Information and advice for businesses who have a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace.
Your questions answered

What should  I do if I’m notified by an employee that they have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The employer must direct the employee with symptoms to travel home immediately. Where this is not possible, they should be isolated in a separate room until they can travel home.

They should be advised to be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) as soon as possible.

The personal workspace and/or areas in the work premises frequently used by the employee, as well as other high-touch surfaces (such as door handles, kitchen facilities) frequented by the employee should be cleaned. For more information, see Cleaning and disinfecting to reduce covid-19 transmission in the workplace (Word).

Vacating the workplace to undertake cleaning is not necessary when only one or a maximum of two employees suspected of COVID-19 have been identified.

If there are 3 or more people with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) within a 5 day period, undertake a risk assessment (Word) to help determine what further actions are required.

For more information see the Workplace guidance for managing suspected and confirmed cases (including risk assessment template) (Word) 

What should I do if I’m notified by an employee that they have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19)?

You must direct the employee to travel home immediately. Where this is not possible, they should be isolated in a separate room until they can travel home.

They should be directed to not attend the workplace until advised by the department their isolation period is complete.

All employees and the health and safety representative should be advised there has been a case of coronavirus (COVID-19) and to be vigilant for the onset of symptoms. Advise employees to isolate and get tested if symptoms develop.

You must undertake a risk assessment to help determine what actions are required. This may include closing part or all of the work premises to allow a comprehensive clean, as well as the identification and notification of close contacts (xls).

For more information see the Workplace guidance for managing suspected and confirmed cases (including risk assessment template) (Word) 

What is a ‘risk assessment’ and as a business owner, when am I required to complete one?

A risk assessment will help you to determine what actions need to be taken in the event of a confirmed case or multiple suspected cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace.

You are required to complete a risk assessment when:

  • there is a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) who attended work during their infectious period
  • there are 3 or more suspected cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) at one work premises within a 5 day period.

The risk assessment will inform the approach to closing the work premises while comprehensive cleaning occurs as well as the identification and notification of close contacts.

Identification and notification of close contacts

For more information on when and how to complete a risk assessment, see Workplace guidance for managing suspected and confirmed cases (Word)

Close contact definition

A close contact is someone who had greater than 15 minutes face-to-face, cumulative, or the sharing of a closed space for more than two hours, with a confirmed case during their infectious period. The case’s infectious period commences 48 hours prior to onset of symptoms (or if asymptomatic, 48 hours prior to test date).

Notifying close contacts

It is preferable for employers to telephone to notify close contacts, however use of text messages is also acceptable. It is important that it is done as soon as possible to ensure workers are quarantined. 

The employer should inform them that DHHS will contact them via text message with further information, and that they should seek testing if they develop any symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The employer should support the close contacts to exclude themselves from work and must not let them attend the workplace.

The following message should be sent:

"You have been assessed as a close contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) through your attendance at [insert name of worksite/business]. You are required to self-quarantine for 14 days from [insert date]. The Department of Health and Human Services will contact you via text message to confirm the details of your required quarantine period, and to provide you with further information. You must isolate at home and must not attend work during this time. If you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 you should get tested. Please see the DHHS close contacts factsheet”.

The employer should distribute the DHHS close contacts factsheet to the workplace close contacts. For further information see: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/novel-coronavirus-close-contact-what-you-need-know

How should I notify the department of my workplace response?

After you have completed your risk assessment, notify the department by sending your risk assessment and close contacts spreadsheet to COVIDEmployerNotifications@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

It is only necessary to notify the department when there is a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19).

What resources are available to support business owners?

There are a number of resources available to support businesses owners meet their obligations under the new directions including: 

You can call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 for additional support.

Template posters and letters to support business premises closed for deep cleaning