Face mask requirements for hospitality staff commence
From 5am, Thursday 23 December, masks will be required for hospitality staff across Queensland.
- Masks must be worn by hospitality staff who are interacting with patrons.
- Patrons are not required to wear masks in the main venue. Patrons and service staff must wear masks in detached and attached bottle shops
Other general face mask wearing requirements in the Community:
- You are not required to wear a mask outdoors.
- Masks must be worn on public transport, including platforms and ferry terminals.
Taxis and rideshares
- Masks must be worn in taxis and rideshares, including ranks.
- Masks must be worn at all times in shopping centres, supermarkets, retail outlets and shops. This includes detached and attached bottle shops.
Masks must be worn at all times by healthcare workers and visitors in hospitals, healthcare settings, residential aged care facilities, disability accommodations, and prisons.
You must wear a face mask and wear it in all indoor areas of a Queensland airport as well as outdoor passenger transport and passenger waiting areas, such as carparks and taxi ranks.
Face masks do not need to be worn in outdoor areas of an airport unless you are in a passenger transport or passenger waiting area.
Air crew and airport workers who are not interacting directly with passengers do not need to wear a face mask.
Domestic commercial flights
You must wear a face mask at all times if you are on a domestic commercial flight while the plane is at a Queensland airport or in Queensland airspace.
Please note other states have similar rules in place regarding the wearing of face masks on planes and in airports.
For more information on Queensland's mask mandate, please click here.
Changes to requirements for close and casual contacts – dealing with COVID-19 positive cases
From Wednesday 22 December 2021, there were changes to what you need to do when you come into contact with a COVID-19 case. Requirements have been eased for vaccinated people.
When a person tests positive to COVID-19, people they’ve come into contact with are classified as low risk, casual or close contacts.
Contact tracing is conducted by Queensland Health’s Public Health Units. You will be categorised as one of the below types of contact, based on a risk assessment. They consider your vaccination status, mask use, how long you were near the positive case and other epidemiological and environmental factors.
Requirements from 22 December 2021
Low risk casual contact
Definition: A person who has been in the same setting with a confirmed COVID-19 case in their infectious period, but does not meet the definition of a casual contact.
- No quarantine or testing requirements.
Definition: A person who has been near a COVID-19 case and there is some risk of transmission, but does not meet the definition of a close contact.
Casual contacts will need to:
- get a COVID-19 PCR test immediately, and
- home quarantine until receiving a negative test result.
Vaccinated close contact
Definition: A person who has had at least 15 minutes face-to-face contact or shared an enclosed space with a COVID-19 case, and there is a reasonable risk of infection. This will include household contacts, extensive social interaction with a case or being present at a high risk setting. Vaccinated means a person who is fully vaccinated – that is, has had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and it has been 7 days since their second dose.
Vaccinated close contacts will need to:
- quarantine for 7 days; and
- get a COVID-19 PCR test immediately, and on day 5.
If the day 5 test is negative, the contact may leave home quarantine on day 8, but must observe some additional precautionary measures until day 14 including:
- wearing a mask, when outside their home; and
- not visiting high-risk settings, such as hospitals, residential aged care, disability care accommodation and correctional facilities.
Vaccinated people who live in the same household as the contact do not need to quarantine, but are required to get a COVID-19 PCR test on day 1 and day 5. Unvaccinated people who live in the same household as the contact must follow the same quarantine and testing requirements as the contact, unless they can be separated from the contact.
Unvaccinated close contact
Definition: A person who has had at least 15 minutes face-to-face contact or shared an enclosed space with a COVID-19 case, and there is a reasonable risk of infection. This will include household contacts, extensive social interaction with a case or being present at a high risk setting. Unvaccinated means a person who is not fully vaccinated.
Unvaccinated close contacts will need to:
- quarantine for 14 days; and
- get a COVID-19 PCR test immediately, and on day 5 and day 12.
If the day 12 test is negative, the contact may leave home quarantine after completing their 14 days.
Vaccinated people who live in the same household as the contact, need to quarantine for 7 days and get a COVID-19 PCR test on day 1 and day 5, unless they can be separated from the contact. If the close contact is 12 years old or under, vaccinated people, who live in the same household as the contact, do not need to quarantine, but are required to get a COVID-19 PCR test on day 1 and day 5. Unvaccinated people, who live in the same household as the contact must follow the same quarantine and testing requirements as the contact, unless they can be separated from the contact.
Procedures for businesses
- Business owners can use the following procedures to conduct an initial risk assessment and take some initial actions.
- Business owners can do this as soon as they become aware that a COVID-19 positive person has attended the business or venue, and while awaiting a formal assessment by the local Queensland Health Public Health Unit.
Step 1: Determine if your staff had contact with the COVID-19 positive person within their infectious period
A COVID-19 positive person is generally considered to have been infectious from 48 hours prior to the onset of their symptoms (or, if they don’t have symptoms, 48 hours prior to when their positive test was taken).
Staff who have had no contact with the COVID-19 positive person will not be considered contacts. Generally, no further action on their part will required, unless advised otherwise by the Public Health Unit. For staff who did have contact with the COVID-19 positive person, continue to the next steps.
Step 2: Determine the duration of contact
For each staff member who had contact with the COVID-19 positive person, determine the cumulative amount of time they were in contact.
Generally, fleeting contact (less than 1 minute) or contact that is not prolonged (1-15 minutes) will mean the staff member is less likely to be considered a close contact than if they’d had prolonged contact (more than 15 minutes).
Step 3: Determine the proximity of contact
For each staff member who had contact with the COVID-19 positive person, determine if the distance between the COVID-19 positive person and the contact was less or more than 1.5m. Generally, the greater the distance, the lower the risk, and the less likely it is that the staff member will be considered a close contact.
Step 4: Queensland Health formal risk assessment
Queensland Health’s Public Health Units are responsible for a formal risk assessment and determining if a contact is low risk, casual or close. The Public Health Unit will make contact with the business as soon as possible to undertake this assessment.
In the interim, while awaiting further advice from the Public Health Unit, businesses can use the above procedures to help take some initial actions to determine which staff are most likely to be impacted, and notifying those staff to arrange to get a COVID-19 test and quarantine at home.
If a COVID-19 positive person attends a business or venue, it should be temporarily closed to perform cleaning. Most businesses will only need to close for a short time to perform a routine clean. Routine cleaning with standard household cleaning products is acceptable. A deep clean is not necessary.
Queensland COVID-19 cleaning rebate
The Queensland COVID-19 cleaning rebate supports small and medium businesses and not-for-profit organisations that have been listed as an exposure venue by Queensland Health. It will help cover professional cleaning expenses by providing a rebate for cleaning costs incurred at exposure venues in Queensland.
A rebate amount of up to 80% of the professional cleaning cost is available, capped at $10,000 per separate event where a business is identified as a site of potential COVID-19 transmission by Queensland Health.
Small and medium sized businesses and not-for-profit organisations that have an annual payroll in Queensland of less than $10 million can access a rebate. See the eligibility criteria HERE:https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/covid-19-restrictions/cleaning-rebate
Dealing with staff who must isolate – FAQs from QHA Employment Relations Team
Q: Our employee has been instructed by Queensland Health to self-isolate as they were a close contact (in the workplace or outside the workplace) of a positive case. What entitlements do they have?
Where an employee is unable to attend work for this reason, the employee is:
- Not entitled to payment of wages because of the inability to attend for work i.e. they have been told by Government authorities not to attend for work versus the employer telling them not to attend;
- Not entitled to take personal leave for the isolation period. This is because they are not ill (of course, this would change if they were displaying symptoms of illness);
- Able to apply for paid annual/long service leave if they have accruals for paid leave;
- Before 31 December 2021 (unless extended), is able to apply for 2 weeks unpaid pandemic leave available under Schedule X in the Hospitality Industry (General) Award 2020 (‘HIGA’).
With regards to Government support payments, employers can provide employees the following link to Services Australia Queensland Pandemic Leave payment, and encourage the employee to assess their eligibility and contact Services Australia: HERE https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/pandemic-leave-disaster-payment-queensland?context=60352.
Please note as eligibility for Government support payments is based on an employees specific circumstances, the QHA ER team cannot provide specific advice regarding the scheme or eligibility.
What support is available for an employee who contracts COVID-19 in the workplace?
As explained above, an employee required to self-isolate may apply to Services Australia for support. Additionally, if the employee is ill or injured they may apply for personal leave.
Additionally, the employee may lodge a workers’ compensation claim with WorkCover Queensland. WorkCover Queensland would then need to assess whether employment was the significant contributing factor to the employee contracting the illness or injury.
Vaccination measures are Queensland law and must be followed
The QHA is aware that many patrons attempt to challenge the legality of the vaccination measures - we have seen the Constitution, Anti-discrimination Acts (State & Federal), Human Rights, the Nuremberg Code, and various other statutes and ‘vibes’ cited, all proclaiming that the measures are illegal and unenforceable.
In short, these Directions are made under the Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) and are Queensland law which must be followed.
Dealing with difficult patrons
Advise patrons that these laws are no different to the speed limit, which your venue and staff do not set either. It is not the venue which has made these rules, these are Queensland government-imposed laws. In fact, Queensland is following what has been in place in other states of Australia for some time. The alternative is lockdowns and closed venues – consider that Victorian hotels were locked-down for 260+ days, and NSW hotels for 107+ days, the reality is that for many hotels and businesses in Queensland, if we had experienced these lockdowns then we would not even be open to have this conversation.
Queensland Hotels Association