Note: Restrictions have been in place that may impact the snow and ski industry. These restrictions are being relaxed in different jurisdictions at different times. The snow and ski industry must only operate to the extent permissible in each state or territory they are located. The information below outlines measures which cover all aspects of the operations of the snow and ski industry - depending on what is permissible in your jurisdiction, some sections may not be currently relevant.

The information below provides guidance on physical distancing during step 2 of the 3-step framework for a COVIDSafe Australia. Some states and territories have updated public health directions to adjust physical distancing rules in line with local circumstances, for example, revising the one person per 4 square metres rule to one person per 2 square metres in some circumstances. 

For more information about physical distancing requirements, go to your relevant state and territory government website. You can also go to our Public health directions and COVIDSafe plans page for links to enforceable government directions.

Physical distancing (also referred to as ‘social distancing’) refers to the requirement that people distance themselves from others. The current advice from the Department of Health is that everyone must keep at least 1.5 metres apart from others (outside of their family unit) where possible. In addition, in a given space, there must be 4 square metres of space per person where possible. 

You should also consider whether you are required to comply with any physical distancing measures issued under public health directions in your state or territory. See also our information on public health directions – COVID-19 for links to enforceable government directions in your state or territory.

Why is physical distancing important?

Physical distancing is necessary because the most likely way of catching the virus is by coming into contact with micro-droplets from another person sneezing, coughing, or exhaling. By ensuring there is 4 square metres of space per person and maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others where possible, you will reduce the likelihood of exposure to micro-droplets of others. 

Current health advice is that everyone, including people at workplaces, must implement physical distancing measures wherever possible.  

How do I make sure there is 4 square metres of space per person?

To achieve the 4 square metre ‘rule’ you would: 

  • calculate the area of the room (e.g. length of room in metres x width of room in metres = area of room in square metres), and 
  • divide the area of the room by 4. 

For example, if you had a room that was 160 square metres in size, you should only allow up to 40 people in the room, to allow each person to have 4 square metres of space.  

Note: you also must comply with any gathering size limits in place under public health directions in your state or territory.

How do I make sure there is 1.5 metres between people?

You should consider and make adjustments to the layout of the workplace and your workflows to enable workers and guests to keep at least 1.5 metres apart. For example, this could be achieved by, spreading out furniture, or considering floor and/or wall markings and signage to identify 1.5 metres distancing requirements. 

You should also review tasks and processes that usually require close interaction and identify ways to modify these to increase physical distancing between workers and workers and guests where it is practical and safe to do so.  

Do I need to do both? That is, make sure there is 4 square metres per person and physical distancing of 1.5 metres? 

Yes. You need to do what you can to make sure there is 4 square metres in your workplace per person and keep everyone at least 1.5 metres apart, where possible. 

My workers cannot maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres when performing work. Does this mean they cannot perform work?

It will not always be possible for workers and guests to keep 1.5 metres apart at all times at the workplace. For example, workers may have to work closely with each other or with guests because of the nature of the task and some tasks require workers to be in close proximity to be carried out safely, such as a worker fitting ski boots or a ski instructor interacting with guests during a ski lesson. 

Working in close contact increases the risk of workers being exposed to COVID-19. You must undertake a risk assessment to determine what control measures are reasonably practicable in the circumstances to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks from COVID-19. For example, if close contact with others is unavoidable, you must implement other control measures such as: 

  • minimising the number of people within an area at any time. Limit access to the workplace or parts of the workplace to essential workers and guests only 
  • staggering sitting times to minimise number of patrons in dine-in areas at any one time
  • moving work tasks to different areas of the workplace if possible 
  • considering separating workers into dedicated teams and have them work the same shift or work in a particular area, and 
  • ensuring each worker has their own equipment or tools.

Do I need to provide personal protective equipment to workers who are in close contact with each other?

You must ensure workers comply with physical distancing requirements where possible. In circumstances where the nature of the task requires workers and guests or workers to be in close contact, you must put control measures in place that minimise the time workers spend with each other or with guests in the workplace. You must also ensure workers and guests are practicing good hygiene.  

If you have a situation where, despite other control measures, workers will be in close contact with each other or with guests for longer than the recommended time (i.e more than 15 minutes face to face cumulative over the course of a week or more than 2 hours in a shared closed space), consider the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and a mask.  

Workers must be trained in the proper use of PPE. Be aware of WHS risks that may arise as a result of workers using and wearing PPE. 

What physical distancing measures do I need to implement in my workplace?

Below are measures to ensure physical distancing is achieved at ski and snow resorts. Not all activities may be currently permissible in your state or territory and therefore may not be relevant to your organisation at this time. You should check what activities are permissible in your state or territory, as well as limits on gathering sizes and specific physical distancing requirements applicable to your business. Only operate based on what activities are permissible. See also our information on public health directions – COVID-19 for links to enforceable government directions in your state or territory.

Remember, you must consult with workers and their representatives (e.g. health and safety representatives (HSRs)) on health and safety matters relating to COVID-19, including what control measures to put in place in your workplace. See also our information on consultation and the Model Code of Practice: Work Health and Safety Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination.

Most resorts include businesses that offer services such as courtesy buses or other transport, gyms, sit-down dining, beauty salons and day spas and retail. For physical distancing measures specific to those services, refer to the following pages:

Workers and guest interactions during outdoor activities 

  • Direct workers and guests to keep at least 1.5 metres apart where possible in accordance with general health advice. 
  • To ensure workers and guests practice physical distancing consider capping the number of daily passes and requiring guests to pre-purchase their pass or lift tickets online. 
  • You should also consider putting signs and markings around areas where people may congregate such as around ski lifts, at the top of ski runs, in terrain parks and in meeting areas. Consider whether:
    • signage in different languages or with pictures is needed to communicate with any workers and guests with English language barriers.
    • you require additional workers at the top of ski runs or at entrances to terrain parks to assist guests to stagger the commencement of their activity to maintain physical distancing.
    • your workers could wear a badge as a visual reminder to guests of physical distancing requirements, and
    • limiting the number of people in a group lesson may assist guests to keep at least 1.5 metre apart from each other. 

Lifts – including building lifts, chairlifts, t-bars, rope tows and bike shuttles

  • Even if workers, guests and others only spend a short amount of time in or on a lift, they are still at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 when using a lift. 
  • There is no requirement to provide 4 square metres of space per person in or on lifts, however you must still ensure, as far as you reasonably can, that people maintain physical distancing in or on lifts and lift waiting areas.
  • Safe use of lifts is best achieved through a combination of measures, determined in consultation with workers. For lifts in buildings you should also consult other employers in the building and the building owner/manager where applicable. 
  • For chairlifts, t-bars, rope tows etc consider: 
    • limiting the number of people who are not part of the same household on these lifts to ensure guests can maintain physical distancing
    • putting up signs advising of lift limitations. Advise guests of these lift limitations before they arrive at the resort and consider whether signage in different languages or with pictures is needed to communicate with any workers and guests with English language barriers
    • installing physical barriers and marking for queues
    • requiring workers to manage queues for lifts during busier times, and
    • ensuring that when on a lift guests and workers maintain physical distance to the extent possible and practice good hygiene including cough and sneezing etiquette.
  • As guests and workers will be wearing gloves outside due to cold temperatures and are unlikely to be taking them off, it is not practicable to request guests use alcohol-based hand sanitiser after using the lift. However, you should encourage guests to practice good hygiene including cough and sneezing etiquette when on the lift and when engaging in snow activities. Provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser at entrances to resort buildings for guests and workers to use once they have taken off their gloves, scarfs and ski masks. See also our information on hygiene.
  • Ensure increased cleaning of high touch points on lifts takes place. See also our information on cleaning.
  • For lifts inside a building, consider:
    • if possible, reducing the number of workers, guests and others who need to use the lift at the same time (e.g. by promoting use of stairs if safe to do so and encouraging guests and workers to wait for the next lift, where possible). If possible you may also wish to consider allocating certain lifts for workers and others for guests.
    • implementing physical distancing measures in the lift waiting area including queueing systems, floor markings and advising of passenger limits for each lift
    • ensuring that when in the lift people maintain physical distance to the extent possible and practice good hygiene including cough and sneezing etiquette and washing hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser after exiting the lift.
    • displaying signage to promote physical distancing and hand hygiene measures.
  • Also ensure increased cleaning of building lifts takes place. See also our information on cleaning.
  • If workers, guests or others are to use the stairs or emergency exits as alternatives to using lifts, you must consider if any new risks may arise (e.g. increased risk of slip trips and falls) and consider how other existing WHS measures will be impacted (e.g. emergency plans and procedures See also our information on emergency plans)
  • See also our case study on lifts for further information on building lifts.

Worker and guest interactions in resort buildings 

Reception, visitor information, locker or coat areas and other public spaces 

  • If guests are required to sign-in consider whether they can do so using contactless methods.
    • If using an electronic device or you require guests to sign in using pen and paper, provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser for guests to use before and after signing in and out. 
    • Keep guest and staff contact details up to date and retain attendance records in accordance with general health advice or where required under public health directions in your state and territory. 
  • In enclosed areas provide each person with 4 square metres of space where possible in accordance with general health advice or where required under public health directions in your state or territory.  
    • To achieve this, calculate the area of enclosed spaces where workers and guests will be and divide by 4. This will provide you with the maximum number of people you should have in the space at any one time.  Depending on your jurisdiction, you may not have to include workers in calculating the 4 square metre per person requirement.
    • Depending on the layout of the building you may have multiple enclosed areas such as locker/coat rooms, reception areas, resting areas. You will need to apply the 4 square metre rule to each of these areas separately. 
  • To help you achieve 4 square metres of space per person limit the number of guests in resort buildings by: 
    • placing signs outside entrances stating the number of people allowed inside at the one time
    • implementing pre-payment or online sale of tickets to avoid queuing and inform guests of this information on your website and other social media platforms. This may help minimise the risk of workplace violence. See also our information on work-related violence. Remember, consideration also needs to be given to how to communicate with workers and others with English language barriers.
    • counting in and counting out the number of guests in the building and per enclosed area where it is practical to do so. Some areas may need to be cordoned off if the numbers in that enclosed area cannot be monitored or controlled,
  • For measures on how to reduce the number of workers in resort buildings refer to ‘Workers Only Areas’ below 
  • Direct workers and guests to keep at least 1.5 metres apart in accordance with general health advice. To achieve the best outcomes for physical distancing: 
    • put signs around the areas including outside the entrance and create floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance. Establish entry and exit walkways and clearly mark these with adequate signage. Consider whether signage in different languages or with pictures is needed to communicate with any workers with English language barriers
    • where practical and appropriate create specific walkways in high traffic areas with one-way traffic flows. Place these walkways in areas furthest away from where workers are stationed and designate separate doors for guests and workers if possible. You may also wish to have doors designated for entry to, and exit from, the building.
    • limit physical interactions between workers and guests where possible (e.g. rotating workers who are at the front desk). Where workers are required to interact with guests at information or ticketing counters:
      • consider putting up physical barriers between workers and guests where appropriate (e.g. perspex screens) or ask guests to take a step back whilst the worker performs tasks. 
      • implement guest queuing with floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance. Where possible, consider the provision of workers to manage queues during busier times. 
    • encourage guests to minimise time spent congregating in public areas during their stay. This could be reinforced through signage in public areas, cordoning off common areas or removing seating where guests may otherwise congregate
    • consider whether you can implement measures to limit the number of guests gathering around lockers or pigeon holes. For example putting up signs encouraging guests to maintain their distance and to wait if another guest is attending to the locker or pigeon hole next to theirs.
    • encourage workers to use other methods such as mobile phone or radio to communicate rather than face to face interaction.
      • You may need to redesign the layout of the resort buildings to enable people to keep at least 1.5 metres apart. If changing the physical layout of resort buildings workplace, your layout must allow for workers and guests to enter, exit and move about both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable.  

See also our information on physical distancing measures for retail, hospitality and accommodation

Where it is practical and safe to do so, review tasks and processes that usually require close interaction and identify ways to modify these to increase physical distancing between workers. Where not possible, reduce the amount of time workers spend in close contact. See also our information on what to do if your workers cannot maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres. 

Clothing and equipment hire including change rooms or try on areas

You do not necessarily have to stop the hiring of clothing and equipment however physical distancing, hygiene and appropriate cleaning and disinfecting measures must be implemented to minimise the risk of spreading the infection to both workers and other guests as far as it is reasonably practicable to do so.

  • Consider whether you can implement an online booking and pick up system to reduce the amount of time guests spend in the hiring area or store. This booking system could target guests who have previously hired clothing and equipment and know their size. The booking system could also provide details such as pictures, measurements and guides for those guests who require assistance. Where possible separate the pickup area from the main hiring area.
  • Calculate the number of people that can fit in a shared enclosed area following the 4 square metres rule and place this number on a sign at the entrance of the hiring area or store. 
  • Implement guest queuing with floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance. Where possible, consider the provision of a workers to manage queues during busier times. Your workers could wear a badge as a visual reminder to each other and guests of physical distancing requirements
  • Put signs around the changeroom area and create wall or floor markings to identify the 1.5 metre distance. Ask guests to minimise the time they spend in changeroom or try on areas
  • Request family and friends of guests trying on equipment in changing rooms to wait outside (unless the user is a child or someone that requires assistance). Remove seating from in and around the changing rooms
  • If there are no specific change room areas put up signs and markers on walls and floors to create designated spaces for guests to try on clothing and equipment whilst maintaining physical distancing. Consider whether signage in different languages or with pictures is needed to communicate with any workers with English language barriers
  • Request adult guests to wait outside or in their car for family and friends once they have been fitted for clothing and equipment if possible.
  • Where possible and practicable consider setting aside a separate area for guests returning clothing and equipment to minimise interaction with other guests.

Spread out any furniture in areas where guests receive and try on clothing and equipment.  

  • If changing the physical layout of the workplace you must ensure the layout allows for workers to enter, exit and move about the  workplace both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable.
  • Work with the building owner/manager to ensure safety requirements are still met after making changes to the physical layout of the workplace. 

See also our information on hygiene for additional measures regarding change room try on areas and equipment hire. Our webpage on cleaning and our cleaning guide provides useful information on cleaning and disinfecting measures that may help limit the spread of the virus

Recreational facilities

If your resort provides recreation facilities such, games rooms, kitchen areas etc, you need to ensure that physical distancing is maintained by guests while using these amenities, unless they are from the same household.

  • Calculate the number of people that can fit in a shared enclosed area following the 4 square metres rule and place this number on a sign at the entrance. 
  • Spread out furniture such as pool tables and video game machines in games rooms, and chairs/tables to maximise spacing and consider removing furniture if adequate distancing is not able to be achieved. 
  • Only permit groups that are staying together to use recreational facilities (except pools), including kitchen facilities, at one time – implement a booking system to manage this and clean facilities between groups.
  • Put signs around recreational facilities and install floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance.
  • Close recreational facilities while cleaning is being undertaken to maintain distancing between workers and guests.

Children’s activities including childcare 

If you provide childcare or child-minding services see our information on early childcare education for detailed information on physical distancing measures for childcare. See also our guidance on in-home services.

For children’s lessons and programs, consider the advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) regarding children in learning environments.

  • In its statement on early learning and childhood centres, AHCCP advises that there is very limited evidence of transmission between children; 
  • AHPPC has also advised that in early childhood education and school environments children do not need to practice physical distancing amongst themselves. Adults do not need to undertake physical distancing when interacting with or providing care to children. 
  • However, adults must still practice physical distancing amongst themselves.

If you decide to run children’s activities you may find that separating children into small groups or limiting places for group/children’s activities will make it easier for workers (and other adults) to maintain their distance from other workers and adults. You should also review your drop off and pick up procedures to determine whether you can reduce the number of workers and parents or guardians gathered at the same time. 

Worker only areas

Where possible provide workers with 4 square metres of space and direct workers to maintain at least 1.5 metres physical distancing from each other in back offices or workers only areas in accordance with general health advice or where required under public health directions in your state or territory. To help achieve this:

  • limit worker numbers by facilitating working from home for office/administrative workers, where you can 
  • split or stagger workers’ shifts so that there is no overlap of workers arriving at and leaving the workplace.
  • consider having work groups so that the same group of workers work and have their rest breaks together and remind workers to maintain physical distancing even when on a rest break
  • put signs around workers areas and create floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance   
  • limit physical interactions between workers, and workers and other persons – e.g. by using contactless deliveries and limiting non-essential guests  
  • require workers to use other methods such as mobile phone or radio to communicate rather than face to face interaction. 
  • reduce the number of workers utilising workers common areas at a given time – e.g. by staggering meal breaks and start times.
  • spread out furniture in workers areas, including workspaces or common areas to the extent possible, and
  • consider providing separate amenities for workers and others in the workplace – for example separate bathroom facilities for workers and guests. 

If changing the physical layout of the workplace, your layout must allow for workers to enter, exit and move about the workplace both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable.  

Worker gatherings and training

  • Face-to-face gatherings, meetings or training should go for no longer than necessary.
  • Hold gatherings, meetings or training it in spaces that enable workers to keep at least 1.5 metres apart and with 4 square metres of space per person – e.g. outdoors, in large rooms, or by tele and video conferencing.
  • Ensure handwashing facilities, or if not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitiser, is available for workers before and after attending gatherings, meetings or training.
  • Ensure there is adequate ventilation if gatherings are held indoors.

See also our information on training.

Deliveries, contractors and visitors attending the workplace

  • In consultation with workers create or review existing policies and processes for receiving and handling of goods and for interacting with delivery drivers, contractors and visitors at your workplace. The policies and processes should seek to implement measures that reflect physical distancing requirements and encourage good hand hygiene by all. Communicate these new policies and processes to workers.
  • Works being completed by contractors may impact on physical distancing measures you have already implemented in the workplace. For example, if contractors need to cordon off certain areas, this may impact workers ability to maintain 1.5 metres distance or have 4 square metres of space. The works could also impact access to hand washing facilities and interrupt cleaning processes. Consult and work with contractors before they enter the workplace to determine if this will be the case so you can alter existing COVID-19 measures or put temporary measures in place. This may include minimising the number of workers in the workplace that day or asking contractors to perform the works when minimal workers are in the workplace.  
  • Direct delivery drivers, contractors and visitors to use handwashing facilities or if not possible, to use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before handling products being delivered or upon entering the workplace. Ensure handwashing facilities, or if not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitiser, is also readily available for workers after physically handling deliveries. 
  • Minimise the number of workers attending to deliveries or interacting with contractors or visitors where possible.
  • Delivery drivers, contractors and visitors who attend the workplace should be given clear instructions of your requirements while they are on site.  
  • Minimise the time delivery drivers, contractors and visitors are on site by using electronic communication where possible.
  • Use, and ask delivery drivers and contractors to use, electronic paper work where possible, to minimise physical interaction. Where possible, set up alternatives to requiring signatures. For instance, see whether a confirmation email or a photo of the loaded or unloaded goods can be accepted as proof of delivery or collection (as applicable). If a pen or other utensil is required for signature you can ask that the pen or utensil is cleaned or disinfected before use. For pens, you may wish to use your own. 
  • No person should attend the workplace if they feel unwell. See also our information on hygiene. 

On-going review and monitoring

  • If physical distancing measures introduce new health and safety risks (e.g. because they impact communication or mean that less people are doing a task), you need to manage those risks too. Consult with workers and their representatives in relation to measures to manage any new risks.
    • For example, changes to processes to maintain physical distancing may cause stress and frustration among guests that may increase the risk of work-related violence. You can manage this risk by ensuring all signage indicates that work-related violence in response to new physical distancing measures (or for other reasons) will not be tolerated. Our work-related violence webpage has more information.
  • Put processes in place to regularly monitor and review the implementation of physical distancing measures to ensure they are being followed and remain effective.

Do workers need to practice physical distancing when on a lunch break or when travelling to and from work?

Yes. Workers must always comply with any state or territory public health directions or orders. This includes maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 metres between people.  

You should refer to your state or territory health authority for further information on specific restrictions in place under public health directions or orders in your state or territory. 

My workers need to travel in a vehicle together for work purposes. How do they practice physical distancing?

You must reduce the number of workers travelling together in a vehicle for work purposes. You should ensure that only two people are in a 5 seat vehicle – the driver and a worker behind the front passenger seat. Only one worker should be in a single cab vehicle. 

These measures may mean: 

  • more of your vehicles are on the road at one time  
  • more workers are driving and for longer periods than usual (if driving by themselves).  

Because of this, you should review your procedures and policies for vehicle maintenance and driver safety to ensure they are effective and address all possible WHS risks that arise when workers drive for work purposes.  
If workers are required to travel together for work purposes and the trip is longer than 15 minutes, air conditioning must be set to external airflow rather than to recirculation or windows should be opened for the duration of the trip.  
You must also clean vehicles more frequently, no matter the length of the trip, but at least following each use by workers. See also our information on cleaning
 

Note: Restrictions have been in place that may impact the snow and ski industry. These restrictions are being relaxed in different jurisdictions at different times. The snow and ski industry must only operate to the extent permissible in each state or territory they are located. The information below outlines measures which cover all aspects of the operations of the snow and ski industry - depending on what is permissible in your jurisdiction, some sections may not be currently relevant. 

The information below provides guidance on physical distancing during step 2 of the 3-step framework for a COVIDSafe Australia. Some states and territories have updated public health directions to adjust physical distancing rules in line with local circumstances, for example, revising the one person per 4 square metres rule to one person per 2 square metres in some circumstances. 

For more information about physical distancing requirements, go to your relevant state and territory government website. You can also go to our Public health directions and COVIDSafe plans page for links to enforceable government directions.

Watch our video for information on physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your small business. 

Watch video on YouTube Download Transcript

Physical distancing (also referred to as ‘social distancing’) refers to the requirement that people distance themselves from others. The current advice from the Department of Health is that everyone must keep at least 1.5 metres apart from others (outside of their family unit) where possible. In addition, in a given space, there must be 4 square metres of space per person where possible. 

You should also consider whether you are required to comply with any physical distancing measures issued under public health directions in your state or territory. See also our information on public health directions – COVID-19 for links to enforceable government directions in your state or territory.

Why is physical distancing important?

Physical distancing is necessary because the most likely way of catching the virus is by coming into contact with micro-droplets from another person sneezing, coughing, or exhaling. By ensuring there is 4 square metres of space per person and maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others where possible, you will reduce the likelihood of exposure to micro-droplets of others. 

Current health advice is that everyone, including people at workplaces, must implement physical distancing measures wherever possible.  

How do I make sure there is 4 square metres of space per person?

To achieve the 4 square metre ‘rule’ you would: 

  • calculate the area of the room (e.g. length of room in metres x width of room in metres = area of room in square metres), and 
  • divide the area of the room by 4. 

For example, if you had a room that was 160 square metres in size, you should only allow up to 40 people in the room, to allow each person to have 4 square metres of space.  

Note: you also must comply with any gathering size limits in place under public health directions in your state or territory.

How do I make sure there is 1.5 metres between people?

You should consider and make adjustments to the layout of the workplace and your workflows to enable workers and guests to keep at least 1.5 metres apart. For example, this could be achieved by, spreading out furniture, or considering floor and/or wall markings and signage to identify 1.5 metres distancing requirements. 

You should also review tasks and processes that usually require close interaction and identify ways to modify these to increase physical distancing between workers and workers and guests where it is practical and safe to do so.  

Do I need to do both? That is, make sure there is 4 square metres per person and physical distancing of 1.5 metres? 

Yes. You need to do what you can to make sure there is 4 square metres in your workplace per person and keep everyone at least 1.5 metres apart, where possible. 

My workers cannot maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres when performing work. Does this mean they cannot perform work?

It will not always be possible for workers and guests to keep 1.5 metres apart at all times at the workplace. For example, workers may have to work closely with each other or with guests because of the nature of the task and some tasks require workers to be in close proximity to be carried out safely, such as a worker fitting ski boots or a ski instructor interacting with guests during a ski lesson. 

Working in close contact increases the risk of workers being exposed to COVID-19. You must undertake a risk assessment to determine what control measures are reasonably practicable in the circumstances to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks from COVID-19. For example, if close contact with others is unavoidable, you must implement other control measures such as: 

  • minimising the number of people within an area at any time. Limit access to the workplace or parts of the workplace to essential workers and guests only 
  • staggering sitting times to minimise number of patrons in dine-in areas at any one time
  • moving work tasks to different areas of the workplace if possible 
  • considering separating workers into dedicated teams and have them work the same shift or work in a particular area, and 
  • ensuring each worker has their own equipment or tools.

Do I need to provide personal protective equipment to workers who are in close contact with each other?

You must ensure workers comply with physical distancing requirements where possible. In circumstances where the nature of the task requires workers and guests or workers to be in close contact, you must put control measures in place that minimise the time workers spend with each other or with guests in the workplace. You must also ensure workers and guests are practicing good hygiene.  

If you have a situation where, despite other control measures, workers will be in close contact with each other or with guests for longer than the recommended time (i.e more than 15 minutes face to face cumulative over the course of a week or more than 2 hours in a shared closed space), consider the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and a mask.  

Workers must be trained in the proper use of PPE. Be aware of WHS risks that may arise as a result of workers using and wearing PPE. 

What physical distancing measures do I need to implement in my workplace?

Below are measures to ensure physical distancing is achieved at ski and snow resorts. Not all activities may be currently permissible in your state or territory and therefore may not be relevant to your organisation at this time. You should check what activities are permissible in your state or territory, as well as limits on gathering sizes and specific physical distancing requirements applicable to your business. Only operate based on what activities are permissible. See also our information on public health directions – COVID-19 for links to enforceable government directions in your state or territory.

Remember, you must consult with workers and their representatives (e.g. health and safety representatives (HSRs)) on health and safety matters relating to COVID-19, including what control measures to put in place in your workplace. See also our information on consultation and the Model Code of Practice: Work Health and Safety Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination.

Most resorts include businesses that offer services such as courtesy buses or other transport, gyms, sit-down dining, beauty salons and day spas and retail. For physical distancing measures specific to those services, refer to the following pages:

Workers and guest interactions during outdoor activities 

  • Direct workers and guests to keep at least 1.5 metres apart where possible in accordance with general health advice. 
  • To ensure workers and guests practice physical distancing consider capping the number of daily passes and requiring guests to pre-purchase their pass or lift tickets online. 
  • You should also consider putting signs and markings around areas where people may congregate such as around ski lifts, at the top of ski runs, in terrain parks and in meeting areas. Consider whether:
    • signage in different languages or with pictures is needed to communicate with any workers and guests with English language barriers.
    • you require additional workers at the top of ski runs or at entrances to terrain parks to assist guests to stagger the commencement of their activity to maintain physical distancing.
    • your workers could wear a badge as a visual reminder to guests of physical distancing requirements, and
    • limiting the number of people in a group lesson may assist guests to keep at least 1.5 metre apart from each other. 

Lifts – including building lifts, chairlifts, t-bars, rope tows and bike shuttles

  • Even if workers, guests and others only spend a short amount of time in or on a lift, they are still at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 when using a lift. 
  • There is no requirement to provide 4 square metres of space per person in or on lifts, however you must still ensure, as far as you reasonably can, that people maintain physical distancing in or on lifts and lift waiting areas.
  • Safe use of lifts is best achieved through a combination of measures, determined in consultation with workers. For lifts in buildings you should also consult other employers in the building and the building owner/manager where applicable. 
  • For chairlifts, t-bars, rope tows etc consider: 
    • limiting the number of people who are not part of the same household on these lifts to ensure guests can maintain physical distancing
    • putting up signs advising of lift limitations. Advise guests of these lift limitations before they arrive at the resort and consider whether signage in different languages or with pictures is needed to communicate with any workers and guests with English language barriers
    • installing physical barriers and marking for queues
    • requiring workers to manage queues for lifts during busier times, and
    • ensuring that when on a lift guests and workers maintain physical distance to the extent possible and practice good hygiene including cough and sneezing etiquette.
  • As guests and workers will be wearing gloves outside due to cold temperatures and are unlikely to be taking them off, it is not practicable to request guests use alcohol-based hand sanitiser after using the lift. However, you should encourage guests to practice good hygiene including cough and sneezing etiquette when on the lift and when engaging in snow activities. Provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser at entrances to resort buildings for guests and workers to use once they have taken off their gloves, scarfs and ski masks. See also our information on hygiene.
  • Ensure increased cleaning of high touch points on lifts takes place. See also our information on cleaning.
  • For lifts inside a building, consider:
    • if possible, reducing the number of workers, guests and others who need to use the lift at the same time (e.g. by promoting use of stairs if safe to do so and encouraging guests and workers to wait for the next lift, where possible). If possible you may also wish to consider allocating certain lifts for workers and others for guests.
    • implementing physical distancing measures in the lift waiting area including queueing systems, floor markings and advising of passenger limits for each lift
    • ensuring that when in the lift people maintain physical distance to the extent possible and practice good hygiene including cough and sneezing etiquette and washing hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser after exiting the lift.
    • displaying signage to promote physical distancing and hand hygiene measures.
  • Also ensure increased cleaning of building lifts takes place. See also our information on cleaning.
  • If workers, guests or others are to use the stairs or emergency exits as alternatives to using lifts, you must consider if any new risks may arise (e.g. increased risk of slip trips and falls) and consider how other existing WHS measures will be impacted (e.g. emergency plans and procedures See also our information on emergency plans)
  • See also our case study on lifts for further information on building lifts.

Worker and guest interactions in resort buildings 

Reception, visitor information, locker or coat areas and other public spaces 

  • If guests are required to sign-in consider whether they can do so using contactless methods.
    • If using an electronic device or you require guests to sign in using pen and paper, provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser for guests to use before and after signing in and out. 
    • Keep guest and staff contact details up to date and retain attendance records in accordance with general health advice or where required under public health directions in your state and territory. 
  • In enclosed areas provide each person with 4 square metres of space where possible in accordance with general health advice or where required under public health directions in your state or territory.  
    • To achieve this, calculate the area of enclosed spaces where workers and guests will be and divide by 4. This will provide you with the maximum number of people you should have in the space at any one time.  Depending on your jurisdiction, you may not have to include workers in calculating the 4 square metre per person requirement.
    • Depending on the layout of the building you may have multiple enclosed areas such as locker/coat rooms, reception areas, resting areas. You will need to apply the 4 square metre rule to each of these areas separately. 
  • To help you achieve 4 square metres of space per person limit the number of guests in resort buildings by: 
    • placing signs outside entrances stating the number of people allowed inside at the one time
    • implementing pre-payment or online sale of tickets to avoid queuing and inform guests of this information on your website and other social media platforms. This may help minimise the risk of workplace violence. See also our information on work-related violence. Remember, consideration also needs to be given to how to communicate with workers and others with English language barriers.
    • counting in and counting out the number of guests in the building and per enclosed area where it is practical to do so. Some areas may need to be cordoned off if the numbers in that enclosed area cannot be monitored or controlled,
  • For measures on how to reduce the number of workers in resort buildings refer to ‘Workers Only Areas’ below 
  • Direct workers and guests to keep at least 1.5 metres apart in accordance with general health advice. To achieve the best outcomes for physical distancing: 
    • put signs around the areas including outside the entrance and create floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance. Establish entry and exit walkways and clearly mark these with adequate signage. Consider whether signage in different languages or with pictures is needed to communicate with any workers with English language barriers
    • where practical and appropriate create specific walkways in high traffic areas with one-way traffic flows. Place these walkways in areas furthest away from where workers are stationed and designate separate doors for guests and workers if possible. You may also wish to have doors designated for entry to, and exit from, the building.
    • limit physical interactions between workers and guests where possible (e.g. rotating workers who are at the front desk). Where workers are required to interact with guests at information or ticketing counters:
      • consider putting up physical barriers between workers and guests where appropriate (e.g. perspex screens) or ask guests to take a step back whilst the worker performs tasks. 
      • implement guest queuing with floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance. Where possible, consider the provision of workers to manage queues during busier times. 
    • encourage guests to minimise time spent congregating in public areas during their stay. This could be reinforced through signage in public areas, cordoning off common areas or removing seating where guests may otherwise congregate
    • consider whether you can implement measures to limit the number of guests gathering around lockers or pigeon holes. For example putting up signs encouraging guests to maintain their distance and to wait if another guest is attending to the locker or pigeon hole next to theirs.
    • encourage workers to use other methods such as mobile phone or radio to communicate rather than face to face interaction.
      • You may need to redesign the layout of the resort buildings to enable people to keep at least 1.5 metres apart. If changing the physical layout of resort buildings workplace, your layout must allow for workers and guests to enter, exit and move about both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable.  

See also our information on physical distancing measures for retail, hospitality and accommodation

Where it is practical and safe to do so, review tasks and processes that usually require close interaction and identify ways to modify these to increase physical distancing between workers. Where not possible, reduce the amount of time workers spend in close contact. See also our information on what to do if your workers cannot maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres. 

Clothing and equipment hire including change rooms or try on areas

You do not necessarily have to stop the hiring of clothing and equipment however physical distancing, hygiene and appropriate cleaning and disinfecting measures must be implemented to minimise the risk of spreading the infection to both workers and other guests as far as it is reasonably practicable to do so.

  • Consider whether you can implement an online booking and pick up system to reduce the amount of time guests spend in the hiring area or store. This booking system could target guests who have previously hired clothing and equipment and know their size. The booking system could also provide details such as pictures, measurements and guides for those guests who require assistance. Where possible separate the pickup area from the main hiring area.
  • Calculate the number of people that can fit in a shared enclosed area following the 4 square metres rule and place this number on a sign at the entrance of the hiring area or store. 
  • Implement guest queuing with floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance. Where possible, consider the provision of a workers to manage queues during busier times. Your workers could wear a badge as a visual reminder to each other and guests of physical distancing requirements
  • Put signs around the changeroom area and create wall or floor markings to identify the 1.5 metre distance. Ask guests to minimise the time they spend in changeroom or try on areas
  • Request family and friends of guests trying on equipment in changing rooms to wait outside (unless the user is a child or someone that requires assistance). Remove seating from in and around the changing rooms
  • If there are no specific change room areas put up signs and markers on walls and floors to create designated spaces for guests to try on clothing and equipment whilst maintaining physical distancing. Consider whether signage in different languages or with pictures is needed to communicate with any workers with English language barriers
  • Request adult guests to wait outside or in their car for family and friends once they have been fitted for clothing and equipment if possible.
  • Where possible and practicable consider setting aside a separate area for guests returning clothing and equipment to minimise interaction with other guests.

Spread out any furniture in areas where guests receive and try on clothing and equipment.  

  • If changing the physical layout of the workplace you must ensure the layout allows for workers to enter, exit and move about the  workplace both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable.
  • Work with the building owner/manager to ensure safety requirements are still met after making changes to the physical layout of the workplace. 

See also our information on hygiene for additional measures regarding change room try on areas and equipment hire. Our webpage on cleaning and our cleaning guide provides useful information on cleaning and disinfecting measures that may help limit the spread of the virus

Recreational facilities

If your resort provides recreation facilities such, games rooms, kitchen areas etc, you need to ensure that physical distancing is maintained by guests while using these amenities, unless they are from the same household.

  • Calculate the number of people that can fit in a shared enclosed area following the 4 square metres rule and place this number on a sign at the entrance. 
  • Spread out furniture such as pool tables and video game machines in games rooms, and chairs/tables to maximise spacing and consider removing furniture if adequate distancing is not able to be achieved. 
  • Only permit groups that are staying together to use recreational facilities (except pools), including kitchen facilities, at one time – implement a booking system to manage this and clean facilities between groups.
  • Put signs around recreational facilities and install floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance.
  • Close recreational facilities while cleaning is being undertaken to maintain distancing between workers and guests.

Children’s activities including childcare 

If you provide childcare or child-minding services see our information on early childcare education for detailed information on physical distancing measures for childcare. See also our guidance on in-home services.

For children’s lessons and programs, consider the advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) regarding children in learning environments.

  • In its statement on early learning and childhood centres, AHCCP advises that there is very limited evidence of transmission between children; 
  • AHPPC has also advised that in early childhood education and school environments children do not need to practice physical distancing amongst themselves. Adults do not need to undertake physical distancing when interacting with or providing care to children. 
  • However, adults must still practice physical distancing amongst themselves.

If you decide to run children’s activities you may find that separating children into small groups or limiting places for group/children’s activities will make it easier for workers (and other adults) to maintain their distance from other workers and adults. You should also review your drop off and pick up procedures to determine whether you can reduce the number of workers and parents or guardians gathered at the same time. 

Worker only areas

Where possible provide workers with 4 square metres of space and direct workers to maintain at least 1.5 metres physical distancing from each other in back offices or workers only areas in accordance with general health advice or where required under public health directions in your state or territory. To help achieve this:

  • limit worker numbers by facilitating working from home for office/administrative workers, where you can 
  • split or stagger workers’ shifts so that there is no overlap of workers arriving at and leaving the workplace.
  • consider having work groups so that the same group of workers work and have their rest breaks together and remind workers to maintain physical distancing even when on a rest break
  • put signs around workers areas and create floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance   
  • limit physical interactions between workers, and workers and other persons – e.g. by using contactless deliveries and limiting non-essential guests  
  • require workers to use other methods such as mobile phone or radio to communicate rather than face to face interaction. 
  • reduce the number of workers utilising workers common areas at a given time – e.g. by staggering meal breaks and start times.
  • spread out furniture in workers areas, including workspaces or common areas to the extent possible, and
  • consider providing separate amenities for workers and others in the workplace – for example separate bathroom facilities for workers and guests. 

If changing the physical layout of the workplace, your layout must allow for workers to enter, exit and move about the workplace both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable.  

Worker gatherings and training

  • Face-to-face gatherings, meetings or training should go for no longer than necessary.
  • Hold gatherings, meetings or training it in spaces that enable workers to keep at least 1.5 metres apart and with 4 square metres of space per person – e.g. outdoors, in large rooms, or by tele and video conferencing.
  • Ensure handwashing facilities, or if not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitiser, is available for workers before and after attending gatherings, meetings or training.
  • Ensure there is adequate ventilation if gatherings are held indoors.

See also our information on training.

Deliveries, contractors and visitors attending the workplace

  • In consultation with workers create or review existing policies and processes for receiving and handling of goods and for interacting with delivery drivers, contractors and visitors at your workplace. The policies and processes should seek to implement measures that reflect physical distancing requirements and encourage good hand hygiene by all. Communicate these new policies and processes to workers.
  • Works being completed by contractors may impact on physical distancing measures you have already implemented in the workplace. For example, if contractors need to cordon off certain areas, this may impact workers ability to maintain 1.5 metres distance or have 4 square metres of space. The works could also impact access to hand washing facilities and interrupt cleaning processes. Consult and work with contractors before they enter the workplace to determine if this will be the case so you can alter existing COVID-19 measures or put temporary measures in place. This may include minimising the number of workers in the workplace that day or asking contractors to perform the works when minimal workers are in the workplace.  
  • Direct delivery drivers, contractors and visitors to use handwashing facilities or if not possible, to use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before handling products being delivered or upon entering the workplace. Ensure handwashing facilities, or if not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitiser, is also readily available for workers after physically handling deliveries. 
  • Minimise the number of workers attending to deliveries or interacting with contractors or visitors where possible.
  • Delivery drivers, contractors and visitors who attend the workplace should be given clear instructions of your requirements while they are on site.  
  • Minimise the time delivery drivers, contractors and visitors are on site by using electronic communication where possible.
  • Use, and ask delivery drivers and contractors to use, electronic paper work where possible, to minimise physical interaction. Where possible, set up alternatives to requiring signatures. For instance, see whether a confirmation email or a photo of the loaded or unloaded goods can be accepted as proof of delivery or collection (as applicable). If a pen or other utensil is required for signature you can ask that the pen or utensil is cleaned or disinfected before use. For pens, you may wish to use your own. 
  • No person should attend the workplace if they feel unwell. See also our information on hygiene. 

On-going review and monitoring

  • If physical distancing measures introduce new health and safety risks (e.g. because they impact communication or mean that less people are doing a task), you need to manage those risks too. Consult with workers and their representatives in relation to measures to manage any new risks.
    • For example, changes to processes to maintain physical distancing may cause stress and frustration among guests that may increase the risk of work-related violence. You can manage this risk by ensuring all signage indicates that work-related violence in response to new physical distancing measures (or for other reasons) will not be tolerated. Our work-related violence webpage has more information.
  • Put processes in place to regularly monitor and review the implementation of physical distancing measures to ensure they are being followed and remain effective.

Do workers need to practice physical distancing when on a lunch break or when travelling to and from work?

Yes. Workers must always comply with any state or territory public health directions or orders. This includes maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 metres between people.  

You should refer to your state or territory health authority for further information on specific restrictions in place under public health directions or orders in your state or territory. 

My workers need to travel in a vehicle together for work purposes. How do they practice physical distancing?

You must reduce the number of workers travelling together in a vehicle for work purposes. You should ensure that only two people are in a 5 seat vehicle – the driver and a worker behind the front passenger seat. Only one worker should be in a single cab vehicle. 

These measures may mean: 

  • more of your vehicles are on the road at one time  
  • more workers are driving and for longer periods than usual (if driving by themselves).  

Because of this, you should review your procedures and policies for vehicle maintenance and driver safety to ensure they are effective and address all possible WHS risks that arise when workers drive for work purposes.  
If workers are required to travel together for work purposes and the trip is longer than 15 minutes, air conditioning must be set to external airflow rather than to recirculation or windows should be opened for the duration of the trip.  
You must also clean vehicles more frequently, no matter the length of the trip, but at least following each use by workers. See also our information on cleaning

 

The information below provides guidance on physical distancing during step 2 of the 3-step framework for a COVIDSafe Australia. Some states and territories have updated public health directions to adjust physical distancing rules in line with local circumstances, for example, revising the one person per 4 square metres rule to one person per 2 square metres in some circumstances. 

For more information about physical distancing requirements, go to your relevant state and territory government website. You can also go to our Public health directions and COVIDSafe plans page for links to enforceable government directions.

Physical distancing (also referred to as ‘social distancing’) refers to the requirement that people distance themselves from others.  The current advice from the Department of Health is that everyone must keep at least 1.5 metres apart from others (outside of their family unit) where possible. In addition, in a given space, there must be a 4 square metres of space per person where possible. 

Your workplace may also need to comply with physical distancing measures issued under public health directions in your state or territory. See also our information on public health directions – COVID-19 for links to enforceable government directions in your state or territory.

Why is physical distancing important? 

Physical distancing is necessary because the most likely way of catching the virus is by coming into contact with micro-droplets from another person sneezing, coughing, or exhaling. By ensuring there is 4 square metres of space per person and maintaining a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others where possible, you will reduce the likelihood of exposure to micro-droplets of others. 

Current health advice is that everyone, including people at workplaces, must implement physical distancing measures wherever possible. For information on the measures your employer should be implementing, see our employer information for your industry.

What if I cannot always maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres?

It will not always be possible for you to keep 1.5 metres apart from guests at the workplace. Some tasks will also require you and other workers to be in close proximity in order to be carried out safely such as lifting and moving heavy objects. 

Working in close contact with others increases your risk of being exposed to COVID-19. In these situations, your employer may modify the task. Your employer must consult with you and relevant health and safety representatives on how to perform the work task safely, including where maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 metres is not possible.

For information on the measures your employer should be implementing see our employer information for your industry.
When working in close contact with others, you must practise good hygiene by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser (with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as the active ingredient).

Does my employer need to provide me with personal protective equipment if I am required to work in close contact with others?

You must comply with physical distancing requirements where possible. In circumstances where the nature of the task requires you to be in close contact with others, your employer must put control measures in place that minimise the time you spend with other persons.

If the nature of your work task is such that even with additional control measures in place, you will either be:

  • face to face with a person for longer than 15 minutes over a course of a week or
  • in a closed shared space with a person for more than 2 hours

your employer should provide you with personal protective equipment (PPE), where it is available and safe to do so (e.g. disposable gloves, face protection).

Your employer must consult you and your relevant health and safety representative about the use of PPE and any WHS risks that may arise from using it.

Your employer must provide you with information and training on how to use and wear PPE.

Do I need to practice physical distancing when on a lunch break or when travelling to and from work?

Yes. You must always comply with any state or territory public health directions or orders. This includes maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 metres between people in public places and when travelling to and from work.
 

 

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