Companies will be forced to take “reasonable” measures to prevent the entry of unvaccinated people under the new public health advisory that comes into effect from Oct. 11.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said COVID-19 would continue to circulate in the community once NSW reaches its 70 percent double dose vaccination target.
“We are approaching the 70 percent double dose mark and when we reach this there will be significant changes to our public health advice,” he said.
“The main difference will be how that advice is applied to people who have been vaccinated and to those who have not.”
“Vaccination will allow for more freedoms as our society opens up and it will reduce the risk of you spreading the virus to a vulnerable person, which could cost them their lives.
Mr Hazzard said it is vital that everyone follows the new public health advice which would come into effect from 11 October.
Here’s an overview of what the public health advice entails.
For the general community
- Everyone – vaccinated or not – will be urged to get tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19 and to self-isolate immediately until a negative result is received
- Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 – vaccinated or not – will have to self-isolate for 14 days
- Close community contacts include family members of positive cases and close social contacts of positive cases, such as partners and friends, with whom the person with the virus has spent time in close proximity, even if they have been fully vaccinated. Anyone can also be assessed as a close contact after a risk assessment, including in workplaces, in high-risk environments, such as healthcare and aged care, and other specific settings such as schools and nurseries, or where an outbreak has been identified
- Close contacts of a positive case who have been vaccinated will be tested for seven days and placed in self-isolation. On day six after exposure, the person should be retested. If a negative result is received and they are healthy, they can end isolation after day seven. During the following seven days, the person must work from home whenever possible, attend no hospitality facilities, and attend no high-risk facilities, even if this is their place of work
- Close contacts of an unvaccinated positive case will need to be tested and placed in self-isolation immediately for 14 days. On day 12, they should be tested again. If a negative result is received, they can end isolation after day 14
- The Service NSW QR code check-in system continues to exist in the general community. This system will be used to notify people who were in the same location as a positive case. People will be asked to check for symptoms and get tested if they become unwell
- People aged 16 and over can only enter some locations or institutions if they are fully vaccinated, along with people with exemptions. In some locations, children under 16 must be accompanied by a fully vaccinated member of their household to enter. This includes hospitality establishments, non-critical retail outlets, personal services, sports, leisure and entertainment facilities and events. Critical retail outlets such as supermarkets and pharmacies will still be accessible to people who are not fully vaccinated
- If an employee tests positive, whether vaccinated or not, they must self-isolate for 14 days and follow the advice of NSW Health. Companies refer to their COVID-19 safety plan and risk assessment approach for further instructions on how to inform other personnel
- Companies will be required to notify NSW Health if three or more employees test positive for COVID-19 within seven days
- NSW Health guidelines enable companies to assess workplace risk if a COVID-19 case is identified and confirm actions to take
- Companies can reduce the risk of closure or staff isolation by implementing strict COVID-19 safety plans. Other proactive steps companies can take include ensuring that staff are vaccinated and that regular onsite employee testing programs are implemented
About Vaccination Compliance and Obligations
- Companies are responsible for taking reasonable measures to prevent unvaccinated people from entering the premises. For example having prominent signs with requirements, Service NSW QR codes, staff checking vaccination status on entry and only accepting valid forms of vaccination certificate
- Authorized officials will oversee the reopening of businesses, especially those with vaccination requirements, e.g. hospitality, retail, gyms and personal services (e.g. hair, beauty)
- Sanctions may apply to individuals and companies that do not follow the rules. Onsite fines of $1000 may be imposed on individuals for non-compliance, or for using fraudulent proof of vaccination or check-in. On-site fines of $5,000 can apply to companies for failing to comply with the vaccination requirements of the Public Health Ordinance. Further sanctions may be imposed for significant violations.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant said the advice will likely be updated as case numbers and evidence change.