As we look to start our Week 8 in ‘iso’, we do so, looking forward to some hopeful news on Friday about the potential for an easing of current restrictions.
The Prime Minister has advised that he will bring forward the National Cabinet meeting by one week to review restrictions, convening now on Friday 8 May. Declaring last Friday that “Australians deserve an early mark”, the Prime Minister has instilled a sense of hope that we will see some relief and some attempts to shift the nation into what will be the start of our ‘new normal’.
In Victoria, our Stage 3 restrictions are in place until midnight on Monday 11 May. We are looking forward to advice by the end of this coming week from the Premier on what our lives may look like beyond that date, including how we will be able to engage with family, friends and business.
This article in The Age yesterday noted that a Taskforce has been formed to consider practices that might work toward Pubs and Clubs reopening by late July. This is a positive sign steps are in train that might see our industry transition from its current state of hibernation.
With an eye to the future, VTIC has been engaging with industry sectors via our Policy Committees and other sources, with a view to how we can support a transition to any next phase.
While restrictions will ease, it will be a gradual process and means we need to be prepared with a plan to conform to newly defined requirements for social distancing, cleanliness, sanitisation and the use of personal protective equipment in our operations.
While everyone will be keen to get back out again, there will continue to be concerns about health and safety. As businesses, we need to be able to provide our customers with the confidence that we’re doing everything we can to ensure their safety and wellbeing. It will be important that our tourism businesses across the state are providing the same level of confidence to the communities in which they operate.
VTIC is engaging with our members and with our government colleagues to understand how we can best support industry in navigating what will likely be a very complex operating environment. For larger businesses, and particularly those with international affiliations, resources are emerging that they’re able to rely on to shape operational guidelines and staff training. For smaller businesses across the sector, this will be more challenging, and VTIC will be looking to support our members with information and resources on the new operating requirements that we will face.
In the meantime, there are some useful resources available from the Australian Government that might assist you now in looking to prepare your operating guidelines and consider what training you may need to provide to staff.
Information from the Australian Medical Association
This resource provides COVID-19 Infection Control Training delivered by the Australian Government’s training partner Aspen Medical.
> View further information
> Access training
The Federal Government’s COVIDSafe app will be a significant determinant in the easing of current restrictions. The app could well become an important tool for our sector, with some in the industry looking to explore if this might form part of their new operating plan, requiring patrons to have the app downloaded to enter their venue. If you haven’t downloaded the app as yet, please consider doing so. We will certainly keep you informed of how our colleagues may look to apply this app as another tool in their business planning.
This weekend also saw another major announcement from the Victorian Government to support our major nature-based attractions in the state, with Zoos Victoria and Phillip Island Nature Parks sharing in a $14 million relief package.
This funding is a lifeline that ensures they can continue to operate and keep their nearly 800 staff employed. It will also allow these organisations to carry on with the critical conservation work they oversee as part of their regular operations.
The announcement also references support being made available for our Alpine Resorts. As we near the start of the ski season next month, there remains a question mark over how the resorts might operate under any yet to be determined restrictions. The state’s north-east has already suffered under the devastating bushfires early in the new year, and then lost the Easter season along with the rest of our sector. The region was counting on a good snow season to aid in their recovery, and there is yet be any decision on what this season might look like, so this package is vitally important.
You can read the Premier’s statement here.
We said in the beginning that this journey to recovery would be a marathon, not a sprint. The way we need to operate as restrictions are eased will be far different from the world we lived in prior to March. It will require us to learn new ways of working to adjust to what will become our new normal – and VTIC will be here on every part of this journey to support you.
Visit vtic.com.au/coronavirus for key information available including support and funding, and information specific to the tourism industry.