The Victorian Government has amended the requirements for businesses as restrictions ease into the summer period, including the wearing of masks. Following the announcement last week clarification has been coming in the form of guides and FAQs, but the question continues to be asked…do staff at service stations have to wear masks?

The answer is two pronged. On the one hand as a small retailer the changes to COVID restrictions mean that there is no longer a requirement for customers or staff to wear masks unless social distancing cannot be achieved. On the other hand however, there is a requirement for the business to take reasonable steps to control known risks under the Work Health and Safety laws.

The result of the interplay of these two areas is that;

  • Customers should have masks in their pocket (unless exempt) and should deploy and use them when they can not achieve 1.5m distance, and
  • Businesses should, as part of their COVIDSafe Plan and general WHS assessment of risk and control, be assessing if they need to provide and require masks (because of business size or because staff come within 1.5m of each other or of customers).

In the case of a retail fuel site that has a standard counter with a perspex barrier between the console operator and the customers;

  • For customers – it would be appropriate to replace the Masks Required posters with – Social Distancing posters (I am circulating a new batch of posters on Thursday)
  • For staff – it would be appropriate to review the distancing…noting that a screen between the customers and the staff would allow for no mask, however, customer contact (on shop floor etc) will require mask

There has been some confusion from retailers about the need for staff and customers to wear masks, and this is compounded by the change that sees all stores in shopping centres as well as all large retail stores have the requirement for staff and customers to wear masks.

To address the confusion the Victorian Government has released a detailed guide and Frequently Asked Questions for the Retail Sector and these make it clear, that small retail sites that are not in a shopping center do not have to have staff and customers wear masks, as long as social distancing can be achieved.

More information for retail storeshttps://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-sector-guidance-retail-trade

Guide to a COVIDSafe Summer for retail stores – https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-12/Industry%20Restart%20Guidelines%20-%20Retail%20%28Goods%20and%20Services%29%20COVIDSafe%20Summer.pd

ACAPMA