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COVID-19: 5 things your business can do to prepare for a second wave

3-minute read

With Victoria in Stage 3 restrictions and COVID-19 infections spreading across NSW, here’s what you can do to prepare your business for a second wave. 

Key take-outs
  • Keep your employees and customers as safe as possible with a COVID-19 Safe Plan
  • Stay up-to-date on the developing situation in your state or territory
  • Maintain established remote work practices and review your supply chain
  • Understand JobKeeper and stimulus changes, and whether your business is eligible

As Victoria is once again experiencing tightened restrictions and infections spread across New South Wales, a second wave could cause further lockdowns across the country. This is likely to have serious implications for businesses, especially those that may have only recently reopened their doors. Here’s how to prepare your business for a potential second wave. 

1. Implement a COVID-19 Safe Plan

Keeping COVID-19 out of your place of business is the most important thing you can do to help prevent a second wave. That’s why all Australian businesses should implement a detailed COVID-19 Safe Plan. This should include assessing the health-and-safety risks that the pandemic presents to your businesses, and set out physical distancing, hygiene and cleanliness guidelines for your employees and customers. 

 

Safe Work Australia provides a free COVID-19 hub for business with all the resources you need to create and implement a COVID-19 Safe Plan in accordance with the current rules and restrictions  in your state or territory.  

2. Track the developing situation

As the number of infections grows and tightened restrictions come back into play, businesses that can stay agile and flexible might be more likely to manage a second wave effectively. This means tracking the developing infection rate in your location on a daily basis and updating your employees and customers about any changes and your operational status. 

 

Now might also be a good time to identify any areas in your business that could allow you to pivot, so you can keep business going even if your state or territory goes back into lockdown.

 

You can download the Australian Government’s official Coronavirus Australia app for the latest news updates and advice. You might also consider enabling push notifications so you’ll receive urgent information as soon as it’s released.

3. Keep remote work practices in place 

Businesses that have set up work-from-home arrangements for relevant employees might want to consider keeping these in place for the foreseeable future. Bringing your remote workers back into the office, only to send them home again if a second wave hits, could create operational and productivity bottlenecks – and affect employee morale. Re-establishing work-from-home capabilities might also require additional resources, such as labour, IT and other equipment.

 

Committing to maximising your remote work practices and systems for now may help to support business continuity in the face of a potentially protracted second wave. 

4. Review your supply chain

We’ve already seen state border closures between Victoria and New South Wales associated tightened restrictions, and these may become more widespread if the second wave continues to escalate. This might have implications for businesses that rely on out-of-state suppliers.

 

Review your supply chain now to identify any potentially affected suppliers, and contact your out-of-state suppliers about their contingency plans. Where contingency plans are non-existent or insufficient, it could be time to consider alternatives that allow you to continue operating while your state or supplier is cut off. 

5. Seek relevant financial support

The Australian Government recently announced an extension of the JobKeeper program until March 2021. While payments are set to fall $300 per fortnight from September, this is still great news for businesses wanting to retain employees through a potential ongoing economic downturn.

 

Just note that you will still need to prove ongoing financial distress each quarter to meet JobKeeper eligibility. To qualify, your revenue must be down at least 30% compared to pre-pandemic levels. 

 

COVID-19’s impact is likely to linger for some time to come. Preparation is the best approach, and remaining vigilant can help you navigate your business through a potential second wave.  


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Things you should know

This article is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting.