QLD COVID-19 UPDATE

24 AUGUST UPDATE

A Queensland resident who is a construction or energy sector worker can only enter and return from the NSW border zone in extremely limited circumstances. Definitions of essential work have been clarified and tightened. As a result, for example, a construction worker working on non-critical construction, such as a residential or commercial project, will now need to apply through the Queensland Health Portal for an endorsement to:

  • enter Queensland from the NSW border zone, or
  • enter the NSW border zone and return to Queensland.

Further, workers who enter the NSW border zone are required to follow quarantine (stay at home) requirements until 14 days have passed since the person was in the NSW border zone. If a worker enters a hotspot outside the border zone, they may only be permitted to enter Queensland after undertaking 14 days of quarantine at their own cost in Government nominated accommodation. 

The existing Queensland Health portal has been redeveloped to allow businesses to also submit essential worker applications to DEPW for endorsement. The essential worker process remains separate to the Specialist Worker Exemption Process, for which there is a separate drop down option within the same portal. Link to Queensland Health Portal: https://healthserviceportal.health.qld.gov.au/hdsp

If you have any questions or are seeking clarification on your circumstances or the Border Restrictions Direction please call 134 COVID (13 42 68). Alternatively, additional information and comprehensive Q&A’s are available on the Queensland Health website on the ‘Travelling to Queensland‘ page. 

Essential workers currently permitted to cross into Queensland from New South Wales (X, XQ or XN Pass holders) are required to have at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccination by Saturday 21 August 2021.

Essential workers will need to have proof of vaccination. Proof of vaccination includes:

  • immunisation history statement from the Australian Immunisation Register
    (call 1800 653 809)
  • COVID-19 digital certificate (available on your Medicare account via MyGov)
  • immunisation history statement (from your regular healthcare provider or MyGov).

Find out more about vaccinations for essential workers including walk-in vaccination locations.

 

16 AUGUST UPDATE
Situation in NSW – A Building and Construction Industry Update

In line with advice from the Department of Energy and Public Works we advise as follows;

As you will have seen over the weekend that following the NSW announcements, Queensland will be requiring any New South Wales resident who lives anywhere in the border zone to only enter Queensland for very limited essential reasons. The restrictions currently in place for the 7 LGAs have been expanded to the entire border zone from 8pm, 14 August 2021.

The reasons to cross the border into Queensland to work will be restricted to essential work only.

This is currently clearly defined in the Border Restrictions Direction.

Essential work refers to work that is urgently required for safety reasons, for emergency repairs, or that is necessary to maintain essential services and supplies to the community, or to a part of the community, including work performed by a tradesperson or construction worker for essential or emergency construction or repairs only.

If you are entering Queensland for essential work, or returning from permitted work in the border zone, you may be asked for evidence that you are performing essential work. This evidence could include a letter on your employers letterhead, your roster or a booked appointment that shows you need to be physically present to perform essential work.

Entry into Queensland for essential travel is only permitted to persons who are eligible to enter under the Direction and have a Queensland Border Declaration Pass. Essential workers can apply for a Queensland Border Declaration Pass online.

A Queensland resident returning from the border zone will need to quarantine at a private residence, as per Part 6A in the Border Restrictions Direction.

Please note: Part 6A provides a number of permitted reasons for Queensland residents who have returned from the border zone and are quarantining to leave their private residence including: to obtain food, obtain essential medical care or supplies or to perform essential work and the work is of a nature that cannot be performed from the person’s place of residence.  

Further to this, the Chief Health Officer Dr Young has announced this morning that Border controls are set to be strengthened further from Friday. Essential workers with an exemption to cross into Queensland — including emergency and health workers — will need to have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

Read more about the restrictions details on movement and gathering, businesses and events and face masks on the Queensland Government’s website.

Anyone who is a close contact, has been in declared hotspot or interstate exposure venue of concern must not visit any Queensland residential aged care facility or shared disability accommodation service centre.

You can read more about the Chief Health Officer’s public health direction for the impacted area here.

 

BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION REMAINS OPEN

As was the case during the recent short lockdowns in January and March 2021, building and construction is considered an essential service, and remains open for business. You must follow your COVID-19 plan, ensure your hygiene and social distancing measures are in place and wear a mask wherever possible.

The building and construction industry is not currently a restricted industry (refer to Schedule 3 of Restrictions for Locked Down Areas (South-East Queensland) Direction (No. 4).

Remembering the purpose of the lockdown is to stop the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant, it is important to take a practical, common-sense approach to what building and construction activity needs to continue now.

Work on unoccupied construction sites, both commercial and residential can continue.

Essential work, which means work (both new and in progress) required to make a building and/or property safe, accessible, secure and functional, may occur – in consultation with the owner. This includes occupant safety and accessibility, emergency repairs or essential services on occupied buildings.

Outdoor work in occupied residences may continue subject to the above points. 

Otherwise, please consider whether the work can be postponed until after the current lockdown ends. This includes commencing or quoting a new job.

When travelling to and from and working on-site, COVID-safe business practices should be used at all times and contractors and employees should all understand why it is essential to undertake the work.

Compliance and enforcement activities

QPS has an important and at times difficult role in ensuring Queenslanders adhere to the current restrictions.

QPS has reconfirmed that it will continue to do this with tact and common sense, however, unfortunately some Queenslanders have not done the right thing and continue to travel for reasons other than those specified as allowed under the current health directives or by not adhering to face mask requirements.

As a result, the QPS has in the past few days increased its compliance and enforcement activities efforts, for the benefit of all Queenslanders. These heightened efforts may result in your members workers being stopped and questioned. To assist QPS, please encourage employees to take necessary measures for them to be able to

  • clearly identify themselves as a building and construction worker and
  • confidently explain the reason for their travel (for example to undertake urgent/ necessary repair or service work or to work on a commercial construction site).

EXTRA ADVICE FOR MEMBERS

  • Ensure your COVID-19 plan is up-to-date
  • Implement hygiene measures – hand wash, sanitiser, and cleaning protocols
  • Ensure social distancing measures are in place and enforced
  • Limit numbers of people doing tasks to only those necessary
  • Schedule work so that numbers of people in the same place are limited
  • When dealing with homeowners – ensure that you only undertake work that is essential, and send only those people who are needed to perform the work.
  • The Institute has a site visit checklist that you might consider if going for a site visit

No statement has been issued restricting architects travelling to construction sites to undertake necessary works, as long as their presence does not exceed the total number of permitted persons on that site.

In the circumstance that a construction site to which an employee is travelling is further than 5km from an employee’s home, it is recommended that employees carry written authorisation from their employer relevant to that site and to that day. The wearing of masks, physical distancing and sanitising practices must be observed on site as they are elsewhere.

No statement has been issued to clarify if the provision for construction sites apply to Architects visiting occupied premises for new scoping and measurement work. 


Support for small businesses 

The Australian Government is taking action to support businesses during the COVID-19 health crisis. For more information on assistance for businesses, go to https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses 

More information For the latest advice, information and resources, go to www.health.gov.au For more information on responding to COVID-19 in the workplace, go to https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces 

Call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

BOAQ provides additional guidance for small business support

2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants

The Queensland Government has announced that $5,000 grants will be made available to small and medium businesses across Queensland affected by the current COVID-19 lockdown (commenced Saturday 31 July 2021) and lockdowns in other states.

The Queensland Government recognises the short interval between lockdowns in South East Queensland, and the unique circumstances faced by regional economies who are impacted by multiple border closures. These $5,000 grants will provide cashflow support for businesses to help them adapt to evolving circumstances.

Support payments will also be provided to affected large tourism and hospitality businesses within the lockdown areas.

The 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants will provide grants of $5,000 (excluding GST) to:

  • employing small and medium businesses across Queensland that are impacted by the current SEQ lockdown; and
  • large businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors operating in the 11 local government areas in lockdown.

Businesses must have experienced at least a 30% reduction in turnover as a result of the lockdown to be eligible as well as meeting other eligibility criteria.

Small and medium businesses are defined as businesses that have a turnover of more than $75,000 per annum and have an annual payroll in Queensland of up to $10 million.

Sole traders that are employing businesses will be eligible for the grants if they are not receiving, or are not eligible to receive, income support through the Australian Government’s disaster payment.  Non employing sole traders may be eligible for support through the COVID-19 Disaster Payment with further information available on the Services Australia website.

Applications for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants are now open.

Applications for these grants will remain open for three months, so there is time to get your application ready and apply.
Guidelines on how to apply for the grants are now available at: www.business.qld.gov.au/supportgrant

The 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants will provide grants of $5,000 to employing small and medium businesses and large businesses in the hospitality and tourism sectors across Queensland that have been impacted by the recent SEQ or Cairns lockdowns.

Importantly, all eligible businesses who apply for a grant during the 3-month application period will receive a grant.

Getting ready to apply – important information

When the program opens, the online application form for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants will be available via the QRIDA application portal.

Creating a QRIDA profile is the first step in the application process. Businesses without a profile can create a profile prior to applications opening. When applications open on Monday 16 August you must log into your profile on the portal to complete and submit your application.

Step by step instructions on how to create a QRIDA portal profile are available at: www.business.qld.gov.au/supportgrant

More information

The guidelines, eligibility criteria, template accountant letter and a range of frequently asked questions are now available at: www.business.qld.gov.au/supportgrant

Further information on the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants including eligibility criteria and details of how to apply will be available shortly from: www.business.qld.gov.au/supportgrant


Can staff go to work? 

Staff who are unwell should not go to work. If staff develop symptoms at work such as fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath they should seek medical advice. For more information on identifying the symptoms of COVID-19, go to https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-identifying-the-symptoms 

If a worker is found to have COVID-19 you need to follow the health advice provided by the local public health authority. More information for employers on what to do if a worker has COVID-19, is at: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces/industryinformation/general-industry-information/covid-19-your?tab=tab-toc-employer 

Isolation is when a person is found to have the condition and needs to stay away from others to protect the community from illness. If you have an employee who has been confirmed to have COVID-19, public health authorities may contact the workplace. People confirmed to have COVID-19 require a formal period of isolation and cannot go to work until they are formally released by the local public health unit or their treating clinician.

For more information for employers see Queensland Government: Business Queensland’s Business health and safety resources for coronavirus (COVID-19). The Queensland Government has also provided a Guidance: Workplace Health and Safety note that provide useful guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19 at the workplace.

For more information, head to the Queensland Health website. 

The Check In Qld app website provides answers to common questions or you can contact 134 COVID (12 42 68) for support.

 

CHECK IN QLD APP

From 1am on Friday, 9 July, the Check In Qld app will become mandatory for a number of new sectors and it will become very common place for you to be required to check in when attending supermarkets and shopping centres and numerous other settings.


Building sites

Building sites are not considered restricted businesses in the Queensland Government health directive or included in the required sectors outlined in the Check In Qld app details, therefore, use of the app on building sites is not mandatory. However, they can absolutely participate if they wish to do so as a business.


How to register your business

It is easy to register your own business so you are complying with the requirements. Visit the Check in Qld website and register your business. The process takes up to three business days and you will be supplied with a business set-up guide, including a QR code poster. You can print and display these posters in multiple accessible locations. If you have customers who cannot use the app, there is a business profile mode that can be used for you to check them in.