4 steps to take before starting a business in NSW
Over the past eighteen months, business have had to adjust to the pandemic in a number of ways. Now, as businesses in lockdown-affected parts of NSW, ACT and Victoria prepare for reopening, it’s important to research what you need to do to help keep yourself, your staff and your customers COVID Safe.
The basics: a refresher
Most businesses are sorted with basics COVID Safe measures but it’s important to consider refreshers, reminders and retraining before reopening. NSW Health was quoted in this ABC News Online story as saying: “Businesses can reduce the risk of closure or staff going into isolation by implementing a rigorous COVID-19 safety plan.”
- QR code checking in: with codes clearly available for scanning by customers in at least one location outside the business entrance (ideally in locations that don’t inadvertently result in close contact between those checking in and those waiting or leaving the store).
- Physical distancing: both adhering to required people-per-square-meter density guidelines and encouraging distance between customers and staff. Review your current limits as well as your communication and signage.
- Low-contact transactions: including card instead of cash payments and full contactless options like tap-and-go.
- Sanitising: customer-facing sanitiser available at key locations including entrances and customer-service points, sanitiser positioned for ease of staff use, and regular cleaning of high-touch areas.
In addition, Safe Work Australia offers comprehensive industry-by-industry guides for what you need to consider in terms of distancing, cleaning and masks and other personal protective equipment, as well as how to monitor health and what to do if COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed in your workplace.
A handy shortcut to finding restrictions affecting business are state pages linked to from Safe Work Australia.
The timelines: planning with flexibility
Roadmaps for post-Covid business operations are based on reaching vaccination targets rather than specific dates. This makes perfect sense from a health perspective, though it means that businesses need to manage a degree of uncertainty about precise timelines.
NSW’s Roadmap has reopening from currently locked down areas from when the state’s adult population reaches 70 percent double-dose vaccinations, most likely on 11 October. This NSW government webpage is a great place kept up to date with vaccination rates and plans for reopening.
Victoria’s likely first significant date is 26 October. The roadmap is covered in on this Victorian government website, including a downloadable one-page summary that covers metro and regional Victoria.
Though you can work towards these dates with a degree of confidence. it is worth noting that all roadmap dates may change depending on how the vaccination drive progresses.
The ACT’s ‘Pathway Forward’ guidelines are more specifically date-driven and commenced on 1 October. Information about the stages are able to be viewed in a series of summary documents on the ACT’s COVID-19 website, including one specific to business.
Vaccination status: the new business challenge
By now, businesses are used to ensuring their customers use QR code check-ins and wear masks. From mid-October, checking the vaccination status of customers and staff is the new business COVID Safe challenge.
NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, has said that businesses will be responsible for taking “reasonable measures” to ensure unvaccinated people do not come onto the premises, at least until the 90 percent double-vaccination level is reached, likely in December.
What this means in practice will depend on the business and will invariably be more challenging for businesses in areas of lower vaccination take-up rates (check your region using this interactive map created by SBS News that is updated weekly).
Use the Safe Work Australia COVID-19 vaccines information to search for up-to-date information specifically relevant to your industry.
Other: Three bonus tips
If your business is currently locked-down area, it’s time to start planning for reopening! Here are a few suggestions to help you prepare:
- Check equipment. If equipment has been switched off or not operating at usual levels, it’s time for a check and a clean. This includes your Tyro EFTPOS machine, so see our handy guide here.
- Check in. Reopening can bring excitement and anticipation as well as concern. Now’s a great time to check in with yourself and your staff about how everyone is feeling. Read this advice from experts to help you make the most of this check in.
- Check back. Life is about to get busy! So, take some time now to review and reflect on your business, including what you’ve learned during lockdown times. Take inspiration from business like this one, who not only survived but thrived during COVID lockdowns.
The prospect of restrictions easing is exciting but that good old constant of life – change – will continue to be a big feature of the rest of 2021 and beyond. So, enjoy planning for reopening within the spirit of flexibility, so that you can be responsiveness to news as it comes to hand.
Find out how Tyro can help your business prepare for a COVID safe reopening, contact our 24/7 Customer Support team on 1300 00 TYRO (8976) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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