As featured in Bowls Queensland’s August edition of the Queensland Bowler.
The information contained in this article is current at the time of publication. Please note that elements of the Industry Plan may change as restrictions continue to shift.
On 10 July 2020, in line with stage 3 easing of coronavirus restrictions a week earlier, the State Government approved amendments to the Industry COVID Safe Plan for Queensland Hotels & Clubs (Industry Plan).
Overview of the Industry Plan
- Businesses compliant with the Industry Plan are able to offer services to an increased number of patrons than allowed under the ordinary COVID-19 restrictions;
- In order to opt-in to the Industry Plan, businesses must follow and comply with all requirements of the Industry Plan and sign and date the Statement of Compliance on the Business Premises; and
- The maximum number of patrons permitted in a venue is determined by the four square metre rule, unless the venue is smaller than 200m2, in which case one patron is allowed for every two square metres (up to a maximum of 50 patrons).
Self-service food tables & buffets
Self-serve buffets remain prohibited under the Industry Plan, in line with the directions of the Chief Health Officer. This prohibition extends to most forms of communal food sharing, including the placing of table platters to be shared amongst diners.
Pool tables, darts and jukeboxes
Communal recreation activities, such as the use of pool tables, dart boards and jukeboxes are permitted, provided their use is in compliance with the Industry Plan. Compliance calls for the encouragement of physical distancing and the installation of hygiene measures (such as hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes) in areas with frequently touched communal equipment.
Weddings, events and private functions
The Queensland Government has recently published an Industry COVID Safe Plan for Weddings. Noting that there is currently a maximum of 100 attendees at a wedding ceremony, this does not extend to a reception, provided that the venue complies with the four square metre rule, the 100 guest limit does not apply to receptions.
It is important to keep in mind that venues are obligated to maintain a safe environment in and around their venues. This principle extends to implementing measures to manage patrons queued outside the Premises. Where possible, it is suggested that you remind patrons of the importance of physical distancing and to be realistic regarding wait times to avoid unnecessary queuing.
The Industry Plan identifies Courtesy Transport Vehicles as a risk environment, but allows their use. The Industry Plan requires that:
- A record of all courtesy transport users is kept, with all users to sign the register;
- The passenger seat beside the driver must remain vacant to maintain appropriate physical distancing;
- Wherever practical, passengers spread out in the vehicle to maintain physical distancing where possible; and
- Signage be installed in the vehicle encouraging passengers to leave a gap between themselves and others where possible.
The Industry Plan includes a special checklist in relation to the operation of gaming facilities (including pokies, TAB and Keno). The checklist deals with matters relating to physical distancing (including separate entry and exit points, floor markings and physical barriers) as well as hygiene and cleaning matters. Close regard should be paid to these practices, specifically in relation to how patron interactions (such as at payout) are handled.
Compliance officers from the Office of Liquor and Gaming have commented that venues are becoming complacent in collecting mandatory contact details, as required by both the Industry Plan and the Chief Medical Officer’s Public Health Directions.
The fines for non-compliance with these obligations are severe and it is important that venues collect and keep contact information for all dine-in guests and staff (as well as those users of courtesy transport as outlined above) for 56 days. It is recommended that venues install signage to serve as a reminder to both staff and patrons of their obligations in relation to tracing information.
Although Queensland has had positive results to date, it is important that the club industry does not become complacent, and remains vigilant in following the Industry Plan, so as to avoid the types of outbreaks we have seen in other states. If you have any questions about what your venue needs to do in order to comply, please do not hesitate to call me on 07 3224 0353.