COVID-19 for Workplaces Pack
For the Employer in the Conferences, Events and Exhibitions industry

Total supporting material in this pack: 2045

Date of print/download 20 October 2020

Physical distancing

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has issued a statement on very high-risk environments, including nightclubs, dance venues and large unstructured outdoor events. For more information please refer to the AHPPC website.

What is physical distancing and how does it prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Physical distancing (also referred to as ‘social distancing’) refers to the requirement that people distance themselves from others.  

COVID-19 spreads from person to person through contact with droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets may fall directly into the person’s eyes, nose or mouth if they are in close contact with the infected person. A person may also be infected if they touch a surface contaminated with the droplets and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes before washing their hands.

Current health advice states that in order to reduce the risk of contact and droplet spread from a person, directly or indirectly, and from contaminated surfaces, people should maintain physical distance of at least 1.5 metres, practice good hand hygiene and engage in routine cleaning and disinfection of surfaces. 

Physical distancing can also include requirements for there to be 4 square metres of space per person in a room or enclosed space, as well as limits on gathering sizes. These requirements differ between industries and between states and territories. For example, some states and territories have updated public health directions to adjust physical distancing rules in line with local circumstances, such as 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 applicable to your business, 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.

Do I need to implement physical distancing measures in my workplace?

Yes. It is your duty under work health and safety laws to manage the risk of a person in your workplace spreading and contracting COVID-19, including the risk that persons with COVID-19 enter the workplace. Physical distancing is one of the key ways to lower the risk of COVID-19 being spread or contracted at your workplace.  

The risk of COVID-19 should be treated in the same way as any other workplace hazard – by applying a risk management approach. 

In consultation with your workers, including volunteers, and their representatives (e.g. health and safety representatives (HSRs)), you will need to assess the likelihood and degree of harm people may experience if exposed to COVID-19 and then implement the most effective control measures that are reasonably practicable to manage the risk. The control measures you implement should include outcomes that support physical distancing and operate alongside measures encouraging good hygiene amongst workers and others as well as regular and thorough cleaning of the workplace.

To meet your WHS duty you should be continually monitoring and reviewing the risks to the health and safety of workers and others, as well as the effectiveness of control measures put in place to eliminate or minimise these risks. You must also assess any new or changed risks arising from COVID-19, for example customer aggression, high work demand or working in isolation.

Further guidance on the risk management process is available in the Code of Practice: How to manage work health and safety risks.

You may also need to comply with physical distancing measures issued under public health directions in your state or territory. Each state and territory has directions that reflect local circumstances. For more information about physical distancing requirements, go to your relevant state or territory government website. You can also go to our public health directions and COVIDSafe plans page for links to government health directions. 

How do the public health directions in my state or territory interact with my WHS duty?

You must comply with your state or territory’s public health directions that apply to your business. 

Your WHS duty is to do all that you reasonably can to manage the risks of a person contracting and/or spreading COVID-19 in your workplace. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to implement control measures in order to meet your WHS duty that go beyond the minimum requirements stated in public health directions or advised by public health authorities. For example, public health directions may state you can have up to 10 customers in your shop at any one time. However, in undertaking your risk assessment you may determine that due to the layout of the workplace and your work processes, having 10 customers in the store would not effectively support physical distancing outcomes. Instead, limiting your store to 8 customers at a time would ensure everyone can maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from each other.

How do I determine which physical distancing measures to implement to minimise the risk of COVID 19 spreading in my workplace?

To determine which physical distancing measures will be most effective in your workplace, you will need to undertake a risk assessment.

A risk assessment is part of the risk management process which involves identifying where the risk arises in your workplace, assessing the risks (including the likelihood of them happening), controlling the risks and reviewing these controls regularly. These steps remain the same whether you are conducting a risk assessment in relation to work health and safety generally, or specifically in relation to COVID-19.

In order to determine the most effective physical distancing measures you will need to: 

  • identify all activities or situations where people in your workplace may be in close proximity to each other
  • assess the level of risk that people in these activities or situations may contract and/or spread COVID-19 in your workplace
  • determine what control measures are reasonably practicable to implement based on the assessed level of risk. 

Remember, you must consult with workers, including volunteers, and their representatives (e.g. health and safety representatives) 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.   

See also our information on key considerations for undertaking a risk assessment – COVID-19

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

Below are suggested measures to ensure physical distancing is achieved in your industry. Certain activities may not be permissible or there may be specific requirements in your state or territory at this time and therefore some of the proposed measures may not be relevant to your workplace. For more information about physical distancing requirements, go to your relevant state or territory government website. You can also go to our public health directions and COVIDSafe plans page for links to government health directions. 

Remember, you must do all that is reasonably practicable to manage the risk of people contracting and/or spreading COVID-19. See also our guidance on determining what is reasonably practicable for more information.

Also 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.  

You should also refer to our other industry guidance, for measures to implement within your own physical workplace. For example, see our guidance for offices for information on measures to implement for your business’ office building. 

General measures

  • Ensure attendance numbers allow for physical distancing and provide sufficient space per person in accordance with state or territory requirements, with at least 1.5 metres between attendees. 
    • Work out how many people can be in the venue overall as well as discrete enclosed areas of the venue.
    • For exhibitions and events consider limiting the number or size of exhibitions or stalls where reasonably practicable. 
    • Consider whether you can stagger the number of activities held at the same time during a conference, event or exhibition to limit the number of attendees gathered at the same time. 
  • For exhibitions and events where there is no fixed seating consider, if reasonably practicable, setting up a booking system to enable a certain number of attendees to enter the venue for a set period of time. Depending on the size of the event or exhibition, provide adequate time between one group ending and another one commencing to allow enough time for attendees to leave and appropriate cleaning and disinfecting of high touch point items to occur. If setting up this system communicate this to attendees on relevant social media platforms and on your website.
  • Consider moving events, conferences and exhibitions to a larger space or outdoors if possible.
  • Provide access to additional facilities such as toilets if possible. For outdoor venues consider additional portable toilets to avoid congestion of attendees. 
  • Consider whether you could have a ‘hybrid model’ that combines a live event with online attendance. 
  • Ask attendees to provide their contact details at the point of ticket purchase and retain these records for the period required in your state. This may assist local health authorities if contact tracing is required and may be legally required in your state or territory under health and emergency directions. 
    • If you have a membership program, keep member details up to date. 
    • If it is a non-ticketed event or exhibition you may need to implement strategies to obtain attendee’s information, such as pre-registering for the event through event website or encouraging attendees to download the Australian government’s COVIDSafe app. Consult with your relevant state or territory public health authority for assistance. 
  • Advise attendees about venue requirements in advance. This can be achieved by sending emails to all registered attendants and through web pages advertising the event. The information should include:
    • when the venue doors will be open
    • whether food and drink venues and cloaking services will be available 
    • how attendees will be asked to queue and exit the venue
    • any other relevant rules or new systems in place that you will be asking attendees to observe. 
  • Ensure that any changes you make maintain disability access and safe thoroughfares for all attendees. This includes access when entering and moving through the venue, visibility of pathways and access to new instructions.
  • Place signage about physical distancing around the venue and on event maps. See our range of posters and resources to help remind workers and attendees of the risks of COVID-19 and the measures that are necessary to stop its spread. Clear, illustrated signage may assist communicating physical distancing requirements to attendees with language, hearing or literacy barriers. Also consider the need to light signage if your conference, event or exhibition occurs during night time.
  • Site or event maps should indicate usable areas including maximum number of people allowed at the venue, location of hand washing and hand sanitising stations, first aid and isolation areas and queuing locations (e.g. for entrances, food outlets etc). 
  • Consider setting up isolation areas in case an attendee presents with COVID-19 symptoms or fails pre-screening. Create a plan so you know what to do where you suspect an attendee or worker has the virus or has been exposed. See also our information on hygiene and COVID-19 in your workplace
  • Controls that rely on workers advising and reminding attendees of physical distancing are less effective and may introduce other risks, such as work-related violence and aggression. Physical control measures such as barriers to separate attendees and reconfiguring the layout of the venue are generally more effective. Workers must be trained in processes and procedures to support physical distancing, including what to do if attendees do not follow these requirements (e.g. notify security or call police), and how to report incidents. You should consider the risks and whether security personnel may be required. 
  • You must review the effectiveness of control measures and adapt them or introduce additional control measures if existing arrangements are not effective and reliable.  Ensure signage (including event maps) and policies indicate work-related violence will not be tolerated. See also our information on work-related violence and information on vulnerable workers if you have workers, including volunteers who may be considered vulnerable due to their age or other factors. 

Set up and pack up of venues (bump-in and bump-out)

Bumping in and out of conferences, exhibitions or events may require the attendance of multiple people in the venue at the same time including venue staff, people running the conference or event, exhibitor or stall holders and their suppliers as well as other contractors such as catering services and building and construction trades.  You will need to consult and cooperate with these businesses to identify the work tasks, processes and situations where people will be in close contact with each other when setting up and packing up the venue. This may include:

  • installation and removal of displays and exhibitions
  • setting up of tables and chairs
  • setting up of audio-visual equipment, e.g. lighting and staging
  • food preparation areas
  • the delivery of goods.

You will need to assess the level of risk that people will be exposed to the virus and what measures should be implemented to address the risk so far as is reasonably practicable. 

You will need to undertake these steps for each event, conference and exhibition. 

Measures that may assist with physical distancing during bumping in and out include:

  • minimising the number of people within an area at any time. Limit access to the venue or parts of the venue to essential workers only. Restrict public access during set up and pack up
  • recording all workers attendance at the venue for contact tracing and encouraging workers to download the Australian government’s COVIDSafe app 
  • staggering the bumping in and out process. For example, staggering the setting up of exhibitions and stalls. Schedule time between installations and removal so that there is no overlap of workers arriving and leaving the venue or a particular part of the venue or have different entrances and exits to avoid interaction
  • require workers to use other methods such as mobile phone or radio to communicate rather than face to face interaction
  • put signs around the venue and create wall or floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance or specific walkways. Workers could wear a badge as a visual reminder to each other of physical distancing requirements
  • existing site inductions should be revised to include physical distancing measures at your venue.

Where it is not reasonably practicable to implement physical distancing measures, for example during the installation and pack up of displays and exhibitions you will need to consider other measures to ensure the safety of your workers and others. You will need to consult with the relevant exhibitor or stall holder and their suppliers where this issue arises. See our information on what to do if workers cannot maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from each other or others and our information on personal protective equipment (PPE). For specific information contact your state or territory WHS regulator for advice. 

Deliveries to the venue

Consult with your clients, exhibitors or stall holders and their suppliers to develop a plan for deliveries to minimise interactions that occur when deliveries take place. The plan could include measures such as:

  • contacting delivery suppliers to understand the systems in place for identifying if their employees are unwell and what actions are taken
  • encouraging deliveries to the venue occur outside the operational hours of the conference, event or exhibition
  • minimising the number of workers attending to deliveries and contractors as much as possible
  • ensuring handwashing facilities, or if not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitiser, is readily available after workers physically handle deliveries
  • directing delivery drivers to remain in vehicles and use contactless methods such as mobile phones to communicate with workers wherever possible. Allow drivers access to toilet facilities as needed
  • directing delivery drivers to use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before handling products being delivered
  • using and asking delivery drivers to use electronic paperwork 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 sanitised before use. For pens, you may wish to use your own
  • the plan should be communicated to all relevant workers and delivery suppliers.

Entry, exiting and intermissions

  • Consider how attendees will attend the conference event or exhibition. If there are car park facilities, ensure that attendees can maintain their distance from each other. Provide signage, floor decals and bollards to direct crowds and indicate distancing requirements. Also consider the need to light signage if your conference, event or exhibition occurs during night time.
  • Liaise with public transport officials to ensure attendees maintain physical distancing to and from public transport hubs if there will be a large number of attendees at the conference event or exhibition. 
  • Stagger entry and exit times if reasonably practicable. 
  • Use signs at the entrance to the venue to indicate the maximum number of attendees permitted at a time. Additional signs should be used at the entry to spaces within the venue, such as separate function rooms and bathrooms. 
  • Provide signage, floor decals and bollards to indicate distancing requirements wherever queuing might occur, including entrances into the building and specific conference rooms or exhibition areas and food and bathroom facilities. Also consider the need to light signage if your conference, event or exhibition occurs during night time.
  • Use signs to designate single-direction entry and exit points. You could use additional entry/exit doors into the venue if it is possible and safe to do so (for example, by using emergency exit doors or adding exits for outdoor venues). 
  • Depending on the size of your venue and the expected size of the group attending the conference event or exhibition, you may need to open the building entrances earlier than usual to reduce queuing for entry and washroom facilities. 
  • Consider whether you can implement measures to maximise physical distancing during your registration or check in process. For example:
    • introduce pre-payment of tickets and registration
    • for ticketed events use contactless technology such as electronic self-scanning or ticket scanning devices
    • for conferences and events that require registration of attendance set up an online system if possible
    • if workers are required for ticketing or registration for a conference, event or exhibition implement measures to maximise physical distancing including partitions between the worker and attendees and put up signage, floor decals and bollards to indicate distancing requirements wherever queuing might occur
    • extend entry and registration times and implement measures that result in attendees staggering their arrival time 
    • ensure foyers or waiting areas do not become crowded by opening doors earlier and encouraging attendees to be seated or allow access to open areas while they wait
    • for conferences and events eliminate physical packages or information/show bags by sending this information to attendees in electronic form. For example, send presentation notes to attendees’ emails before or make them available on a website during the presentation
    • if conferences or events have multiple seminars or activities running, consider staggering start and finish times of these seminars or activities so attendees are not concurrently using foyer space or facilities.
  • Consider implementing measures to limit the number of attendees gathering around and accessing lockers, cloakrooms or pigeon holes at the same time. Where possible, workers should not handle an attendees’ personal items. If workers do handle these items, they must wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser after doing so.
  • Ensure foyers or waiting areas do not become crowded during intermissions or break times by implementing the above measures to opening up additional spaces for attendee. Extend intermissions or breaks to facilitate the safe flow of attendee traffic and access to facilities.
  • For conferences and seated events consider asking attendees to exit the venue in an order that allows those closest to the exit to leave first. Provide signage at exits requesting attendees disperse swiftly to avoid crowding near exits. 
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser stations at all entry and exit points and throughout the venue, particularly areas that may have high touchpoints or traffic flows. 
    • ensure that these are regularly inspected and restocked as needed to ensure adequate supplies.
  • Minimise the need to touch door handles by chocking doors open with foot operated doorstoppers, where safe and appropriate for emergency exit doors.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation if the venue is indoors.

Layout of and movement through conferences events or exhibitions

The layout of areas must allow for staff and attendees to enter, exit and move about the venue both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable.  Ensure that any changes you make maintain disability access including when entering and moving through the venue, visibility of pathways and access to new instructions.

Conferences or events – predominately seated

  • Arrange seats and tables to provide sufficient space per person to meet state and territory requirements, and to ensure attendees can keep at least 1.5 metres between each other (noting attendees are not required to distance from people from their family unit or household). Remove or tape-off furniture that is excessive to the venue’s adjusted capacity. Keep in mind that attendees with accessibility requirements may need priority access to furniture. 
  • Where larger communal type tables are used, consider changing to smaller tables where possible or implement measures to ensure each group of attendees are spaced at least 1.5 metres from other groups. Alternatively, use markings to show that individuals are unable to sit down in certain spots.
  • Where tiered seating is used, close every second row and leave at least 1.5 metres between people of different households.
  • Encourage attendees to stay in the same seat or at the same table for the duration of the event or conference or consider ‘grouping’ attendees where possible (e.g attendees from the same organisation) and advising the ‘groups’ to minimise interaction outside of their group. Group work should be conducted in such a way to enable attendees to maintain at least 1.5 metres. 
  • Encourage presenters at conferences or events to stay in one area or if they are to walk around, to ensure they maintain their distance from attendees.
  • Consider limiting the use of paper at your conference or event and identify where measures should be implemented so to reduce close contact between people when using paper. For example butcher’s paper for group work. 
  • Consider a phased/staggered plan for seating attendees in the venue (similar to plane boarding) based on the specific configuration of your venue (e.g. tables nearest to the exit or Rows A-G). This may be aided by pre-queuing, foyer paging announcements, or instructions provided to attendees upon entry to the building.
  • Maximise ventilation by opening doors and windows where possible.
  • For workers in attendance including venue staff and workers running the conference or event:
    • if reasonably practicable, consider grouping workers and encourage them to only interact with each other to the extent possible while still maintaining physical distancing (e.g. taking meal breaks together)
    • encourage workers with designated areas and equipment to stay in that area and not undertake non-essential interactions with other staff. 

Exhibitions and events – predominately free standing

  • Consider the layout of the exhibition or event. You should provide enough space per person to meet any state and territory requirements, allowing for larger spaces between stalls, displays and stands to enable workers and attendees to maintain their distance. 
  • Monitor the total number of attendees in the event or venue to ensure it does not exceed maximum occupancy limits.
  • Put up signs, markings and posters to encourage one way traffic flow. Use signage, screen networks, information directories and public announcements to remind attendees about physical distancing.
  • Implement measures to reduce the number of attendees around stalls, displays or demonstrations. For example:
    • rearrange the stall display or demonstration to enable attendees to maintain their physical distance
    • erect signs and markers on walls and floors to remind attendees to maintain their physical distance 
    • if possible erect physical barriers or put in place a time limit for attendees. You may need to allocate a staff member to manage crowding and erect signage informing attendees of the time limit to help implement this
    • encourage stall holders to stay within their own space
    • place alcohol-based hand sanitiser stations in each stall and away from congregation areas so they don’t create choke points.
  • Where possible, spread out goods or activities to encourage physical distancing between attendees. You may need to consult with exhibitor or stall holders on how they set up their displays or exhibition stands. 
  • Consult with exhibitor or stall holders on limiting interactive activities such as demonstrations to avoid attendees being in close proximity.
  • Consider limiting the use of paper documents (e.g. pamphlets displayed on stalls) to eliminate close contact. Encourage the use of electronic documents instead or display information on large signs or posters for attendees to see. 
  • Assess the need for general seating within the venue and only keep seating if a safe physical distance can be maintained. Consider prioritising seating, for example for the elderly and people with a disability.
  • Maximise ventilation by opening doors and windows where possible.
  • For workers in attendance including venue staff, security, exhibitors and stall holders:
  • If reasonably practicable, consider grouping workers and encourage them to only interact with each other to the extent possible (e.g. taking meal breaks together)
  • Encourage workers with designated areas and equipment to stay in that area and not undertake non-essential interactions with other staff. 

Food and Drinks services

For advice about maintaining physical distancing in restaurants, bars and cafes, see our information on physical distancing in the hospitality industry.

Catered events and conferences 

  • If possible, restrict food and drinks to table service only to reduce the movement of attendees and the number of surfaces touched. This includes removing buffet style or ‘serve yourself’ style food services and avoid shared food such as tasting or sample plates at stalls. Eliminate common areas that store cutlery and condiments and have workers provide these to attendees instead.  
  • Consider eliminating the use of communal water jugs and lolly bowls on tables to reduce movement and frequently touched surfaces.  Instead consider other ways attendees can access water such as encouraging attendees to bring their own water bottles or providing each attendee with their own bottled water.
  • Encourage good hand hygiene by requiring attendees to wash their hands with soap and water or, where not practicable, use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before eating.
  • Place alcohol-based hand sanitiser stations at food and drinks service areas away from congregation areas so they don’t create choke points.

Food and drinks for purchase by attendees

  • Congregation of attendees for drink or bar services, or to purchase food should be minimised to the extent possible, for example by allowing attendees to pre-order or order electronically and creating separate areas within your venue for these services. 
  • Have a number of food and drink services open where reasonably practicable to disperse crowds.
  • Limit access to behind the counter areas, including any storage areas, to essential staff only. If reasonably practicable, consider separating staff into ‘groups’ according to where they work. For example, food and beverage counter staff should only interact with other food and beverage counter staff to the extent possible.
  • Implement measures to restrict attendee numbers in service areas in accordance with physical distancing requirements in your state or territory. Ensure attendees can access food and drink areas while maintaining physical distancing and implementing queuing outside the service area with floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance. 
  • Consider assigning a staff member to manage queues and attendee access and egress during busier times. 
  • Use separate doors for attendee entry and exit, if practicable, to avoid contact between attendees. If this is not possible, use other control measures, such as markings on the ground to direct the movement/flow of attendees.
  • Adapt menus and pricelists to avoid attendees having to share physical menus or congregate by posting online or by erecting large signs. 
  • If you offer online or phone ordering and payment, take extra steps to promote this option to reduce face to face interaction at the premises. Notify attendees only when their orders are ready for collection and request attendees do not arrive in the food and drink area prior to that time.
  • Consider using physical barriers where possible, such as installing a plexiglass barrier at the counter and using stanchion and rope barriers to separate attendees as they queue. 
  • Set up different areas for ordering and collection – e.g. consider designating an order counter and pick-up counter.
  • Place signs around ordering and waiting areas and create wall or floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance. 
  • If changing the physical layout of the service areas is part of your measures, your layout must allow for staff and attendees 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.  
  • For more advice about maintaining physical distancing between staff behind counter areas, see our information on physical distancing in the hospitality industry.

Lifts

  • Even if workers and attendees only spend a short amount of time in a lift each day, 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 lifts, however you must still ensure, as far as you reasonably can, that people maintain physical distancing in lifts and lift waiting areas.
  • Safe use of lifts is best achieved through a combination of measures, determined in consultation with workers, other employers in the building and the building owner/manager. This includes:  
    • reducing the number of workers and attendees who need to use the lift at the same time
    • implementing physical distancing measures in the lift waiting area including queueing systems 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
    • placing signage in lifts and lift waiting areas reminding users to practice physical distancing and good hygiene while using and waiting for lifts.
  • If workers and attendees 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.

Staff gatherings and training

You must provide workers with any training, instruction and supervision necessary to implement the safety measures you have introduced, for example physical distancing requirements. However, consider how this can be provided safely. If possible, postpone or cancel non-essential gatherings, meetings or training. 

If gatherings, meetings or training are essential:

  • use non face-to-face options – e.g. electronic communication such as tele and video conferencing 
  • if a non face-to-face option is not possible, ensure face-to-face time is limited, that is make sure the gathering, meeting or training goes for no longer than it needs to 
  • hold the gathering, meeting or training in spaces that enable workers to keep at least 1.5 metres apart– e.g. outdoors or in large conference rooms 
  • limit the number of attendees in a gathering, meeting or training. This may require, for example, multiple training sessions to be held 
  • ensure adequate ventilation if held indoors. 

On-going review and monitoring

If physical distancing measures introduce new health and safety risks  you need to manage those risks too.  Put processes in place to regularly monitor and review the implementation of physical distancing measures to ensure they are being followed and remain effective. 

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 workers and attendees to keep at least 1.5 metres apart at all times at the workplace. For example, workers may have to work closely with each other or others because of the nature of the task and some tasks require workers to be in close proximity to be carried out safely, such as construction of exhibition stalls or displays. 

Working in close contact increases the risk of workers being exposed to COVID-19. You must consider whether the work task must be completed or could be rescheduled to a later date. If the task must be completed and your workers or workers and attendees will be in close contact, 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 attendees only 
  • staggering session times to minimise number of attendees 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
  • 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 attendees 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 clients in the workplace. You must also ensure workers and clients 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 clients 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. 

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 at least 1.5 metres between people.  

In some states and territories there are strict limitations on gatherings in public places. This means that in some circumstances, workers cannot eat lunch together in a park or travel together in a vehicle to and from work.  

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. 
 

Physical distancing

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has issued a statement on very high-risk environments, including nightclubs, dance venues and large unstructured outdoor events. For more information please refer to the AHPPC website.

What is physical distancing and how does it prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Physical distancing (also referred to as ‘social distancing’) refers to the requirement that people distance themselves from others.  

COVID-19 spreads from person to person through contact with droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets may fall directly into the person’s eyes, nose or mouth if they are in close contact with the infected person. A person may also be infected if they touch a surface contaminated with the droplets and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes before washing their hands.

Current health advice states that in order to reduce the risk of contact and droplet spread from a person, directly or indirectly, and from contaminated surfaces, people should maintain physical distance of at least 1.5 metres, practice good hand hygiene and engage in routine cleaning and disinfection of surfaces. 

Physical distancing can also include requirements for there to be 4 square metres of space per person in a room or enclosed space, as well as limits on gathering sizes. These requirements differ between industries and between states and territories. For example, some states and territories have updated public health directions to adjust physical distancing rules in line with local circumstances, such as 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 applicable to your business, 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.

Do I need to implement physical distancing measures in my workplace?

Yes. It is your duty under work health and safety laws to manage the risk of a person in your workplace spreading and contracting COVID-19, including the risk that persons with COVID-19 enter the workplace. Physical distancing is one of the key ways to lower the risk of COVID-19 being spread or contracted at your workplace.  

The risk of COVID-19 should be treated in the same way as any other workplace hazard – by applying a risk management approach. 

In consultation with your workers, including volunteers, and their representatives (e.g. health and safety representatives (HSRs)), you will need to assess the likelihood and degree of harm people may experience if exposed to COVID-19 and then implement the most effective control measures that are reasonably practicable to manage the risk. The control measures you implement should include outcomes that support physical distancing and operate alongside measures encouraging good hygiene amongst workers and others as well as regular and thorough cleaning of the workplace.

To meet your WHS duty you should be continually monitoring and reviewing the risks to the health and safety of workers and others, as well as the effectiveness of control measures put in place to eliminate or minimise these risks. You must also assess any new or changed risks arising from COVID-19, for example customer aggression, high work demand or working in isolation.

Further guidance on the risk management process is available in the Code of Practice: How to manage work health and safety risks.

You may also need to comply with physical distancing measures issued under public health directions in your state or territory. Each state and territory has directions that reflect local circumstances. For more information about physical distancing requirements, go to your relevant state or territory government website. You can also go to our public health directions and COVIDSafe plans page for links to government health directions. 

How do the public health directions in my state or territory interact with my WHS duty?

You must comply with your state or territory’s public health directions that apply to your business. 

Your WHS duty is to do all that you reasonably can to manage the risks of a person contracting and/or spreading COVID-19 in your workplace. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to implement control measures in order to meet your WHS duty that go beyond the minimum requirements stated in public health directions or advised by public health authorities. For example, public health directions may state you can have up to 10 customers in your shop at any one time. However, in undertaking your risk assessment you may determine that due to the layout of the workplace and your work processes, having 10 customers in the store would not effectively support physical distancing outcomes. Instead, limiting your store to 8 customers at a time would ensure everyone can maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from each other.

How do I determine which physical distancing measures to implement to minimise the risk of COVID 19 spreading in my workplace?

To determine which physical distancing measures will be most effective in your workplace, you will need to undertake a risk assessment.

A risk assessment is part of the risk management process which involves identifying where the risk arises in your workplace, assessing the risks (including the likelihood of them happening), controlling the risks and reviewing these controls regularly. These steps remain the same whether you are conducting a risk assessment in relation to work health and safety generally, or specifically in relation to COVID-19.

In order to determine the most effective physical distancing measures you will need to: 

  • identify all activities or situations where people in your workplace may be in close proximity to each other
  • assess the level of risk that people in these activities or situations may contract and/or spread COVID-19 in your workplace
  • determine what control measures are reasonably practicable to implement based on the assessed level of risk. 

Remember, you must consult with workers, including volunteers, and their representatives (e.g. health and safety representatives) 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.   

See also our information on key considerations for undertaking a risk assessment – COVID-19

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

Below are suggested measures to ensure physical distancing is achieved in your industry. Certain activities may not be permissible or there may be specific requirements in your state or territory at this time and therefore some of the proposed measures may not be relevant to your workplace. For more information about physical distancing requirements, go to your relevant state or territory government website. You can also go to our public health directions and COVIDSafe plans page for links to government health directions. 

Remember, you must do all that is reasonably practicable to manage the risk of people contracting and/or spreading COVID-19. See also our guidance on determining what is reasonably practicable for more information.

Also 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.  

You should also refer to our other industry guidance, for measures to implement within your own physical workplace. For example, see our guidance for offices for information on measures to implement for your business’ office building. 

General measures

  • Ensure attendance numbers allow for physical distancing and provide sufficient space per person in accordance with state or territory requirements, with at least 1.5 metres between attendees. 
    • Work out how many people can be in the venue overall as well as discrete enclosed areas of the venue.
    • For exhibitions and events consider limiting the number or size of exhibitions or stalls where reasonably practicable. 
    • Consider whether you can stagger the number of activities held at the same time during a conference, event or exhibition to limit the number of attendees gathered at the same time. 
  • For exhibitions and events where there is no fixed seating consider, if reasonably practicable, setting up a booking system to enable a certain number of attendees to enter the venue for a set period of time. Depending on the size of the event or exhibition, provide adequate time between one group ending and another one commencing to allow enough time for attendees to leave and appropriate cleaning and disinfecting of high touch point items to occur. If setting up this system communicate this to attendees on relevant social media platforms and on your website.
  • Consider moving events, conferences and exhibitions to a larger space or outdoors if possible.
  • Provide access to additional facilities such as toilets if possible. For outdoor venues consider additional portable toilets to avoid congestion of attendees. 
  • Consider whether you could have a ‘hybrid model’ that combines a live event with online attendance. 
  • Ask attendees to provide their contact details at the point of ticket purchase and retain these records for the period required in your state. This may assist local health authorities if contact tracing is required and may be legally required in your state or territory under health and emergency directions. 
    • If you have a membership program, keep member details up to date. 
    • If it is a non-ticketed event or exhibition you may need to implement strategies to obtain attendee’s information, such as pre-registering for the event through event website or encouraging attendees to download the Australian government’s COVIDSafe app. Consult with your relevant state or territory public health authority for assistance. 
  • Advise attendees about venue requirements in advance. This can be achieved by sending emails to all registered attendants and through web pages advertising the event. The information should include:
    • when the venue doors will be open
    • whether food and drink venues and cloaking services will be available 
    • how attendees will be asked to queue and exit the venue
    • any other relevant rules or new systems in place that you will be asking attendees to observe. 
  • Ensure that any changes you make maintain disability access and safe thoroughfares for all attendees. This includes access when entering and moving through the venue, visibility of pathways and access to new instructions.
  • Place signage about physical distancing around the venue and on event maps. See our range of posters and resources to help remind workers and attendees of the risks of COVID-19 and the measures that are necessary to stop its spread. Clear, illustrated signage may assist communicating physical distancing requirements to attendees with language, hearing or literacy barriers. Also consider the need to light signage if your conference, event or exhibition occurs during night time.
  • Site or event maps should indicate usable areas including maximum number of people allowed at the venue, location of hand washing and hand sanitising stations, first aid and isolation areas and queuing locations (e.g. for entrances, food outlets etc). 
  • Consider setting up isolation areas in case an attendee presents with COVID-19 symptoms or fails pre-screening. Create a plan so you know what to do where you suspect an attendee or worker has the virus or has been exposed. See also our information on hygiene and COVID-19 in your workplace
  • Controls that rely on workers advising and reminding attendees of physical distancing are less effective and may introduce other risks, such as work-related violence and aggression. Physical control measures such as barriers to separate attendees and reconfiguring the layout of the venue are generally more effective. Workers must be trained in processes and procedures to support physical distancing, including what to do if attendees do not follow these requirements (e.g. notify security or call police), and how to report incidents. You should consider the risks and whether security personnel may be required. 
  • You must review the effectiveness of control measures and adapt them or introduce additional control measures if existing arrangements are not effective and reliable.  Ensure signage (including event maps) and policies indicate work-related violence will not be tolerated. See also our information on work-related violence and information on vulnerable workers if you have workers, including volunteers who may be considered vulnerable due to their age or other factors. 

Set up and pack up of venues (bump-in and bump-out)

Bumping in and out of conferences, exhibitions or events may require the attendance of multiple people in the venue at the same time including venue staff, people running the conference or event, exhibitor or stall holders and their suppliers as well as other contractors such as catering services and building and construction trades.  You will need to consult and cooperate with these businesses to identify the work tasks, processes and situations where people will be in close contact with each other when setting up and packing up the venue. This may include:

  • installation and removal of displays and exhibitions
  • setting up of tables and chairs
  • setting up of audio-visual equipment, e.g. lighting and staging
  • food preparation areas
  • the delivery of goods.

You will need to assess the level of risk that people will be exposed to the virus and what measures should be implemented to address the risk so far as is reasonably practicable. 

You will need to undertake these steps for each event, conference and exhibition. 

Measures that may assist with physical distancing during bumping in and out include:

  • minimising the number of people within an area at any time. Limit access to the venue or parts of the venue to essential workers only. Restrict public access during set up and pack up
  • recording all workers attendance at the venue for contact tracing and encouraging workers to download the Australian government’s COVIDSafe app 
  • staggering the bumping in and out process. For example, staggering the setting up of exhibitions and stalls. Schedule time between installations and removal so that there is no overlap of workers arriving and leaving the venue or a particular part of the venue or have different entrances and exits to avoid interaction
  • require workers to use other methods such as mobile phone or radio to communicate rather than face to face interaction
  • put signs around the venue and create wall or floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance or specific walkways. Workers could wear a badge as a visual reminder to each other of physical distancing requirements
  • existing site inductions should be revised to include physical distancing measures at your venue.

Where it is not reasonably practicable to implement physical distancing measures, for example during the installation and pack up of displays and exhibitions you will need to consider other measures to ensure the safety of your workers and others. You will need to consult with the relevant exhibitor or stall holder and their suppliers where this issue arises. See our information on what to do if workers cannot maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from each other or others and our information on personal protective equipment (PPE). For specific information contact your state or territory WHS regulator for advice. 

Deliveries to the venue

Consult with your clients, exhibitors or stall holders and their suppliers to develop a plan for deliveries to minimise interactions that occur when deliveries take place. The plan could include measures such as:

  • contacting delivery suppliers to understand the systems in place for identifying if their employees are unwell and what actions are taken
  • encouraging deliveries to the venue occur outside the operational hours of the conference, event or exhibition
  • minimising the number of workers attending to deliveries and contractors as much as possible
  • ensuring handwashing facilities, or if not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitiser, is readily available after workers physically handle deliveries
  • directing delivery drivers to remain in vehicles and use contactless methods such as mobile phones to communicate with workers wherever possible. Allow drivers access to toilet facilities as needed
  • directing delivery drivers to use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before handling products being delivered
  • using and asking delivery drivers to use electronic paperwork 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 sanitised before use. For pens, you may wish to use your own
  • the plan should be communicated to all relevant workers and delivery suppliers.

Entry, exiting and intermissions

  • Consider how attendees will attend the conference event or exhibition. If there are car park facilities, ensure that attendees can maintain their distance from each other. Provide signage, floor decals and bollards to direct crowds and indicate distancing requirements. Also consider the need to light signage if your conference, event or exhibition occurs during night time.
  • Liaise with public transport officials to ensure attendees maintain physical distancing to and from public transport hubs if there will be a large number of attendees at the conference event or exhibition. 
  • Stagger entry and exit times if reasonably practicable. 
  • Use signs at the entrance to the venue to indicate the maximum number of attendees permitted at a time. Additional signs should be used at the entry to spaces within the venue, such as separate function rooms and bathrooms. 
  • Provide signage, floor decals and bollards to indicate distancing requirements wherever queuing might occur, including entrances into the building and specific conference rooms or exhibition areas and food and bathroom facilities. Also consider the need to light signage if your conference, event or exhibition occurs during night time.
  • Use signs to designate single-direction entry and exit points. You could use additional entry/exit doors into the venue if it is possible and safe to do so (for example, by using emergency exit doors or adding exits for outdoor venues). 
  • Depending on the size of your venue and the expected size of the group attending the conference event or exhibition, you may need to open the building entrances earlier than usual to reduce queuing for entry and washroom facilities. 
  • Consider whether you can implement measures to maximise physical distancing during your registration or check in process. For example:
    • introduce pre-payment of tickets and registration
    • for ticketed events use contactless technology such as electronic self-scanning or ticket scanning devices
    • for conferences and events that require registration of attendance set up an online system if possible
    • if workers are required for ticketing or registration for a conference, event or exhibition implement measures to maximise physical distancing including partitions between the worker and attendees and put up signage, floor decals and bollards to indicate distancing requirements wherever queuing might occur
    • extend entry and registration times and implement measures that result in attendees staggering their arrival time 
    • ensure foyers or waiting areas do not become crowded by opening doors earlier and encouraging attendees to be seated or allow access to open areas while they wait
    • for conferences and events eliminate physical packages or information/show bags by sending this information to attendees in electronic form. For example, send presentation notes to attendees’ emails before or make them available on a website during the presentation
    • if conferences or events have multiple seminars or activities running, consider staggering start and finish times of these seminars or activities so attendees are not concurrently using foyer space or facilities.
  • Consider implementing measures to limit the number of attendees gathering around and accessing lockers, cloakrooms or pigeon holes at the same time. Where possible, workers should not handle an attendees’ personal items. If workers do handle these items, they must wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser after doing so.
  • Ensure foyers or waiting areas do not become crowded during intermissions or break times by implementing the above measures to opening up additional spaces for attendee. Extend intermissions or breaks to facilitate the safe flow of attendee traffic and access to facilities.
  • For conferences and seated events consider asking attendees to exit the venue in an order that allows those closest to the exit to leave first. Provide signage at exits requesting attendees disperse swiftly to avoid crowding near exits. 
  • Provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser stations at all entry and exit points and throughout the venue, particularly areas that may have high touchpoints or traffic flows. 
    • ensure that these are regularly inspected and restocked as needed to ensure adequate supplies.
  • Minimise the need to touch door handles by chocking doors open with foot operated doorstoppers, where safe and appropriate for emergency exit doors.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation if the venue is indoors.

Layout of and movement through conferences events or exhibitions

The layout of areas must allow for staff and attendees to enter, exit and move about the venue both under normal working conditions and in an emergency without risks to their health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable.  Ensure that any changes you make maintain disability access including when entering and moving through the venue, visibility of pathways and access to new instructions.

Conferences or events – predominately seated

  • Arrange seats and tables to provide sufficient space per person to meet state and territory requirements, and to ensure attendees can keep at least 1.5 metres between each other (noting attendees are not required to distance from people from their family unit or household). Remove or tape-off furniture that is excessive to the venue’s adjusted capacity. Keep in mind that attendees with accessibility requirements may need priority access to furniture. 
  • Where larger communal type tables are used, consider changing to smaller tables where possible or implement measures to ensure each group of attendees are spaced at least 1.5 metres from other groups. Alternatively, use markings to show that individuals are unable to sit down in certain spots.
  • Where tiered seating is used, close every second row and leave at least 1.5 metres between people of different households.
  • Encourage attendees to stay in the same seat or at the same table for the duration of the event or conference or consider ‘grouping’ attendees where possible (e.g attendees from the same organisation) and advising the ‘groups’ to minimise interaction outside of their group. Group work should be conducted in such a way to enable attendees to maintain at least 1.5 metres. 
  • Encourage presenters at conferences or events to stay in one area or if they are to walk around, to ensure they maintain their distance from attendees.
  • Consider limiting the use of paper at your conference or event and identify where measures should be implemented so to reduce close contact between people when using paper. For example butcher’s paper for group work. 
  • Consider a phased/staggered plan for seating attendees in the venue (similar to plane boarding) based on the specific configuration of your venue (e.g. tables nearest to the exit or Rows A-G). This may be aided by pre-queuing, foyer paging announcements, or instructions provided to attendees upon entry to the building.
  • Maximise ventilation by opening doors and windows where possible.
  • For workers in attendance including venue staff and workers running the conference or event:
    • if reasonably practicable, consider grouping workers and encourage them to only interact with each other to the extent possible while still maintaining physical distancing (e.g. taking meal breaks together)
    • encourage workers with designated areas and equipment to stay in that area and not undertake non-essential interactions with other staff. 

Exhibitions and events – predominately free standing

  • Consider the layout of the exhibition or event. You should provide enough space per person to meet any state and territory requirements, allowing for larger spaces between stalls, displays and stands to enable workers and attendees to maintain their distance. 
  • Monitor the total number of attendees in the event or venue to ensure it does not exceed maximum occupancy limits.
  • Put up signs, markings and posters to encourage one way traffic flow. Use signage, screen networks, information directories and public announcements to remind attendees about physical distancing.
  • Implement measures to reduce the number of attendees around stalls, displays or demonstrations. For example:
    • rearrange the stall display or demonstration to enable attendees to maintain their physical distance
    • erect signs and markers on walls and floors to remind attendees to maintain their physical distance 
    • if possible erect physical barriers or put in place a time limit for attendees. You may need to allocate a staff member to manage crowding and erect signage informing attendees of the time limit to help implement this
    • encourage stall holders to stay within their own space
    • place alcohol-based hand sanitiser stations in each stall and away from congregation areas so they don’t create choke points.
  • Where possible, spread out goods or activities to encourage physical distancing between attendees. You may need to consult with exhibitor or stall holders on how they set up their displays or exhibition stands. 
  • Consult with exhibitor or stall holders on limiting interactive activities such as demonstrations to avoid attendees being in close proximity.
  • Consider limiting the use of paper documents (e.g. pamphlets displayed on stalls) to eliminate close contact. Encourage the use of electronic documents instead or display information on large signs or posters for attendees to see. 
  • Assess the need for general seating within the venue and only keep seating if a safe physical distance can be maintained. Consider prioritising seating, for example for the elderly and people with a disability.
  • Maximise ventilation by opening doors and windows where possible.
  • For workers in attendance including venue staff, security, exhibitors and stall holders:
  • If reasonably practicable, consider grouping workers and encourage them to only interact with each other to the extent possible (e.g. taking meal breaks together)
  • Encourage workers with designated areas and equipment to stay in that area and not undertake non-essential interactions with other staff. 

Food and Drinks services

For advice about maintaining physical distancing in restaurants, bars and cafes, see our information on physical distancing in the hospitality industry.

Catered events and conferences 

  • If possible, restrict food and drinks to table service only to reduce the movement of attendees and the number of surfaces touched. This includes removing buffet style or ‘serve yourself’ style food services and avoid shared food such as tasting or sample plates at stalls. Eliminate common areas that store cutlery and condiments and have workers provide these to attendees instead.  
  • Consider eliminating the use of communal water jugs and lolly bowls on tables to reduce movement and frequently touched surfaces.  Instead consider other ways attendees can access water such as encouraging attendees to bring their own water bottles or providing each attendee with their own bottled water.
  • Encourage good hand hygiene by requiring attendees to wash their hands with soap and water or, where not practicable, use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before eating.
  • Place alcohol-based hand sanitiser stations at food and drinks service areas away from congregation areas so they don’t create choke points.

Food and drinks for purchase by attendees

  • Congregation of attendees for drink or bar services, or to purchase food should be minimised to the extent possible, for example by allowing attendees to pre-order or order electronically and creating separate areas within your venue for these services. 
  • Have a number of food and drink services open where reasonably practicable to disperse crowds.
  • Limit access to behind the counter areas, including any storage areas, to essential staff only. If reasonably practicable, consider separating staff into ‘groups’ according to where they work. For example, food and beverage counter staff should only interact with other food and beverage counter staff to the extent possible.
  • Implement measures to restrict attendee numbers in service areas in accordance with physical distancing requirements in your state or territory. Ensure attendees can access food and drink areas while maintaining physical distancing and implementing queuing outside the service area with floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance. 
  • Consider assigning a staff member to manage queues and attendee access and egress during busier times. 
  • Use separate doors for attendee entry and exit, if practicable, to avoid contact between attendees. If this is not possible, use other control measures, such as markings on the ground to direct the movement/flow of attendees.
  • Adapt menus and pricelists to avoid attendees having to share physical menus or congregate by posting online or by erecting large signs. 
  • If you offer online or phone ordering and payment, take extra steps to promote this option to reduce face to face interaction at the premises. Notify attendees only when their orders are ready for collection and request attendees do not arrive in the food and drink area prior to that time.
  • Consider using physical barriers where possible, such as installing a plexiglass barrier at the counter and using stanchion and rope barriers to separate attendees as they queue. 
  • Set up different areas for ordering and collection – e.g. consider designating an order counter and pick-up counter.
  • Place signs around ordering and waiting areas and create wall or floor markings to identify 1.5 metres distance. 
  • If changing the physical layout of the service areas is part of your measures, your layout must allow for staff and attendees 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.  
  • For more advice about maintaining physical distancing between staff behind counter areas, see our information on physical distancing in the hospitality industry.

Lifts

  • Even if workers and attendees only spend a short amount of time in a lift each day, 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 lifts, however you must still ensure, as far as you reasonably can, that people maintain physical distancing in lifts and lift waiting areas.
  • Safe use of lifts is best achieved through a combination of measures, determined in consultation with workers, other employers in the building and the building owner/manager. This includes:  
    • reducing the number of workers and attendees who need to use the lift at the same time
    • implementing physical distancing measures in the lift waiting area including queueing systems 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
    • placing signage in lifts and lift waiting areas reminding users to practice physical distancing and good hygiene while using and waiting for lifts.
  • If workers and attendees 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.

Staff gatherings and training

You must provide workers with any training, instruction and supervision necessary to implement the safety measures you have introduced, for example physical distancing requirements. However, consider how this can be provided safely. If possible, postpone or cancel non-essential gatherings, meetings or training. 

If gatherings, meetings or training are essential:

  • use non face-to-face options – e.g. electronic communication such as tele and video conferencing 
  • if a non face-to-face option is not possible, ensure face-to-face time is limited, that is make sure the gathering, meeting or training goes for no longer than it needs to 
  • hold the gathering, meeting or training in spaces that enable workers to keep at least 1.5 metres apart– e.g. outdoors or in large conference rooms 
  • limit the number of attendees in a gathering, meeting or training. This may require, for example, multiple training sessions to be held 
  • ensure adequate ventilation if held indoors. 

On-going review and monitoring

If physical distancing measures introduce new health and safety risks  you need to manage those risks too.  Put processes in place to regularly monitor and review the implementation of physical distancing measures to ensure they are being followed and remain effective. 

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 workers and attendees to keep at least 1.5 metres apart at all times at the workplace. For example, workers may have to work closely with each other or others because of the nature of the task and some tasks require workers to be in close proximity to be carried out safely, such as construction of exhibition stalls or displays. 

Working in close contact increases the risk of workers being exposed to COVID-19. You must consider whether the work task must be completed or could be rescheduled to a later date. If the task must be completed and your workers or workers and attendees will be in close contact, 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 attendees only 
  • staggering session times to minimise number of attendees 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
  • 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 attendees 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 clients in the workplace. You must also ensure workers and clients 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 clients 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. 

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 at least 1.5 metres between people.  

In some states and territories there are strict limitations on gatherings in public places. This means that in some circumstances, workers cannot eat lunch together in a park or travel together in a vehicle to and from work.  

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. 

 

Physical distancing

What is physical distancing and how does it prevent the spread of COVID-19?

Physical distancing (also referred to as ‘social distancing’) refers to the requirement that people distance themselves from others.  

COVID-19 spreads from person to person through contact with droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets may fall directly into the person’s eyes, nose or mouth if they are in close contact with the infected person. A person may also be infected if they touch a surface contaminated with the droplets and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes before washing their hands.

Current health advice states that in order to reduce the risk of contact and droplet spread from a person, directly or indirectly, and from contaminated surfaces, people should maintain physical distance of at least 1.5 metres, practice good hand hygiene and engage in routine cleaning and disinfection of surfaces. 

Physical distancing can also include requirements for there to be 4 square metres of space per person in a room or enclosed space, as well as limits on gathering sizes. These requirements differ between industries and between states and territories. For example, some states and territories have updated public health directions to adjust physical distancing rules in line with local circumstances, such as 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 applicable to your business, 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.

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 customers 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 consider delaying the task or seek to 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 people.

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

You may need to wear 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.

In some states and territories there are strict limitations on gatherings in public places. This means that in some circumstances, workers cannot eat lunch together in a park or travel together in a vehicle to and from work.

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

 

About COVID-19

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About COVID-19

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About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450. 

About COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that is caused by a newly discovered form of coronavirus.  

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection that was unknown before the outbreak that started in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. Other known forms of coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

Symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

The common symptoms of COVID-19 may include: 

  • fever 
  • coughing 
  • sore throat 
  • fatigue (tiredness), and  
  • difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. 

Most people infected with COVID-19 will have a mild to moderate illness and will recover without special medical treatment. Some people, such as those with underlying medical problems or disease and older people, are more likely to suffer from more serious symptoms of the diseases. See also our content on vulnerable workers. 

How is COVID-19 spread? 

  • The most likely way someone will catch the virus is by breathing in micro-droplets a person close to them has released by sneezing, coughing –or just breathing out 
  • A person can, however, also catch it via the hand-to-face pathway: touching a surface where live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes 
  • Spread of COVID-19 is highest from people with symptoms 
  • Spread of COVID-19 before symptoms appear is less common 

More information 

For more information about COVID-19 please see the resources available from the Australian Government Department of Health.  

You can also call the National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 if you have questions about COVID-19. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

If you require translating or interpreting services, please call 131 450.