It can be challenging for any retailer to receive advice that a shopper who visited their shop has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The protocols in such a situation will depend on your location as each state and territory has different approaches. If you are formally notified of such contact, ask the notifying authority for recommended actions. They should have protocols for you to follow regarding cleaning and staff management.

Here is a list of state and territory helplines. This is from the the Safe Work Australia website:

  • New South Wales - 1300 066 055
  • Queensland – 13 432 584
  • Victoria – 1800 675 398
  • South Australia – 1800 253 787
  • Tasmania – 1800 671 738
  • Western Australia – 13 26843
  • Australian Capital Territory – (02) 6207 7244
  • Northern Territory – (08) 8922 8044

Here is what Safe Work Australia says about cleaning following advice that someone diagnosed was in your workplace:

There is no automatic requirement to close an entire workplace following a suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19. It may be unnecessary if the person has only visited parts of your workplace or if government health officials advise you the risk of others being exposed are low.

Whether you need to suspend operations in your workplace will depend on factors such as the size of the workplace, nature of work, number of people and suspected areas of contamination in your workplace.

Click here to access the cleaning advice for any workplace where someone has been diagnosed.

Our advice re cleaning is as follows, this is the advice for our own shops too:

  1. Regularly, hourly or at least twice a day, clean all touchable surfaces (EFTPOS machine, doors, door handles, counter, newspaper stand, anywhere someone is likely to touch) with high grade anti-bacterial wipes that are known to kill germs. The major supermarket protocol in Victoria is to clean each checkout counter between each shopper. Double bag all cleaning materials and discard right away.
  2. Install and keep clean splash screens at the counter.
  3. Require all staff to wear a face mask, which you provide daily.
  4. Encourage all staff to wear gloves.
  5. Ask all customers entering the shop to hand sanitise using sanitiser you have at the entrance.

Here is what Safe Work Australia says about routine cleaning:

Workplaces should clean surfaces at least daily. Special attention should be given to frequently touched surfaces (e.g. tabletops, door handles, light switches, desks, toilets, taps, TV remotes, kitchen surfaces and cupboard handles). Ideally, once clean, surfaces should also be disinfected regularly. Alternatively, you may be able to do a 2-in-1 clean and disinfection by using a combined detergent and disinfectant.

Surfaces and fittings should be cleaned more frequently when:

  • visibly soiled
  • used repeatedly by a number of people (e.g. trolleys, checkouts, EFTPOS machines), and
  • after any spillage.

For routine cleaning, disinfectants are usually only necessary if a surface has been contaminated with potentially infectious material. For this reason, when and how often a workplace should undertake disinfection as part of routine cleaning will depend on the likelihood of contaminated material being present at the workplace. For example, in a busy retail environment with many customers and others entering a workplace each day, more frequent disinfection is recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. By contrast, for a small work crew operating the same item of plant each day with little interaction with other people, routine disinfection in addition to daily cleaning may not be reasonably practicable.

We have shared this here not as experts. rather as retailers ourselves, supporting other retailers.

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