COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A person can acquire the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes.
A key way you can protect workers and others from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is by requiring workers and others to practice good hygiene. Below are measures to ensure good hygiene in your workplace.
Remember, you must consult with workers and health and safety representatives on health and safety matters relating to COVID-19, including what control measures to put in place in your workplace.
Worker and guest hygiene
You must direct your workers and visitors to the workplace to practice good hygiene while at the workplace. Good hygiene requires everyone to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying them completely, preferably with clean, single-use paper towels. If paper towels are unavailable, other methods such as electric hand dryers can be used, however, hands will still need to be dried completely.
Everyone must wash their hands:
- before and after eating
- after coughing or sneezing
- after going to the toilet, and
- when changing tasks and after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.
An alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol as the active ingredient must be used as per the manufacturer’s instructions when it is not possible to wash hands.
Good hygiene also requires everyone at the workplace to, at all times:
- cover their coughs and sneezes with their elbow or a clean tissue (and no spitting)
- avoid touching their face, eyes, nose and mouth
- dispose of tissues and cigarette butts hygienically, e.g. in closed bins
- wash and dry their hands completely before and after smoking a cigarette
- wash and dry hands completely before and after interacting with guests
- clean and disinfect shared equipment and plant after use, including the basin area
- wash body, hair (including facial hair) and clothes thoroughly every day
- have no intentional physical contact, for example, shaking hands and patting backs.
You should implement processes to ensure guests do not enter the workplace if they:
- are experiencing symptoms linked to COVID-19 such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, or
- have been in close contact with someone who is confirmed as having COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms linked to COVID-19.
Inform guests of these expectations when making reservations. If guests are making a reservation over the phone, have a template written out for workers to read to the customer. If booking online, add additional text to the booking confirmation setting out your expectations.
You should also display signs in your front window (or other appropriate place) informing guests of your expectations and not to enter if they or a close contact is unwell.
To enhance good hygiene outcomes:
- develop infection control policies in consultation with your workers. These policies should outline measures in place to prevent the spread of infectious diseases at the workplace. Communicate these policies to workers
- encourage contactless payment where possible
- have guests handle the return of their used clothing and equipment where possible. For example implement a process whereby guests return clothing or equipment (if such items do not need to be inspected by a worker beforehand) onto hangers or into designated baskets or bins to minimise the time workers must handle clothing and equipment.
- provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser in appropriate locations for guests to use, such as entries and exits to resort buildings, around lift areas
- train workers on the importance of washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying them correctly, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, before entering and exiting a common area
- place posters near handwashing facilities showing how to correctly wash and dry hands (for example, if hand dryers are used, place posters advising that hands should be dried completely before finishing) and clean hands with sanitiser, and
- inform workers of workplace hygiene standards that are expected when utilising common areas (cleaning up after yourself, placing rubbish in bins provided, avoiding putting items such as phones on meal surfaces, etc.).
You should put processes in place to regularly monitor and review the implementation of hygiene measures to ensure they are being followed and remain effective.
Gloves, scarfs and ski masks
Respiratory droplets may come into contact with a guest or worker’s gloves, scarf or ski mask. As guests and workers will be wearing these items outside due to cold temperatures and are unlikely to be taking them off, it is not practicable to request guests use alcohol-based hand sanitiser when completing outdoor activities. However, you should encourage guests to still practice good hygiene including cough and sneezing etiquette.
You should also require guests and workers to:
- remove gloves, scarfs and ski masks and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before entering inside areas such as bathrooms, eating or common areas. Provide hand sanitiser upon entry to these inside areas. You may need to set up designated areas for guests to use when taking off or on their items so not to block entries and exits
- not place clothing or equipment on tables or chairs. You may need to consider where guests and workers will put their clothing and equipment when inside. For example could you ask guests to place the items on their lap or in a bag. If you provide additional storage for these items such as lockers or pigeon holes, these will need to be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
- encourage guests and workers to avoid touching their gloves, scarfs and ski masks until they are ready to put them back on. Guests and workers should put these items on just before going outside so to reduce the risk of contaminating surfaces with their respiratory droplets.
- encourage workers and guests to wash their clothing and equipment regularly.
Pre-screening of guests
You should implement processes to ensure guests do not to enter the resort (and to reschedule or refund their ticket) if they:
- are experiencing symptoms linked to COVID-19 such as fever, cough or shortness of breath or are in any way unwell, or
- have been in close contact with someone who is confirmed as having COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms linked to COVID-19.
- Inform guests of these expectations when booking tickets.
- If booking online, add additional text to the booking confirmation setting out your expectations.
- You could also send a text message and/or email to guests a few days before their trip to ask guests to not come to the resort if they or a close contact is unwell.
Clothing and equipment hire
You do not necessarily have to stop the hiring of clothing and equipment to guests however you will need to implement measures to minimise the risk of spreading the infection to both workers and other guests as far as it is reasonably practicable to do so.
This may include discouraging or limiting the number of items guests may try on where possible, implementing additional hygiene measures for guests when they try on clothing or equipment and increasing cleaning processes for changeroom or try on areas and for returned clothing and equipment.
COVID-19 is most commonly spread by a person coming into contact with respiratory droplets released when an infected person close to them coughs or sneezes. A person can also catch the virus by touching a surface where the live virus material is present, then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.
When guests try on clothing or equipment there are three key ways by which infection can be spread:
- directly to a person fitting equipment (such as ski boots) if they are in in close proximity
- through contaminated clothing and being handled (e.g. on its return to hire facility)
- through touching of other contaminated surfaces such as coat hangers, doors, walls and furniture within the changing rooms.
Contamination of clothing and equipment items
The risk of infection through contact with fabric or textiles is low. Porous surfaces, such as textiles and fabrics used to make clothes or curtains in a changing area, are likely to dry very quickly if contaminated by, for example, respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Over time as the droplets dry, the germs become inactive and unable to cause infection.
However, the amount of time a virus survives on a porous (or hard) surface will depend on a range of factors including the number of respiratory droplets coming into contact with the surface, whether the virus is covered in organic material (e.g. spit or wet nasal secretions), the surface type and environmental temperature and humidity. For example if a person uses the sleeve of their hired jacket to catch their sneeze or runny nose it may result in a large amount of respiratory droplets on the fabric which may take several hours to dry and for any germs to become inactive. The virus may also be active for longer if it has access to moisture such as clothing that is wet from snow and ice.
There is also a risk of infection if respiratory droplets land on equipment with hard surfaces (e.g. the plastic coating of a helmet) as the droplets will take longer to dry than they would on a dry porous surfaces and become inactive. The virus may survive for up to 72 hours (three days) on hard surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel.
It is possible that respiratory droplets could be on clothing and equipment items that guests have tried on or have hired and returned, particularly if the items are returned immediately after guests finished their activities that day. As such, you should consider implementing measures to reduce the risk of infection through contact with both textiles and fabrics and hard surfaces if it is reasonably practicable to do so.
In relation to the trying on of clothing and equipment:
- reduce the number of clothing and equipment items a guest tries on by asking them to measure themselves before coming into the store to hire items. You could provide details such as pictures, measurements and guides for clothing and equipment measures online. You could also supply guests with plastic measuring tapes to measure themselves in store if required. The tape could easily be cleaned and disinfected between guests
- where the guest has tried on a clothing or equipment item but requires another size consider ‘quarantining’ clothing and equipment with fabrics (e.g inside of a boot) until the next day.
- hard surface equipment (such as ski poles, skis and snowboards) can be put back into service after being cleaned and disinfected (following instructions on contact times for the disinfectant to work)
- consider measures to put in place to protect workers if items must be handed between people as part of a fitting process, (e.g. boots fitted to the guest then handled by another worker to adjust ski bindings). In determining the most effective control measures you may wish to consider your fitting processes and the number of guests at any one time. For example, you may consider suggesting that workers clean and disinfect the item before handling, require that workers wear gloves or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser before and after handling.
For clothing items that can be laundered do so in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and ensure they are completely dry before returning to service. If clothing or equipment is made from a material that cannot easily be cleaned or laundered and is wet, the items should be quarantined for a period of time and be completely dry before being returned to service. See also our information on cleaning.
Remind workers to exercise good hygiene when handling clothes or equipment, particularly those items that have been returned. Consider
- providing workers with appropriate gloves if they must inspect clothing and equipment upon their return or when touching clothing (including hangers) or equipment that has been tried on.
- implementing a process whereby guests return clothing or equipment (if such items do not need to be inspected by a worker beforehand) onto hangers or into designated baskets or bins to minimise the time workers must handle clothing and equipment. For example, putting used ski poles into a large container.
If you choose to provide gloves to workers, you must select the appropriate type of gloves and train workers in their proper use including their replacement or disposal between tasks. Our gloves information may assist.
See also our guidance on the how to determine what is reasonably practicable.
Contamination of items and surfaces within the changing rooms or trying on areas
Overall, the most effective way to minimise the risk of infection with COVID-19 in change room or trying on areas is by ensuring physical distancing, encouraging guests and workers to maintain good hygiene, including regular hand washing, and undertaking appropriate cleaning and disinfecting.
Additional hygiene steps that may help minimise the spread of infection when guests are trying on clothing and equipment include:
- if possible, rotating the workers responsible for the handling and returning of clothes and equipment and requiring the workers to practice good hand hygiene when handling returns
- requiring guests to wash their hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitiser upon entry and before trying on any clothing or footwear, and
- requiring guests to return unwanted clothing and equipment to designated racks to be quarantined until the next morning. Equipment with only hard surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected before being returned to service.
Our webpage on cleaning and our cleaning guide provides useful information on cleaning and disinfecting measures that may help limit the spread of the virus. You should also manage the flow of guests into and out of the changing rooms or area try on areas to allow sufficient time for cleaning to take place on a regular basis. This includes cleaning and disinfecting frequent touch points such as door handles, hangers and hooks.
You should consider limiting the number of customers allowed in changeroom or other areas and putting up signs and wall or floor markings to identify 1.5 metre distance so to meet physical distancing requirements. See our information on physical distancing for additional measures.
You must do what you can to ensure the health and safety of your workers and to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19 so far as is reasonably practicable. If you consider that physical distancing or hygiene requirements are not able to be met when guests are trying on clothing or equipment, you should consider ceasing the hiring of clothing and equipment for the duration of the pandemic.
Is it possible for COVID-19 to spread through guests trying on or using items of clothing or equipment?
The risk of infection through contact with fabric or textiles in a store is low. Dry porous surfaces, such as textiles and fabrics used to make clothes or curtains in a changing area, are likely to dry very quickly if contaminated by, for example, respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Over time as the droplets dry, the germs become inactive and unable to cause infection.
However, the amount of time the virus can survive on a porous (or hard) surface will depend on a range of factors including the number of respiratory droplets coming into contact with the surface, whether the virus is covered in organic material (e.g. saliva or nasal secretions), the surface type and environmental temperature and humidity. For example if a person uses the sleeve of their hired jacket to catch their sneeze or runny nose it may result in a large amount of respiratory droplets on the fabric which may take several hours to dry and for any germs to become inactive. The virus may also be active for longer if it has access to moisture such as clothing that is wet from snow and ice.
There is a greater risk of infection if hard surfaces on equipment (e.g. the plastic coating of a helmet) is contaminated. The virus may survive for up to 72 hours (three days) on hard surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel.
As such, you should consider implementing measures to further reduce the risk of infection through contact with textiles and fabrics and on hard surfaces. For example, you could provide a designated area for clothing and equipment that have been tried on by guests to be placed if they do not fit. Assuming items are otherwise clean, section off these items for a period of time before they are returned to the shop floor (e.g. the next morning). Equipment with only hard surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected before being returned to service.
Returned hire clothing and equipment will likely be wet. Such items should be cleaned or laundered in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and left to completely dry before entering back into service. If clothing or equipment is made from a material that cannot easily be cleaned, there must be sufficient time given for the clothing or equipment to completely dry. See also our information on cleaning.
I am concerned I will not be able to meet physical distancing and/or hygiene requirements when hiring out clothing and equipment. What do I do?
There are simple steps you can take to help minimise the spread of infection. In relation to the trying on of clothing and equipment for hire consider:
- if possible, creating an online booking and pick up system to reduce the number of guests in the hiring area or store. This booking system could target guests who have previously hired clothing and equipment and know their size. You could also provide details such as pictures, measurements and guides for those guests who require assistance. Where possible separate the pickup area from the main hiring area.
- if possible, rotating the workers responsible for the changerooms and/or handling and returning clothing and equipment
- requiring guests who are queuing for service or to use the changerooms to keep at least 1.5 metres apart. Put signs around the changeroom area and create wall or floor markings to identify the 1.5 metre distance. Your workers could wear a badge as a visual reminder to each other and guests of the physical distancing requirements.
- if there is a general try on area, putting signs and markers on walls and floors to create designated areas for guests to try on clothing and equipment to ensure physical distancing occurs. Consider whether signage in different languages or with pictures is needed to communicate with any workers for whom English is a second language.
- encouraging users to minimise the time they spend in change room areas.
- encouraging guests to have family and friends wait outside the changing room rather than go in with them (unless the user is a child or someone that requires assistance). Remove seating from in and around the changing rooms
- asking guests to wait outside or in their car for family and friends once they have been fitted for clothing and equipment
- putting in place hygiene steps before someone touches any clothing or equipment (for example providing hand sanitiser for customer use if possible and reminding guests to use it on entry or before they select goods to try on)
- requiring guests to return clothes and equipment they have tried on to designated racks to be quarantined for a period and then returned into service the next morning. Equipment with only hard surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected before being returned to service, and
- managing the flow of guests into and out of the changing rooms or try on areas to allow sufficient time for cleaning to take place on a regular basis. This includes cleaning and disinfecting frequent touch points such as seating, door handles, hangers and hooks.
For used clothing and equipment items that are returned:
- clean or launder the items in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and ensure items are completely dry before returning into service. If clothing or equipment is made from a material that cannot easily be cleaned, there must be even more time given for the clothing or equipment to dry and the germs to become inactive.
- implement a process whereby guests return clothing or equipment (if such items do not need to be inspected by a worker beforehand) onto hangers or into designated baskets or bins to minimise the time workers must handle clothing and equipment. For example, putting used ski poles into a large container
- provide workers with appropriate gloves if they must inspect clothing and equipment upon their return
You must do what you can to ensure the health and safety of your workers and to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19 so far as is reasonably practicable.
I am concerned that if I implement measures that impacts or delays the hiring process my workers may be exposed to aggressive or abusive guests. What can I do?
Where you have implemented measures that impact customer access (e.g. longer wait times) you should take measures to inform guests of the new arrangements before they enter the hiring area or store.
Having clear information about the measures you have taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19 can help to manage and reduce customer frustration, stress or anxiety about any changes and may reduce the risk of customer aggression and violence towards workers.
For example, you may wish to:
- erect prominent signage to explain the measures you have in place to limit the spread of COVID-19
- display signage clearly setting out any amended hiring processes so guests are immediately aware of the new arrangements in place to offset any inconvenience arising through new arrangements, and
- ensure signage clearly states that violence and aggression will not be tolerated.
You can find more information on how to manage the risk of work-related violence on our webpage.
What do I need to consider when providing hygiene facilities?
You must ensure there are adequate and accessible facilities to achieve good hygiene and that they are in good working order, are clean and are otherwise safe.
You may need to provide additional washing facilities, change rooms and dining facilities. You must also consider whether there are an adequate number of hand washing and drying stations, in convenient locations, to sustain the increase in workers’ practicing good hygiene.
You may need to provide alcohol-based hand sanitiser in appropriate locations, such as entry and exits, if there are limited hand washing facilities available.
Washroom facilities must be properly stocked and have adequate supplies of toilet paper, soap, water, and drying facilities (preferably single-use paper towels). They must also be kept clean and in good working order.
When determining what facilities you need, consider the number of workers on site, the shift arrangements and when access to these facilities is required. If you have temporarily down-sized worker numbers in response to COVID-19 and these will now be increased, you must take this into account to determine the facilities you need before workers return to work.
I need to create a new eating or common area. What should I consider when making these new areas?
If creating a new eating or common area to enable physical distancing, you must ensure these areas are accessible from the workplace and adequately equipped (e.g drinking water, rubbish bins), and protected from the elements, contaminants and hazards.
You should also consider opening windows or adjusting air-conditioning for more ventilation in common areas and limiting or reducing recirculated air-conditioning where possible.
For further information on providing adequate and accessible facilities, including providing facilities for a temporary, mobile or remote workplace see our related information about consultation and the Model Code of Practice: Managing the work environment and facilities.
Why are paper towels preferred over hand dryers?
Paper towels are preferable as they can reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 by drying the hands more thoroughly than hand dryers.
Hand dryers can still be used, however, there is an increased risk of transmission if hands are not dried properly.
I am providing paper towels in my workplace. What else should I do?
Providing paper towels to dry your hands after washing them is better than using hand dryers because they can dry your hands more thoroughly. If you provide single used paper towels at your workplace, remember:
• the paper towels should be replenished as required, and
• used paper towels should be disposed of in a waste bin that is regularly emptied to keep the area clean, tidy and safe.
Wastes (including used paper towels) should be double bagged and set aside in a safe place for at least 72 hours before disposal into general waste facilities. For further information regarding cleaning, please refer to our cleaning guide.
What if I can’t provide paper towels?
If paper towels cannot be provided, then hand dryers may be used to dry hands. You must train workers on how to dry their hands. Placing posters near hand dryers may assist with communicating the need for hands to be dried completely. If hands are not dried completely, good hygiene will not be achieved, and the hand washing will be ineffective.
Frequently touched areas of the hand dryers (i.e. buttons to activate the drying mechanism of the hand dryer) and the entire body of the dryer should be cleaned regularly. Nearby surfaces (such as the sink and taps) should also be cleaned regularly to remove any germs that may have been spread when drying hands.