Managing the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly proving to be a volatile and fast moving challenge. Every week government packages supporting employers, employees and citizens generally and the rules applying to people movement and business operations are being adjusted to reflect the changing circumstances.
The challenge for governments, is how far the economic tap can be opened without letting the virus genie back out of the bottle. If we all follow the latest advice it allows for close consideration of the effectiveness of any measure enabling us to progress further with the normalisation of life.
Restrictions have changed and continue to change, please see below for the latest update on:
- Private gatherings – see first graphic
- The introduction of COVID marshals
- Changes for Cross-border communities
- Aged Care facility restrictions
- Changes to JobKeeper
COVID MARSHALS – SA.GOV.AU INFORMATION
From 21 August 2020, you must have a COVID Marshal if your business or activity is or involves any of the following:
- Hospitality: Any business or activity providing food and/or beverages for on-site consumption to members of the public, including pubs, bars, restaurants, cafés, wineries, cellar doors, dining areas, food courts, etc. This does not include take-away only operators.
- Gyms and fitness centre: Gyms and fitness centres/studios, pilates, yoga, spin, barre, dance and similar studios, health clubs, etc.
- Indoor and outdoor sports clubs: e.g. football, cricket, netball, soccer, tennis clubs, racing (horse/greyhound) clubs (both indoor and outdoor areas).
- Swimming pools available for public use: Publicly owned pools and businesses that operate with a swimming pool the public can use, including associated facilities such as showers, changerooms etc.
- Social and community clubs: e.g. community/RSL halls, youth and recreation centres, other facilities commonly used for meetings, gatherings and events open to members of the public.
- Religious or faith-based ceremonies: Includes both ceremonies and services held at places of worship, such as churches, mosques, synagogues or temples, and ceremonies or services held elsewhere. This does not include weddings or funerals.
- Supermarkets and hardware stores: Includes all retailers including small or independent stores that operate as supermarkets or hardware stores (these are more common in regional areas). However, for these smaller operations, this usually simply means that the floor manager/main staff member on duty would also act as COVID Marshal while at work. As such, this would likely not be onerous.
- Distribution centres: Includes distribution centres and their associated transport operations (e.g. arrival/departure areas, loading/unloading and other activities).
- Businesses or activities that are required to have a COVID Management Plan.
Nominated COVID Marshal
If fewer than 200 people are reasonably expected to participate in the business or operation then you must have a Nominated COVID Marshal. This means that you can nominate one of your regular staff members to also perform the role of COVID Marshal in addition to conducting their usual duties.
Dedicated COVID Marshal
If more than 200 people are reasonably expected to participate in the business or operation then you must have a Dedicated COVID Marshal. This means that you must have a staff member on site that only and exclusively performs the role of COVID Marshal during your business or activity’s operations.
To find out about the roles and responsibilities of COVID Marshals and to complete the required TRAINING click here.
From 12.01 am Friday 21 August, cross border community members will not be able to enter South Australia from Victoria unless they can apply under a different category of Essential Traveller.
Cross border community members wishing to enter South Australia will be required to reapply under another essential traveller category.
These changes take into account the current situation in Victoria and will be continuously monitored until the risk is significantly reduced.
The New South Wales cross border arrangements remain unchanged.
For detailed information visit – https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/travel-restrictions#restrictions
AGED CARE FACILITY RESTRICTIONS
From 27 August, personal care workers in residential aged care facilities will not be able to work across multiple sites. Workers will not be able to work at a facility within 14 days of working at a different facility. At present, these restrictions do not apply to other employees or contractors.
Operators of Residential Aged Care Facilities will be required to submit a COVID-19 Infection Control Plan relating to all communal areas by 27 August 2020. This will then need to be approved by the Department for Health and Wellbeing (SA).
Additionally, all nursing, medical, allied health and personal care workers will be required to wear personal protective equipment when working within 1.5 metres of residents.
Residents of facilities will need to be isolated following a COVID-19 test until the result of their test is known.
All people providing nursing care or personal care to residents must complete COVID-19 Infection Control Training determined by the Department for Health and Wellbeing (SA). Records of this training must be provided to an authorised officer on request.
MORE SUPPORT FOR MORE BUSINESSES AND WORKERS
Some key updates have recently been announced in relation to JobKeeper eligibility that will help more businesses qualify for the program.
To help keep more businesses in business and Australians in jobs through this incredibly challenging period, the Government will ease the eligibility criteria to make it easier for organisations to qualify for JobKeeper.
Key adjustments include:
- A change to the employee reference date – the relevant date of employment for an eligible employee will move from 1 March to 1 July 2020, expanding employee eligibility.
- A change to the turnover reference period – to be eligible for JobKeeper post 28 September 2020, organisations will only have to demonstrate that their actual turnovers have significantly declined in the previous quarter.
As a result, organisations that are able to demonstrate a significant decline in turnover in the September 2020 quarter will be able to access the JobKeeper extension in the December quarter. An organisation able to demonstrate the requisite decline in turnover in the December 2020 quarter would be able to access the JobKeeper extension in the March 2021 quarter.
The combined effect of the economic deterioration in Victoria which will see more firms needing to rely on JobKeeper and the eligibility changes being made to the program will see the cost of JobKeeper increase by around $15.6 billion in 2020-21.
It is now expected that around 4 million Australians will be benefiting from JobKeeper Payments at the end of the September quarter, falling to around 2.24 million in the December quarter and 1.75 million in the March 2021 quarter.
This additional cost to the program will see the total cost of JobKeeper increase to $101.3 billion.
Australia is facing a situation that is constantly changing. Our response is to get the right support to all those Australian families, workers and businesses that need us, as these circumstances change.
The Government will continue to do what it takes to cushion the blow and help Australians get to the other side of the coronavirus crisis.
Click here for more information.
Reminder of Key Resources
Federal Government updates – www.australia.gov.au
This website is regularly updated to give you the latest Coronavirus news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia.
Economic Assistance – www.treasury.gov.au
All the fact sheets on individual and business economic assistance measures are available here.
Business Support – www.business.gov.au or call 13 28 46
Find financial assistance, eligibility and timing for government support for Australian businesses.
If you have any feedback or questions, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email or give one of my offices a call on the phone numbers listed below. I always welcome residents’ feedback.
Rowan Ramsey MP
Federal Member for Grey