Queensland restrictions on businesses were eased further on Monday 1 June and the industry COVID Safe Plans for hospitality operators were released on Friday 5 June, allowing licensees to have up to 20 patrons per defined area. The information below summarises the key changes:
- All businesses permitted to offer on-premises service can now have up to 20 patrons on the premises. Businesses can choose to adopt an industry COVID Safe Plan or continue to operate under a COVID Safe Checklist. Those businesses not operating under a Plan are limited to 20 patrons for the whole of the venue, indoors and outdoors.
- The industry plans most relevant to licensed premises are those for Hotels and Clubs and Food Services. There are several differences between the plans, and it appears to be open to licensees to decide which industry plan they choose to adopt. In our view the Hotels and Clubs plan provides the greatest flexibility for licensees.
- Businesses operating in compliance with an industry COVID Safe Plan can have up to 20 patrons per defined area of the premises, subject to maintaining social distancing and having at least 4m² of public floor space per patron in each defined area.
- Defined areas must be clearly separated by a wall, planters, partitions etc, and have at least 1.5m between patrons in separate areas where applicable.
- Patron movement between defined areas is not permitted and must be controlled by the business operator.
- Amenities may be shared with all patrons on the premises and, depending on which industry plan you adopt, staff may work in all areas.
- The COVID Safe Plan is an alternative to the COVID Safe Checklist and licensees who have adopted a plan must display a statement of compliance but are no longer required to display the COVID Safe Checklist.
- Please note: the COVID Safe Plans require certain signage to be displayed and recommend the display and use of checklists to manage and monitor compliance.
- Patrons can now purchase alcoholic drinks without any requirement to also purchase food. However, drinks may only be served and consumed while the patron is seated at a table or bar.
- Bar service is now permitted, but only while the patron is seated on a stool no less than 1.5m from the nearest person.
- Patrons must not be seated next to serving or payment areas. This applies to all patrons but is most relevant to those seated at a bar and would require licensees to clearly delineate the service points at the bar.
- Contact details for all customers, staff and contractors must now be retained for at least 56 days. This contradicts (and overrules) what is in the COVID Safe checklist.
- ID scanning by relevant licensees in Safe Night Precincts is only required if the premises is open after 1am, Monday to Thursday, or after midnight on the weekends. If you are required to scan, scanning must commence from 10pm in accordance with the usual requirements..
- All business operators must continue to comply with relevant Public Health Directions.
The industry plans are designed to provide a framework for business operators. If you require any advice or assistance in completing the plan, please contact our office on 07 3252 4066.