With stage 3 restrictions now in force, I would like to thank hotel licensees for their efforts to adhere to the requirements mandated by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer (CHO). I know it has been a challenge adjusting to the ‘new normal’ of restrictions, while at the same time looking forward to welcoming patrons back into your venues.

Our compliance officers are on the ground throughout the state keeping an eye on compliance to the CHO requirements. Education was prioritised over enforcement initially and OLGR officers will continue to help licensees understand the requirements fully if they need help.

By now, however, you should have a good grasp of how you can safely operate your business within the current restrictions. Please make it your priority to follow the Queensland Hotels and Clubs Industry COVID Safe Plan which gives you step by step guidance on all aspects of operating a COVID-safe business.

Licence fee relief

Liquor licence fees for 2020–21 will be waived for licensees current as at 30 June 2020 under the Queensland Government’s economic relief package. Other elements of the package included allowing for a range of payroll tax relief, allocating funds for re-training and job-matching, and providing a $500 rebate on electricity bills. Read more details on our web content under Support and relief for liquor and gaming licensees affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Stage 3 restrictions

Stage 3 restrictions commenced on July 3 and subject to further review includes interstate travel from July 10.  To understand what the latest restrictions mean for your business, it is important you read:

  • the latest direction from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer on restrictions on business, activities and undertakings
  • advice on how to understand the direction (including common questions and answers about the direction).

Under stage 3, all businesses can open in line with the COVID Safe Framework. This means they must operate under:

  • an approved COVID Safe Plan, or
  • where a business elects not to operate under an Approved Plan – an applicable COVID Safe Checklist, for a maximum of 50 people.

Approved industry COVID Safe Plans currently exist for Queensland’s liquor and gaming industries:

  • Retail food services Industry COVID Safe Plan – for restaurants, cafes and caterers
  • Queensland Hotels and Clubs (also applicable to bars, nightclubs and other types of liquor service venues)
  • Queensland Wineries
Reopening of gaming and gambling help awareness

With the recommencement of gaming at  hotels, please consider the important role you play in supporting your patrons’ well-being.

Many of your patrons are dealing with the impacts of COVID-19, and may be experiencing unemployment, isolation, loneliness, anxiety or depression. This could place them at a heightened risk of gambling harm.

For others, venue closures have presented a unique opportunity to start addressing their gambling problems and you can assist them by ensuring your venue has appropriate harm minimisation strategies in place.

OLGR has developed an online guide on how you can support your patrons as gaming restarts, covering:

  • how to communicate options for support and provide gambling services responsibly.
  • a step-by-step guide to remote self-exclusion for patrons who may want to continue their break from in-venue gambling by excluding from a venue, or multiple venues, through a Gambling Help service, without physically attending a venue.

Over the coming weeks we’ll also be sharing important messaging through our social media pages and we encourage you to share these posts on your business page, to not only raise awareness, but show your patrons that you are committed to reducing the risk of gambling-related harm at your venue.

Remember, Queensland Gambling Help services are not only there to help those in need, but also offer support to industry on how you can communicate and work with patrons. Reach out to your local gambling help service today to find out how you can make a difference.

Changes to patron numbers for businesses

The number of patrons you can have at your venue is now determined by the amount of floor space you have available, rather than the type of business you operate.

Under stage 3, the maximum number of patrons permitted in any venue at any one time is determined by the 4 square metre (sqm) rule (1 person per 4 sqm), unless your venue is under 200sqm.

Smaller venues with a floor space of 200 sqm or less can have up to 1 person per 2 sqm, to a maximum total of 50 patrons at a time.

For example:

  • If your venue has 300 sqm of floor space (incl. indoor and outdoor), you can have up to 75 patrons (1 per 4 sqm rule applies)
  • If your venue has 150 sqm of floor space you can have up to 50 people
  • If your venue has 60 sqm of floor space, you can have up to 30 people (1 person per 2 sqm allowed).

Physical distancing (also known as social distancing) rules still apply. Where possible, people should remain 1.5 metres away from others (except if they are in the same group). It is also important that you manage your business so that patrons are spread across the venue, allowing for physical distancing to be observed.


Changes to seating and service requirements

Under stage 3, patrons can order, pay, eat and drink at the bar.

Patrons no longer need to be seated but should practice physical distancing (1.5m away from others - except if they are in the same group).

Venues are required to manage the risk and numbers of congregated patrons in accordance with their Industry COVID Safe Plan or COVID Safe Checklist.

ID Scanning

Regulated premises subject to ID scanning requirements in Safe Night Precincts must fully comply with all scanning requirements from 10pm on Friday 3 July 2020 i.e. regulated licensees who are authorised to sell alcohol after midnight on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and the day before a Public Holiday or are open past 1am on Monday to Thursday nights must use their ID Scanner to scan IDs from 10pm.

Former approved operator QikID is in liquidation and as a result, no longer provides ID scanning services.  This means QIkID customers, who have not yet engaged a new approved operator, are required to use manual ban lists provided by the Queensland Police Service.

This is a temporary arrangement and all former QikID customers must engage a new approved operator by no later than 10 July 2020.

Update for entertainment

Dance Floors
Venues that include a dance floor must not operate that dance floor for dancing, other than as a dance studio or for a dance class.

Adult entertainment
Under stage 3 adult entertainment can be conducted providing it is operated under the new checklist for Adult Entertainment Areas in the Queensland Hotels and Clubs Industry COVID Safe Plan.

Under stage 3 nightclubs can open under a new checklist for Entertainment (DJ and Live Entertainment Areas) in the Queensland Hotels and Clubs Industry COVID Safe Plan. In the interest of preventing unnecessary contact or transmission, dancing at nightclubs is prohibited. Nightclubs can use dance floors for other purposes subject to social distancing requirements e.g. dining or drinking.

Collecting Contact Information

 Finally, a reminder that it is essential all venues must collect and keep contact information for ALLguests and staff attending their venue. The following information for each person must be recorded and retained for a period of 56 days:

  • name
  • email address
  • mobile phone number
  • date and time period of patronage

These records must be complete and accurate, as they are critical for health authorities to contact trace efficiently if a person who is subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19 attended your venue.

You do not need to collect contact details for patrons buying takeaway.

While Queensland has done exceptionally well in managing COVID-19 we are faced with the very real risk of a second wave if stage 3 easing is not managed well.