What Victoria’s coronavirus roadmap to reopening means for your business

Following an incredibly challenging period for businesses across Victoria, the government has announced a five-step roadmap to widespread reopening. While regional businesses will be allowed to open up slightly faster than those in Metropolitan Melbourne, across all areas, moving from one step to the next will come down to reaching targeted drops in new coronavirus cases.

With so much information on offer, it can be difficult to understand what all of this means for your business. The situation is subject to change, so we recommend that you keep checking the Victorian Government’s sources for the latest update (see here for regional and here for Metropolitan Melbourne). In the meantime, the Xero team has put together a helpful summary to help you decipher what comes next in your journey to recovery.

Understanding your industry restriction levels

Each industry has been assigned a different restriction level depending on which step of the roadmap we are in. This is guided by the following categories (you can find more details here):

Closed:

– No people on site except for emergency maintenance and repairs.

Heavily restricted:

– Ensure physical distancing.

– Staff can only attend work if permitted. Staff in permitted work premises must work from home if they can.
– Apply density quotient.
– Reduce staff levels.
– Limit number of patrons.
– No carpooling to work.

– Wear masks.
– Practise good hygiene.
– Keep records and act quickly if staff become unwell.

– Ask staff to declare in writing or electronically before each shift that they are free of symptoms, have not been in contact with a confirmed case and have not been directed to isolate.

– Create workforce bubbles.

– Ensure that staff members are not working across other work sites (exceptions apply).

Restricted:

– Ensure physical distancing.

– Staff should work from home wherever possible.
– Apply density quotient.
– Some sectors allowed to lessen the reduction in staff levels.
– Some sectors allowed to lessen the reduction in patrons.
– No carpooling to work.

– Practise good hygiene.
– Keep records and act quickly if staff become unwell.

– Ask staff to declare verbally before each shift that they are free of symptoms.

– Create workforce bubbles.

– Limit number of staff members working across other work sites.

Open with a COVIDSafe plan: 

– Staff should work from home wherever possible (to be relaxed over time).
– Apply density quotient for some settings (could be reduced over time).
– Ensure staff follow current public health directions when carpooling.

Following the five-step roadmap to reopening

The Victorian Government’s ‘coronavirus roadmap to reopening’ details a five-step plan from the heavily restricted Step One through to ‘COVID Normal’. In order to determine which level your business is able to operate at across each step of the roadmap, take a look at the breakdown across Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria below (with the final two steps being the same for both locations). If you’re still unsure about how the five-step plan will affect your business, please check with your advisor.

Metropolitan Melbourne

Step One

When? Commences at 11.59pm on 13 September. 

Construction: Heavily restricted. Workforce restrictions.
Hair and beauty: Closed.
Hospitality: Heavily restricted. Takeaway and delivery only.
Manufacturing: Heavily restricted. Closed unless permitted.
Offices and professional services: Closed (staff to work from home).
Retail (permitted): Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Retail (non-permitted): Heavily restricted. Click and Collect within 5km or delivery only.
Indoor physical recreation (gyms, fitness centres, etc): Closed.
Tourism operators: Closed.

Step Two

When? Later of the two: threshold being met or 28 September.
Threshold details: Move from Step One to Step Two if we reach an average daily case rate of 30-50 cases in Metro Melbourne over the previous 14 days with public health advice regarding transmission source.

Construction: Restricted.
Hair and beauty: Closed.
Hospitality: Heavily restricted. Takeaway and delivery only.
Manufacturing: Restricted.
Offices and professional services: Closed (staff to work from home).
Retail (permitted): Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Retail (non-permitted): Heavily restricted. Click and Collect within 5km or delivery only.
Indoor physical recreation (gyms, fitness centres, etc): Closed.
Tourism operators: Closed.

Step Three

When? Later of the two: threshold being met or 26 October 2020.
Threshold details: Move from Step Two to Step Three if we reach less than five new cases (state-wide average over previous 14 days) and less than five cases with unknown source (state-wide total last 14 days). 

Construction: Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Hair and beauty: Restricted. Hairdressers and beauty services open where a face covering can be worn for the duration of service.
Hospitality: Restricted. Predominantly outdoor dining with a patron cap. Density quotient applies.
Manufacturing: Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Offices and professional services: Restricted. Employees must work from home or single site where reasonably practicable.
Retail (permitted): Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Retail (non-permitted): Restricted. Open with density quotients and cleaning requirements.
Indoor physical recreation (gyms, fitness centres, etc): Heavily restricted.
Tourism operators: Restricted. Limited booking sizes.

Last Step

When? Later of the two: threshold being met or 23 November 2020.
Threshold details: Move from Step Three to Last Step if we reach no new cases for 14 days (state-wide). 

Construction: Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Hair and beauty: Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Hospitality: Restricted. Patron cap per space indoors. Density quotient applies outdoors, no patron cap.
Manufacturing: Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Offices and professional services: Restricted. Employees must work from home or single site where reasonably practicable.
Retail (permitted): Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Retail (non-permitted): Restricted. Open with density quotients and cleaning requirements.
Indoor physical recreation (gyms, fitness centres, etc): Restricted.
Tourism operators: Restricted. Limited booking sizes.

COVID Normal

When? When the threshold is met.
Threshold details: Move from Last Step to COVID Normal if we reach no new cases for 28 days (state-wide), no active cases (state-wide) and no outbreaks of concern in other states or territories. 

Construction: Open with a COVIDSafe plan. No density quotient.
Hair and beauty: Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Hospitality: Open with a COVIDSafe plan. No density quotient.
Manufacturing: Open with a COVIDSafe plan. No density quotient.
Offices and professional services: Open with a COVIDSafe plan. No density quotient.
Retail (permitted): Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Retail (non-permitted): Open with a COVIDSafe plan. No density quotient.
Indoor physical recreation (gyms, fitness centres, etc): Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Tourism operators: Open with a COVIDSafe plan.

Regional Victoria

Regional Victoria moves straight to Step Two.

Step Two

When? Commences at 11.59pm on 13 September. 

Construction: Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Hair and beauty: Restricted. Hairdressers open. Beauty services closed.
Hospitality: Heavily restricted. Takeaway and delivery only.
Manufacturing: Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Offices and professional services: Restricted. Employees must work from home or single site where reasonably practicable.
Retail (permitted): Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Retail (non-permitted): Restricted. Open with density quotients and cleaning requirements.
Indoor physical recreation (gyms, fitness centres, etc): Closed.
Tourism operators: Restricted. Closed.

Step Three

When? When the threshold is met.
Threshold details: Move from Step Two to Step Three when regional Victoria reaches less than five new cases (regional average over last 14 days) and zero cases with an unknown source (regional total last 14 days).

Construction: Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Hair and beauty: Restricted. Hairdressers and beauty services open where a face covering can be worn for the duration of service.
Hospitality: Restricted. Predominantly outdoor dining with a patron cap. Density quotient applies.
Manufacturing: Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Offices and professional services: Restricted. Employees must work from home or single site where reasonably practicable.
Retail (permitted): Open with a COVIDSafe plan.
Retail (non-permitted): Restricted. Open with density quotients and cleaning requirements.
Indoor physical recreation (gyms, fitness centres, etc): Heavily restricted.
Tourism operators: Restricted. Limited booking sizes.

Last Step

Same restrictions apply across Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria (see above).

COVID Normal

Same restrictions apply across Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria (see above).

Charting the road to recovery

The road to recovery will undoubtedly be a bumpy one, but there is support to be found. If your business is in need of aid during this challenging time, you may be eligible for the extended JobKeeper 2.0 scheme. The Xero team will be presenting a series of webinars that detail what the scheme involves, how to process JobKeeper payments in Xero payroll and provide plain language examples to support you.

Remember, while the physical aspect of your business may need to stay closed for now, your customers can still find you online. You can learn more about making the move online and find further advice on how to adapt your business amidst shifting circumstances inside Stronger and Smarter: a small business handbook.

Continuing business at times like these is tougher than ever. Xero’s business continuity hub has pulled together the latest information, tools and resources on everything from government aid to wellbeing and managing cash flow to help guide you through.


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