The most recent email from OLGR indicates they were allowing licensees to get used to the COVID-19 obligations, but that investigators will be taking a stricter view regarding compliance this weekend. You can read the full email here and we have expanded on some of the main points below.
The OLGR email states people dining as a group are not required to be 1.5m apart, but people in separate groups must be 1.5m from each other. However, the email contained a link to a compliance sign which contradicted this. We have sought clarification from OLGR and it has been confirmed that people dining together do not need to sit 1.5m apart. At the same time, licensees should remain mindful that social distancing remains one of the key components in the fight against COVID-19.
COVID-19 Safe Checklist
Business operators are required to complete the COVID-19 Safe Checklist and display the completed document on the licensed premises. The checklist is quite detailed, and we recommend you spend some time working through all the requirements.
Some of the checklist items are described as ‘Where practical…’, but it is unclear whether checking a box is taken to be confirmation of understanding, or compliance with, that item. In the interests of everyone’s safety, we suggest you do everything that is practical to comply with the requirements in the checklist. However, in the interests of clarity, if it is simply not practical for you to comply with any of the non-mandatory requirements, we suggest leaving those items unchecked or clearly marking them in a way that shows you are not claiming to comply with that item.
Please note: the above recommendation does not apply to the mandatory items on the checklist.
Workplace Health & Safety Plans
You must amend your Workplace Health & Safety Plan to include measures to protect workers and customers from COVID-19. Please consult the Worksafe Queensland website for guidance and to download a template:
You are not required to display your plan, but you are required to implement any measures included in your plan and you may be requested to produce it on demand.
Information from OLGR, and individual feedback we have received from dining customers, suggests some businesses do not fully understand the requirements. The suggestions below may help with compliance:
Seating arrangements – tables must be arranged to maintain 1.5m between groups on separate tables. If it is not practical to remove tables (e.g. they are fixed to the floor or there is no storage available), we suggest marking tables with signs or tape to prevent usage. Staff must monitor the usage and direct patrons if they ignore the signs.
Cleaning – tables must be cleaned with detergent or disinfectant between clients. At a minimum this would require floor staff to use cleaning spray, rather than simply wiping the surface with a damp cloth.
Calculating 4m² per person – it is clear that only public floor space is used to calculate total numbers and that no matter how large your premises is, only 10 people may be dining on the premises at any time. However, there is some conflicting information regarding the inclusion of staff and takeaway customers. For everyone’s safety, we recommend taking a conservative approach and if you are offering takeaway reduce the requirements for customers to come onto the premises by:
- taking phone/internet orders as much as possible;
- asking patrons to wait outside the premises, while observing social distancing; and
- taking food to patrons, rather than calling them into the premises for collection.
Planning for Level 2 & 3 Restrictions
We have already received several enquiries regarding licensing changes required to allow you to maximise trading opportunities as restrictions are eased further. If you would like any help with this, please call our office on 07 3252 4066 and one of our consultants will be happy to provide you with some advice.
View our earlier update regarding easing of COVID-19 restrictions.