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Business Tasmania

Tourism and hospitality industry guide

We are continuing to support our tourism and hospitality industry to continue operating during this challenging period. To assist business owners and operators to find the information they’re looking for, we have collated information on the below topics for industry.

This information is correct as at 7 January 2022. Please visit www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au for the latest advice.

What is a close contact

A close contact is a person who usually lives with, or who has visited the same household for more than 4 hours, as a COVID-19 case during their infectious period. Close contacts are household and household-like contacts and they must quarantine for 7 days.

Close Contacts can leave isolation on Day 7 if they received a negative result from a test.

Where masks are worn, workplaces generally will not be deemed as close contacts. Workplaces will not be listed as exposure sites and will not be ordered to close.

Where a significant transmission event has been documented Public Health may consider those who were at the site or venue to be close contacts.

More information is available at https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/keeping-yourself-safe/contact-tracing/types-of-contacts

COVID-19 Testing arrangements - Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT)

Tasmania is moving to rapid antigen testing as the primary diagnostic tool to detect cases of COVID-19.

Rapid antigen tests (RAT) will be required for people that are symptomatic or a designated close contact and will be free to anyone within Tasmania.

Anyone who is symptomatic, or a close contact of a COVID-19 case should contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to arrange to collect a RAT or to book a PCR test at a Testing Clinic. Bookings for PCR tests are also available online.

People who test positive on a RAT will be considered a COVID-19 case and be subject to the same requirements as cases confirmed by a PCR test.

If you test positive on a RAT, you must register your positive test result online through the following link www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/covid-care or through the Public Health Hotline.  
Proof of registration of your result will be used for financial assistance requests and leave applications. Anyone that registers a positive RAT result will receive the same support and care as if you tested positive on a PCR test.

Importantly, PCR testing will remain available for people who cannot access a RAT, are unable to use a RAT, or are having trouble interpreting a RAT result as well as anyone clinically directed to have a PCR test.

More information on testing for COVID-19 is available here: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/keeping-yourself-safe/testing-for-covid-19

Preparing for a case or outbreak in your business

Despite the recent changes and increase in positive COVID case numbers, it is still important to be prepared so you are able to return to normal business as soon as possible.

There are simple steps you can take to ensure you are as prepared as you can be, this includes:

  • encouraging all staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19
  • undertaking the mandatory risk assessment to determine if the risks of COVID-19 are significant and what measures you may need to take to protect your staff and business. This may include requiring staff to be vaccinated.
  • ensuring your workplace has an adequate supply of facemasks available for staff if required
  • encouraging all staff and visitors to use the Check in TAS app, and making sure that you have manual check in/visitor logs available
  • maintaining adequate cleaning supplies
  • optimising ventilation in your workplace
  • identifying the person who will lead your response and be the main contact person for Public Health
  • planning how you will communicate with your staff and clients about a case or outbreak associated with your workplace
  • considering how you will safely continue business during the response, suspend activities if necessary and resume activities after the response.
  • having a plan for staff to work from home (if possible/appropriate) and how this will be enacted
  • reviewing existing health screening processes (if appropriate).

More information is available: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/business-and-employees/covid-19-case-and-outbreak-management/preparing-your-business-for-covid-19-cases-and-outbreaks

COVID-19 cases within the workplace

With increasing case numbers in Tasmania, a case will be advised to tell their workplace they have tested positive for COVID-19 so information can be provided to other staff.

A business may also find out a worker has tested positive in some instances from Public Health. If the worker is still in the workplace, they must be directed to go home. They will be required to isolate for a minimum of 7 days from the day they had the test. Workplaces should advise all other staff to monitor for symptoms and get tested if symptoms develop and isolate until they get a negative test result.

The following will apply to all businesses:

  • Staff will not be identified as close contacts in the workplace unless they have had household like exposures to cases over periods longer than 4 hours and without wearing a mask.
  • Businesses and workplaces will not be listed as exposure sites.
  • Public Health will only be in contact if several cases are linked to your premises or event.

The initial steps Public Health may ask you to take are to:

  1. Review and activate your COVID-19 Safety Plan and/or Outbreak Management Plan.
  2. Instruct people in your setting to wear face masks.
  3. Support Public Health contact tracing by collecting and providing any additional staffing and visitor information that has not been collected via the Check in TAS app. This may include staffing rosters, manual check in/visitor log sheets or spreadsheets.
  4. Advise any contacts you may identify to quarantine at home and follow the quarantine instructions.
  5. Communicate with your staff and contractors about the case or outbreak to ensure they monitor for symptoms and get tested if symptoms develop.
  6. Organise cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched areas, as outlined in your COVID-19 Safety Plan. Read about cleaning and disinfection after a case
  7. Continue to encourage COVID-safe behaviours including physical distancing, hand hygiene, advising staff and visitors to stay at home if unwell, and covering coughs and sneezes.

More information, checklists and factsheets are available via the coronavirus website at: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/business-and-employees/covid-19-case-and-outbreak-management/case-and-outbreak-response

Changes to exposure site listings

The Tasmanian Department of Health will no longer be publishing exposure sites, this is due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

All Tasmanians should assume that when they are at a gathering, visiting a business or meeting with friends, there is a high chance that they could be exposed to the COVID-19 virus. It is important that we all continue to follow all health and safety precautions to reduce the chance of catching and spreading the disease.

Check in Tas will continue to be used as part of the contact tracing process and to identify those who have been at high-risk venues, workplaces or attended a large event. Department of Health will notify patrons via SMS that they have attended high-risk venue where positive cases have been present and that they need to quarantine and take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test (RAT) or PCR test.

Mandatory face masks indoors

Everyone aged 12 years and older (unless exempt) is required to wear a face mask in indoor settings, from 12.01 am Tuesday 21 December 2021. We have compiled some tourism and hospitality specific FAQ for you below. Please see the Tasmanian Coronavirus page for more information including a full list of settings to which this mandate applies: Mandatory mask wearing in public | Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Are face masks mandatory in accommodation facilities?

Yes, a face mask is required in all public indoor settings, this includes communal areas of accommodation, such as:

  • hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants
  • shared amenities block
  • laundry
  • BBQ shelter.

Staff must also wear a face mask when cleaning/servicing rooms unless they are working by themselves and no other person is present in the room.

A face mask is not required when a guest is in their personal room or in residential settings including residential premises used as a B&B or AirBnB.

Do we have to wear face masks on a tour bus?

Yes, staff and passengers must wear a face mask on a tour bus.

Who is responsible for providing face masks?

Individuals are responsible for providing their own face mask, however a business may choose to have some on hand to provide to staff and patrons who may not have one.

What do I do if a patron refuses to wear a mask?

The responsibility for wearing a face mask is on individuals, not businesses. Of course, if a business wishes to provide face masks to its employees, they may.

If a customer enters without a face mask, you may request them to put one on. You may also choose to report your concerns using this web form: https://www.police.tas.gov.au/services-online/tasmanian-health-hotline-form-for-reporting-non-compliance/

There are certain exceptions to wearing a face mask, including for certified medical reasons. Reasons for not wearing a face mask are not always obvious, so it is important to be respectful of others.

Do kitchen staff have to wear a mask?

Face masks are required in all public indoor settings, this includes a workplace such as a kitchen.

There are certain exceptions to wearing a face mask, including if wearing a mask would create a risk to the health or safety of the person.  This may apply to the staff member when operating a fryer but not necessarily to other staff performing other duties in the kitchen.

Do face masks have to be worn at private events (closed to the public)?

Face masks are required in all public indoor settings, this includes a private event that is indoors

Definition of a “brief time”? (ie. taking your mask off for a brief time whilst eating or drinking?)

A face mask may be removed to eat or drink but must be put back on immediately after you have finished.

Who is responsible for enforcing the mask mandate?

Police and authorised officers under the Public Health Act are responsible for enforcing mask wearing. Business owners are not required under the public health direction to enforce mask wearing for staff or customers.

What is the fine if people don’t wear masks?

An infringement notice of $778.50 can be issued to a person for not wearing a face mask.

What are venues telling customers regarding mask wearing?

There is no obligation under the Public Health direction for venues to enforce mask wearing by customers. Businesses and operators are encouraged to reinforce to customers the importance of wearing a mask indoors.

Where can I go to get posters for my venue?

Posters and signage is available via the coronavirus website at: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/resources/keep-it-covid-safe

Vaccination requirements

The restriction on numbers of people dancing and drinking standing up at events and venues where alcohol is served, and where people are freely mixing, has been lifted from 6 December 2021.

However, all patrons must now be fully vaccinated to enter a pub, nightclub or bar, or to attend a licensed event where alcohol is served to people who are likely to be standing and drinking. All staff working in these areas must also be fully vaccinated from 15 December 2021.

Please see the Tasmanian Coronavirus page for more information: Pubs, bars, nightclubs and licensed events. This page contains links to the FAQ's and an easy to read flowchart to work out if the vaccine mandate applies to you:

FAQ's

Vaccination requirements - what is a relevant licensed venue?

Tourism and hospitality Q&A webinar

Robyn, WorkSafe Tasmania, and Kelly, Business Tasmania, sat down to have a conversation about what tourism and hospitality businesses can do to prepare to operate through the 15th of December and beyond. Watch the webinar here.