What small businesses need to know about the latest COVID-19 rules for NSW
The unexpected surge of coronavirus cases in Sydney in late 2020 has been contained (for now), resulting in another easing of restrictions for the city and its surrounding regions. For many business owners, however, the stop-start nature of the outbreaks and fluctuating rules may continue to impact your business model.
With an unpredictable year ahead, we’re here to support you with up-to-date information about business requirements, and access to resources and support. Here’s what the changes currently look like in NSW and some tips for how to keep your business afloat – and your employees and the public safe – no matter where you are.
With the most recent Sydney outbreak now under control, the government has further eased some rules and regulations affecting businesses operating across Greater Sydney, which includes Wollongong, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains. Some measures, however, remain in place. They are aimed at reducing the spread of the virus while allowing businesses to continue to operate.
To continue to keep your business running safely in Greater Sydney may still mean taking some additional precautions for now. Depending on your industry, your business may be required to limit and monitor the number of customers on your premises. The two square metre rule now applies indoors and outdoors at most venues, but gyms are still subject to the four square metre rule. Up to 25 customers can attend your premises before the square metre rules apply.
There are also capacity caps to certain activities, which may impact you if you run a business related to one of the following industries:
Rural and regional NSW have been mostly unaffected by recent developments, meaning there are fewer changes to follow at this point. For example, wearing face masks will remain optional for now. However, the number of customers per venue remains at 25 or one person per two square metres. Standing is allowed outdoors at hospitality venues, but seating is required indoors.
So you can stay informed, the government is providing resources that are updated as the situation develops in NSW and other Australian states and territories.
Regardless of whether you operate in Greater Sydney or wider NSW, there are a few ways to navigate your business through this uncertain time and remain operational while keeping your employees and customers safe. These include:
Masks are now only mandatory on public transport, although NSW Health recommends that they continue to be worn at indoor venues where socially distancing isn’t possible.
Non-compliance can incur on-the-spot penalties, and individuals may be fined $200 for not wearing a mask on public transport.
Exemptions apply, for example, for children aged 12 years and under, as well as people with physical or mental conditions or disabilities that make wearing a mask unsuitable. You can view the full list of exemptions here.
As the virus is likely to continue to impact our lives for the foreseeable future, businesses have to remain vigilant. Ramping up your safety measures, complying with government regulations and introducing payment software like Presto Smart that reduces touchpoints could increase your business’s chances of long-term survival.
If you need some help to pivot or grow your business, or if you’re looking to invest in the future, speak to our team about guaranteed business loans as part of Phase 2 of the Government’s Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme. And if you are experiencing financial hardship and need some support please get in touch.
Visit our website to access tools and other support to help your business navigate COVID-19.
This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary seek appropriate professional advice.