Restrictions from 17 December 2021 which employers need to be aware of

Restrictions from 17 December 2021 which employers need to be aware of

As most of you are aware, the Queensland Government has announced that from 17 December 2021, some businesses must apply restrictions for people, including employees who are not fully vaccinated.

Vaccination requirements for staff, service providers and contractors

By 17 December 2021, employees of businesses that operate non-essential leisure services must be fully vaccinated.  Employees who have only received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be unable to work until the employee has received the second dose. 

Businesses that rely on service providers can still have unvaccinated service providers conduct work for the business so long as the service is contactless, for example, an unvaccinated delivery driver can pick up food from a restaurant and then make a contactless delivery.  However, if a business requires a service provider to conduct work inside a business premise that only fully vaccinated people can enter, then the service provider must be fully vaccinated. The Queensland Government has provided exemptions for emergency maintenance work, for example, an unvaccinated plumber fixing a burst pipe.

Please be mindful that Queensland Government COVID-19 health guidelines are subject to change.  We will continue to keep you up to date with important changes.

Essential services and activities

Unvaccinated people will be able to visit and attend:

  • Business deemed essential services such as post offices, pharmacies and grocery stores;
    • fast food restaurants only for takeaway or drive-through;
    • funerals (occupant density and attendance limits apply);
    • weddings (attendance limits of a maximum of 20 people apply if attended by an unvaccinated person);
    • markets such as farmers, community and craft markets;
    • food courts;
    • shopping centres (except for businesses within a shopping centre where only fully vaccinated people can attend); and
    • accommodation providers such as a resort or hotel but not venues within an accommodation premises which only allow full vaccinated people (e.g. a pub, restaurant or nightclub).

Although the above essential services and activities allow unvaccinated people to visit and attend, employers are reminded that they still have an obligation under the Queensland Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers in their workplace, so they will need to ensure other appropriate health and safety measures are still in place. 

Supporting the new measures

To manage the new measures, non-essential businesses i.e. hospitality and entertainment venues will need to:

  • display the vaccination rules in a prominent location at the entry of the business premises;
  • use their best efforts to ask for proof of vaccination from customers at the time of check-in (this is a legal requirement) through:
    • the Check In Qld app;
    • an immunisation history statement;
    • a COVID-19 vaccination digital certificate.
  • if a customer cannot or refuses to provide evidence, then the person can be asked to leave the premises.
  • if the person refuses to leave the premises and becomes aggressive, then the Queensland Government states to phone the police.

Essential businesses can also voluntarily elect to adopt these measures if they believe it bests suits their business needs and customer expectations.

It is the responsibility of the person entering to show proof of their vaccination status. It is not expected that business owners or staff act as police and penalties apply for people refusing to comply.

The Queensland Government will provide more details shortly on the arrangements that will apply for people who have a genuine medical reason for not being vaccinated, and what proof or exemption they must provide to a business.

See below for some helpful Queensland Government resources, including signage which can be displayed as applicable:

There is also free COVID Safe online training available to help businesses implement the new measures and manage entry of customers and visitors, including checking their vaccination status. The COVID Safe For Business course is available from TAFE Queensland.

Please contact HR Law if you require any advice on what the 17 December 2021 restrictions will mean for your business and how you can ensure compliance.

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