COVID-19 business restrictions and requirements in Queensland

COVID-19 business restrictions and requirements in Queensland, on 8 October 2021, the Chief Health Officer issued directions in accordance with emergency powers arising from the declared public health emergency. These directions set out the requirements that restricted businesses in Queensland must follow. Restricted businesses included businesses in the hospitality, entertainment venues, personal care services industries, residential facilities and outdoor recreation where such business was required to enforce physical distancing and capacity restrictions.

On 11 November 2021, these restrictions were revoked. The Public Health and Social Measures linked to vaccination status discussed the plan to ease restrictions after 17 December 2021 on Queensland’s borders and business restrictions where 80% of Queenslanders, 16 years and older, are double vaccinated against COVID-19. If the 80% target is not reached by 17 December 2021, restrictions may remain in place. However, the easement of restrictions only applies to fully vaccinated people and businesses have the right to restrict entry to those unvaccinated.

Current Restrictions

Outdoor businesses have no capacity restrictions. However, indoor businesses must maintain 1 person per 2 square metres, or 100% capacity with ticketed and allocated seating. This applies to restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, museums, galleries, places of worship and convention centres.

Eased Restrictions

Due to the increase in vaccination rates, there will be no capacity restrictions on businesses or activities (non-essential leisure businesses) that are attended by only fully vaccinated people. These businesses include hospitality venues, indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and activities, festivals, government owned galleries, museums or libraries, and weddings. Non-essential leisure businesses cannot follow existing or past restrictions to stay open for unvaccinated staff and customers.

Where unvaccinated people may attend

Unvaccinated people are still able to attend the following:

  • essential services, such as a grocery store, pharmacy, post office etc;
  • shopping centres (except where a business in a shopping centre only allows fully vaccinated people);
  • food courts;
  • fast food restaurants through takeaway or drive through only;
  • funerals with occupant density limits and attendance caps; and
  • weddings with a maximum of 20 people if anyone attending is unvaccinated.

While these are available for unvaccinated people, an essential business may still choose to refuse entry to unvaccinated customers.

Proof of Vaccination Status

The Check In Qld app now allows for vaccination certificates to be linked to the app, allowing a quick and simple way to prove your vaccination status. In businesses where only fully vaccinated people can attend, the business must take reasonable steps to enforce the restriction through the following ways:

  • displaying the vaccination rules at the entry of the business’ premises in a prominent location; and
  • request proof of vaccination at the time of check-in (this is a legal requirement) through the Check In Qld app, an immunisation history statement, or a COVID-19 vaccination digital certificate.

If a customer refuses to comply with providing evidence, they must be asked to leave the premises. In the event they do not comply, you must call the police.

Medical exemptions

We are yet to see details regarding arrangements for those who have a genuine medical reason for not being fully vaccinated. More details will be available soon on what proof of exemption must be provided to a business.

How we can help

Navigating your rights during a pandemic can be overwhelming during this unprecedented time. At Cohen Legal, we assist by ensuring you know the full extent of your individual rights. As an experienced commercial firm, we can assist your business in complying with the eased restrictions.

Our business is protecting yours.