COVID-19 UPDATE: VIC/QLD/NT/ACT
Following our email yesterday, ACWA updates members as follows.
Melbournians wake this morning to new and what appear to be the strictest ever COVID lockdown restrictions. At the same time, regional Victoria, which is currently COVID clear, will continue to function almost normally.
As reported yesterday, the lockdown in Metropolitan Melbourne has been extended by two weeks until 2 September 2021. In addition, there will be new restrictions introduced over the coming 36 hours.
And as a result of several incidents over the weekend, Victoria Police has also announced they will be taking more vigorous action on compliance. Car wash operators should be aware that penalties are harsh, see below.
The new restrictions on Melbourne businesses include:
- A curfew between 9 pm and 5 am. The curfew commences from tonight, 17 August 2021.
- The worker permit scheme introduced last year has been reinstated. Under the plan, permits will be required to leave the house for authorised work. The worker permit regulations come into effect from midnight tonight, 17 August 2021.
- Melbourne’s authorised worker list has been published here https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/authorised-provider-and-authorised-worker-list-0. Wash operators should read and understand the list and, please, seek legal advice if you intend to operate your car wash site.
- You may attend your car wash site (with a permit) to undertake urgent services necessary to protect your premises
- Should you need to attend your car wash site, a copy of the Authorised Worker Permit is available online. The permit, along with all the conditions associated with it, can be found here https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/authorised-provider-and-authorised-worker-permit
- Employers can issue a work permit to their employees if the organisation is on the list of Authorised providers and authorised workers. The lists can be located here https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/authorised-provider-and-authorised-worker-list-0
- There are significant penalties in place for individuals and businesses operating outside the rules. Up to $21,808 (for individuals) and $109,044 (for businesses) will apply to employers who issue work permits to employees who do not meet the requirements. On-the-spot fines of $1,817 (for individuals) and $10,904 (for businesses) apply to those not carrying their work permit when travelling to and from work.
- A list of penalties for non-compliance can be found here https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/fines-enforcement-and-reporting
On a brighter note. ACWA has received advice from Government that those members who applied for and received approval of the BCAP2 Grant will get the BCAP2 core grant ($2500 if regional, $5000 if metro) and then the subsequent top-ups, which collectively will come to more than $10k.
In a city that has suffered six lockdowns and dozens of lockdown extensions on top of these, we continue to think of all our members doing it tough in Melbourne.
New South Wales
New South Wales has managed to take Australia’s previously poor COVID regulation communication to the elevated level of abysmal.
For clarity, if there is such a thing, the NSW Government Website states that Stay-at-home Restrictions for regional NSW apply to all of regional NSW from 5 pm, Saturday 14 August 2021, until 12.01 am Sunday 22 August 2021. This means the whole of NSW is currently under stay at home restrictions. This statement can be seen here https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/affected-regions
The specific laws regarding stay-at-home restrictions are legislated and published by Brad Hazzard, the Minister for Health and Medical Research. Anyone who has a background in law or wishes to dive into the detail can find all of the orders and amendments issued by Mr Hazzard concerning COVID-19 here https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/information/covid19-legislation/temporary-movement-gathering-restrictions
It appears reasonably clear from these directions that car washes located at a Service Staton can open. The definition of a service station within the regulations is: Service station means a building or place used for the sale by retail of fuels and lubricants for motor vehicles, whether or not the building or place is also used for any one or more of the following:
- the ancillary sale by retail of spare parts and accessories for motor vehicles,
- the cleaning of motor vehicles,
- installation of accessories,
- inspecting, repairing and servicing of motor vehicles (other than body building, panel beating, spray painting, or chassis restoration),
- the ancillary retail selling or hiring of general merchandise or services or both.
ACWA is aware of several car washes that sell fuel, including those supplying gas bottles, which may fit into this category of business.
Throughout the COVID lockdown in NSW, there has been confusion about what constitutes an authorised worker. On 12 August 2021, the NSW Government published a list of authorised workers, allowing workers to leave their declared area to attend work. The list describes explicitly under section 10. (Transport, Postal and Warehousing) the function of “vehicle repairs and critical maintenance including disinfection” as an authorised worker activity. The list can be located here https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/authorised-workers
It may be logical to contend that if vehicle disinfection is an authorised worker activity, the Government also acknowledges cleaning vehicles is a valued service during COVID lockdowns.
To be clear, in providing the information above, ACWA is not providing legal advice; we are simply pointing out areas of NSW Government communications that may be of interest to car wash businesses wishing to operate their COVID safe businesses. We always encourage members to seek their own legal advice and be aware of the significant penalties that may apply if operating outside Government regulations.
Best of luck to members in NSW and the rest of Australia trusts there will be a reduction in COVID numbers soon. Please keep safe.
With effect from midday on 16 August 2021, Greater Darwin and the Katherine region went into snap lockdown for 72 hours. Information is available on the NT Government COVID-19 webpage here https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/stay-safe/covid-19-lockdown-restrictions-in-place?_cldee=c2NvdHRAcHJvd2FzaC5jb20uYXU%3d&recipientid=contact-7a039c0287e8e81180e6000d3ae0def9-f9635c14bc354d1385da7741a6a1d161&esid=b10e0050-44fe-eb11-94ef-00224810d98e
And the list of essential workers can be found here https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/business-and-work/essential-workers?_cldee=c2NvdHRAcHJvd2FzaC5jb20uYXU%3d&recipientid=contact-7a039c0287e8e81180e6000d3ae0def9-f9635c14bc354d1385da7741a6a1d161&esid=b10e0050-44fe-eb11-94ef-00224810d98e
Best wishes for a short lockdown to our Territorian members.
Australian Capital Territory
The Chief Minister has announced that ACT’s lockdown, which was planned to end on 19 August, will be extended until at least 2 September 2021.
We are thinking of our members in the ACT at this time.