plan implemented at all times
  • Consider making participants pre-register to control numbers and manage risks
  • Auction participants must follow mask wearing rules which currently includes both indoor and outdoor workplaces, and that access to hygiene and cleaning is provided
  • Auction participants must follow physical  distancing at all times, or follow appropriate gathering square meter rules for outdoor or indoor (if applicable) *Note – Gathering exemptions have been granted for farms, commercial fishing vessels, saleyards, and food supply and fibre and crop auctions
  • Auction participants must follow check in requirements for all workers, visitors, contractors, etc. If the NSW Government QR code is not possible, business owners must be able to provide a full register of visitors as either an excel or csv file, within 4 hours if requested by authorities. This should be held onto for 30 days.
  • Ensure auction participants seek testing immediately if unwell and isolate until they have a negative result
  • Follow instructions if the auction business is linked with a COVID-19 case

As regulations may change, all individuals should regularly check public health orders to ensure they understand their obligations. For further information, visit COVID-19 rules | NSW Government