As we all know, the world came to a stop when news of the COVID-19 virus sprung upon us. In the lengthy 8 months we have been in lockdown, businesses all across Victoria took a hit from the state of the economy.
According to statistics from the first instalment of the Impact of COVID-19 Businesses report, results show that the crisis has affected majority of business in Australia.
In April, approximately 58% of businesses owners reported that COVID-19 strongly affected their business, whilst another 22% reported that the virus only somewhat affected their business. Approximately 30% of businesses have had to reduce staff members due to COVID-19, causing a wave of unemployment amongst the state.
But after a tiresome lockdown, good news stands up ahead. With Victoria recording zero new cases for a few weeks straight, we are now able to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel.
As we cautiously head back into our daily routines, there are a few guidelines we should follow in order to safely return to normal:
COVID SAFE PLAN
As a part of the DHHS guidelines, businesses must have a developed COVIDSafe Plan in place. This plan essentially outlines precautions and measures employees and employers must take in order to ensure the working environment is clean and safe. The plan ensures that employers of a business understand the responsibilities of making sure the workplace is tidy and suitable for preventing illness by minimising the risk of spreading germs (i.e placing hand sanitiser around the space, putting up posters about social distancing, etc.) Templates for creating a suitable COVIDSafe Plan can be found here
RECORDING TEMPERATURES AND CONTACT TRACING
To ensure contact tracing procedures are implemented, it is ideal for businesses and workplaces to record the details of visitors and staff (such as their name and number) in the event that they spend longer than 15 minutes inside the business premises.
This can be recorded both electronically and in hard copy. A business may use a QR code to link to a quick form or use a written table with a pen to record.
CONFIRMED CASE IN THE WORKPLACE
It is an employer’s responsibility to respond to a confirmed case in the workplace. Immediate measures include sending the worker home to self-isolate, whether they have symptoms or not, notify the DHHS via email or calling 1300 651 160, notifying other workers as well as notifying WorkSafe. More information on dealing with confirmed cases can be found on the DHHS website
It is important to keep in mind that the roadmap to recovery is not an easy one. Challenges will be faced along the way. It is vital to communicate thoroughly with your employees to ensure that any problems that come up are solved immediately.
Returning to work in conditions such as these will be difficult, but the more you plan ahead, the easier it will be to ease back into our normal daily routines. New work schedules, hygiene practises and business models should be researched and implemented immediately, in order to provide a safe place for everybody.
By taking the right precautions and listening closely to the updates provided by the premier Daniel Andrews, and the Department of Health and Human Services, we will be able to work together to push through this period of time.