ACT COVID-19 - 25 March 2020
As a valued ACT member, NECA will be providing updates on COVID 19 each day for the foreseeable future. Please look out for this in your inbox and review in full.
We will endeavor to capture everything relevant to your business, but you will appreciate the situation is constantly evolving so please be patient.
Key developments in the last 24 hours
ACT public transport update
A range of changes to public transport are being implemented in response to the temporary shutdown of non-essential services in the ACT and changes to schools.
Operation of the bus and rail network
- While light rail and bus services, including the flexible bus service and special needs transport, will continue to operate, we are urging people to only use them if absolutely necessary.
- These services are essential for many in our community to get to the shops, to appointments and to and from work and we urge people to avoid non-essential travel to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
- Please avoid using public transport if you feel unwell.
- Cash will no longer be accepted on Transport Canberra buses until further notice. Please use MyWay or pre-purchased tickets from ticket vending machines.
Use of rear doors
- Customers are to enter and exit the bus via the rear doors at all stops unless you require the front doors for low floor access. Just tap on and off using the MyWay reader or pre-purchase a ticket from a ticket vending machine located at major stations. Drivers will only not open the front doors if there are safety concerns at particular locations.
Temporary closure of front seat
- The front seat of the bus will temporarily be closed off, providing more space between our drivers and customers.
Places of social gathering and Social Distancing
National Cabinet agreed to new and enhanced social distance measures, building on the existing measures that are in place. Worksites can and should remain open.
Federal advice is that schools should remain open but implementation of this varies by state.
Further restrictions and closures that will take affect from midnight Wednesday 25 March are listed below and here:
- Food courts to only serve via takeaway.
- Auction houses, real estate auctions and open house inspections will no longer take place.
- Outdoor and indoor markets (excluding food markets) will be addressed by state Government.
- Beauty therapists and massage parlours will close.
- Tanning, waxing and nail salons will close.
- Tattoo parlours will close
- Amusement parks and arcades will close.
- Play centres will close.
- Community and recreational centres, health clubs and fitness centres will close.
- Yoga, barre and spin classes will close.
- Saunas and wellness centres will close.
- Boot camps and personal training will be limited to 10 people maximum.
- Weddings will be limited to no more than five people (including celebrant and witnesses).
- Funerals will be limited to no more than 10 people.
- Family gatherings such as barbecues, birthdays and house parties will not be allowed.
- Hairdressers/barbers will be allowed to remain open with four-square-metre distancing requirement and 30-minute appointments only.
- Cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, gambling venues, adult entertainment venues, concert venues, stadiums all closed.
- Galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, libraries, community centres all closed.
- Non-essential facilities, community facilities such as halls, PCYCs and places of worship closed.
- Schools will remain open.
Ban on Australians travelling overseas
The Commonwealth Government is planning to implement a ‘do not travel’ ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015.
This will help avoid travellers returning to Australia with coronavirus and the risks of spreading coronavirus to other countries.
Exemptions, which will be managed by the Australian Border Force, will apply to a range of categories of travellers, including for those citizens ordinarily resident overseas, where travel is essential or necessary, where travel is in our national interest, and on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.
This prohibition is aligned with the Government’s decision to raise the Smartraveller Travel Advice to Level 4 - Do Not Travel overseas.
Key past announcements
As of 5pm, 23 March 2020 visits to residential aged care facilities in the ACT will be restricted.
ACT public schools will still be able to safely receive and provide learning for the children of parents and carers engaged in essential services (such as our healthcare sector) who are unable to care for their children at home, as well as vulnerable children and those with additional needs.
From this week, the ACT is moving towards a program of alternative teaching models from term 2. Further information is here.
The ACT Minister for Education announced that from Tuesday 24 March all ACT public schools will go pupil free until the school holidays due to begin on Thursday 9 April, 2020. Further information here.
ACT State Stimulus Package
The Federal Government package includes the following measures:
- expansion to the eligibility of Jobseeker Payments to support sole traders and the self-employed,
- cash payment of up to $100,000 for the period March 2020 to September 2020, worth 100% of the tax those small and medium size businesses (SME) with a turnover less than $50 million are withholding from their employee’s salary and wages,
- coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme to support SMEs with a turnover less than $50 million. The Commonwealth will guarantee 50%, through the participating banks, of an eligible loan to small and medium enterprise customers that have been impacted by the coronavirus,
- cash flow support to employers, whereby the Government is providing up to $100,000 to eligible SMEs, and not-for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000,
- temporary relief for financially distressed businesses,
- immediate, quick and efficient credit for SMEs.
Business advice and support
NECA is mobilising resources to support members, in particular to access government support outlined above.
Relevant employment legislation – Fair Work has published these FAQs which providing guidance on managing employment issues arising from COVID 19.
NECA has updated its Stand Down advice. Please see the latest document here.
Webinars - NECA is hosting a series of webinars, which members can register for here.
Workplace health and safety advice and support
For information please log on into the NECA TKB. To access TKB, please click on the link www.necatkb.com
Once you have logged in click on the Safety STAR icon. Safety STAR is located on the NECA TKB website, you will need to log into NECA TKB.
Policy proposals/ media releases
NECA is developing a comprehensive set of policy proposals aimed at helping members manage the current crisis and rebuild in the future.
Payroll tax: NECA is calling for state governments to give businesses a ‘hand up, not a hand out’ by abolishing payroll tax for all small and medium businesses to help combat the continued economic turmoil caused by COVID-19.Link to media release
Contracting an essential service: Electrical contracting constitutes an essential service as set out in legislation, and NECA will be advocating accordingly so work can go ahead when it is safe to do so.
Support for apprentices: NECA is calling for the federal government to take a holistic approach to supporting apprentices in these challenging times. Link to media release
Please monitor the following sources for the latest health advice:
NECA has a dedicated webpage for all COVID 19 updates here.