Information for food, health and accommodation businesses

food business

COVID-19 advice for food businesses

Below, you'll find some information for food businesses around the associated impact from the Restricted Activity Directions currently in place throughout Victoria in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you would be aware, this situation is changing rapidly and it's difficult to keep up-to-date with the latest information and advice, so please ensure you regularly visit the Department of Health and Human Services Coronavirus (Covid-19) Disease website.

We hope the following advice assists you with managing your business during this challenging time. The following content includes protection measures to keep you and your workers safe and how to comply with the government’s current restrictions.

The food businesses affected include:

  • pubs
  • bars or clubs (excluding bottle shop components of the premises)
  • hotels
  • restaurants
  • cafes

These places can still offer takeaway and home delivery services, provided social distancing is promoted and maintained.

Please refer to councils minimum standard guidelines for businesses during the coronavirus pandemic:

Businesses are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, but there is support available. Take a look at options available on our page dedicated to supporting business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Required actions

As a minimum, you must comply with the requirements set out by the Department of Health and Human Services in accordance with the Deputy Chief Health Officer Directions.

Please visit and read the following DHHS coronavirus (COVID-19) webpages:

Directions from the Chief Health Officer

Visit the Restricted activity directions - frequently asked questions for more information.

If you are unable to comply with these measures, then you must close your business.

Essential businesses

Some food businesses are not included in the State Government Restricted Activity Directions, such as supermarkets, petrol stations and convenience stores. However, they must still promote social distancing and implement extra cleaning to assist with reducing spread of the virus. Some specific advice can be found below within Council's Minimum Standard Guidelines:

Supermarkets and other retail food outlets

Minimum standard guidelines for the management of coronavirus for retail supermarkets(PDF, 3MB)


Service stations    

Minimum standard guidelines for the management of coronavirus for petrol service stations(PDF, 7MB)

 

If my business is allowed to stay open, are there any special conditions I should know about?

Yes, DHHS advises there are three special requirements for every retail business that has customers on the premises:

  • You must measure your available floorspace and identify the maximum number of customers allowed on your premises at one time. For example, if your shop is 8 metres wide by 20 metres deep, its floorspace would allow no more than 40 customers and staff inside at one time (8 x 20 = 160m2, divided by 4 m2 per person = 40 people).
  • You must place a sign at the entrance to your premises indicating the maximum capacity of your shop and ensure that no more than this number are in your premises at any one time.
  • You must initiate a cleaning regime that ensures:
  • Frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, touch screen, handrails and benchtops are cleaned at least twice per day
  • All surfaces are cleaned when visibly soiled
  • All surfaces are cleaned immediately there is spillage

The cleaning regime must include use of a disinfectant with anti-viral properties that complies with the published requirements of the Department of Health and Human Services published requirements of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Closure of a food business

We understand the difficulty our food premises have at this time.

We are currently not closing any registrations on our systems and will continue to keep you informed via email as this situation continues.

If you have closed your business voluntarily for a period of time and are looking to re-open in line with the restrictions it would be good to hear from you so that we can provide you advice to get started again and discuss the extra procedures you need in place to manage the spread of COVID-19.

If your business is closing it is important to ensure that the premises is left in a manner that will not attract pests or cause odour concerns. Some things to consider are:

  • Ensure all food is removed, in particular perishables that may rot and cause odour and attract pests. Check with suppliers regarding certain long life products as to whether they will take some products back e.g. soft drink or crisp companies may take back some products.
  • Take home food items that can be used at home, or send home with staff who will use the items.
  • Make arrangements for all bins to be emptied and all waste removed from the premises.
  • If for whatever reason food or waste cannot be removed, consider freezing it in a chest freezer until such time as it can be removed from the premises (provided power is not to be disconnected).
  • Make an inventory and take photos of all products you discard for potential insurance claims, this will need to be discussed with your individual provider.
  • If power will be disconnected, or you are planning to turn off refrigerators/freezers, ensure each unit is thoroughly cleaned and the door left ajar to prevent mould growth.
  • Remove oil from any fryers.
  • Clean all cooking equipment inside and out.
  • Deep clean floors, walls and benches particularly under and behind cooking equipment to remove any build ups of food waste.
  • Arrange for sanitary receptacles to be emptied in any toilet facilities.

Accommodation providers

Physical distancing and prevention of spread of COVID-19 via contaminated surfaces is important in your business. 

Here are some suggestions:

  • Provide hand sanitiser and ask that customers use prior to entering reception areas.
  • Routinely clean frequently touched hard surfaces with detergent/disinfectant solution/wipe.
  • At areas where customers are required to line up, such as reception areas, consider placing markers on the floor a minimum of 1.5 metres apart, demonstrating where customers are required to stand while waiting.
  • Upon changeover of rooms/dwelling, thoroughly clean and sanitise following the DHHS cleaning and disinfecting to reduce COVID-19 transmission guidelines(DOCX, 66KB).
  • If you or staff have returned from anywhere overseas, or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus, in the last 14 days, you need to self-isolate.
  • You or your staff cannot work if in self-isolation
  • In hotel setting you should provide information and brief all employees and contract staff, including domestic and cleaning staff, on relevant information and procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus to people.
  • Practice good hand hygiene – wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry with paper towel
  • Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and wash your hands thoroughly after.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing.