Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This information is correct as of 01 July 2020

The Accommodation Association is working with all State and Federal authorities to ensure there is clear and timely information available to members as Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Members and travellers should know that Australia has well-established procedures to ensure people with illnesses travelling into the country are detected at the border. Australia already requires passengers who show signs of an infectious disease, including fever, sweats or chills, to report their illness to aircrew and this function is undertaken by Biosecurity Officers at the point of arrival so they can be assessed.

Summarised information available to members


Information available on this page

Road to Recovery in Australia - Update on State Measures (01 July 2020)

Following from the announcement by the PM of the 3-step plan to establish a COVIDSafe Economy by July 2020, the States and Territories have provided updates on their individual measures and time frames. In many cases the States and Territories have chosen to implement a 4 or 5 step plan subject to individual state Health recommendations. 

Please find attached the Accommodation Association's update on 

  1. The three step plan to establish a COVIDSafe Economy by July 2020
  2. Updated information on the States and Territory implementation of their plans 

In particular we welcome the announcement by the Federal Government on Friday on the easing of physical distancing restrictions with recommendations to move from 4sqm per person to 2sqm per person. The Association has been active in providing our submissions and modelling to government to assist in driving these changes.
 

Safe Work Australia new COVID-19 work health and safety guidance for Accommodation Services (22 June 2020)

Please find attached the Accommodation Association's update on 

  • Summary of the measures in the Guide inclusive
    • Worker and customer hygiene measures
    • Cleaning requirements inclusive of how often, products to user, procedures and worker protection
  • The importance of having an emergency plan and guidelines on development of a plan
     

Fair Work Commission announces Minimum Wage Increase (19 June 2020)
The Fair Work Commission today announced that the national minimum wage will rise.
Click here to view the Association's summary and response. 
 

Road to Recovery - Update on State Measures (03 June 2020)

This resource includes updated information on the States and Territories implementation of the 3-step plan.

 

Road to Recovery Announcements (12 May 2020)

This resource outlines:
1.    The three step plan to establish a COVIDSafe Economy by July 2020
2.    State implementation of the 3-step plan 
 

Mandatory Tenancy Code of Conduct for businesses impacted by COVID-19 (04 May 2020)

This resource outlines:

  • The key principles of the Code;
  • State and Territory Legislation and Regulations that have been enacted to provide rental relief;
  • State and Territory Land Tax relief measures.

Update on JobKeeper Measures (29 April 2020)

This resource contains details on the following -

  • Further clarification of the operations of the rules, including employees employed through a special purpose entity, rather than an operating entity; and the 'one in, all in' principle;
  • Updated legislation that clarifies the ATO alternative decline in turnover tests for the purpose of receiving JobKeeper payments;
  • Extension of time for businesses to enrol for the JobKeeper scheme and pay their employees to 8 May. Please note that this will not delay your ATO April payment
  • Hotlines for CBA, NAB, Westpac and ANZ and other banks for businesses to receive bridging finance.

JobKeeper Payments and Payroll Tax Incentives (23 April 2020)

This resource contains details on the following - 

  1. the tax implications of the JobKeeper payments;
  2. A summary of the State and Territory COVID-19 Payroll tax incentives.

Update on JobKeeper and Visa Holders (20 April 2020)

This resource contains details on the following:

  • Application for JobKeeper – The ATO has advised that Enrolments opened today and have provided more detail on the process and payment in arrears.
  • Updated information on Temporary Visa Holders and assistance measures from the Department of Home Affairs.

Update on JobKeeper Payment Nomination Forms (15 April 2020)

Following our Member Alert yesterday, please note that the ATO has now sent the required nomination forms to those hotels that have registered. 

https://www.ato.gov.au/Forms/JobKeeper-payment---employee-nomination-notice/

In response to the queries we have received on the ability to back pay employees, both the Rules and the ATO advice are very clear. This is the transitional rule referenced in our Member Alert.

Further Clarification on the JobKeeper Payment (14 April 2020) 

This resource includes:

  • Further clarification around JobKeeper payments and how they apply. We are still obtaining more advice on a couple of areas such as ability to backpay for the first month and State and Territory legislation relating to payroll tax and workers compensation premiums. 
  • Further clarity around Amendments to the Fair Work Act.
  • More information on Compliance and Penalties. 

Update on JobKeeper and Fair Work Act (09 April 2020)   

Please find attached the Accommodation Association's update on:

  1. JobKeeper. The $130 billion JobKeeper Wage Recovery package legislation was passed late last night. Please find attached a summary of the key provisions in the package and the implications for your business. Please also find further clarification on some of your key questions.
  2. Fair Work Act. A summary of key amendments to the Fair Work Act required to enact the $130 billion JobKeeper package. A further Member Alert will be available next week to provide more details on the changes

Member Alert - Mandatory Tenancy Code and Support for Visa Holders (7 April 2020)

This resource contains details on the following:

  • Mandatory Tenancy Code, inclusive of a copy of the new Code;
  • Updated fact sheets on the JobKeeper payment, inclusive of FAQs;
  • Support measures announced for temporary visa holders, inclusive:
    • Access to super for temporary visa holders and international students
    • Visa extensions for seasonal workers and working holiday makers
  • ACCC updated Guidelines on cancellations and refunds for small business

Summary of Business Support and Wage Subsidy Measures (04 April 2020)

This resource contains details on the following:

  • Mandatory code for Commercial Tenancies will contain rental waivers
  • New measures for Working Holiday Makers
  • Boosting CashFlow for Employers measure 
  • Updates on the JobKeeper payment and
  • Frequently asked questions on the JobKeeper payment

Government announcement of $130 billion wage subsidy over 6 months (30 March 2020)

This resource contains details on the following:

  • Summary of key measures
  • Transcript of the Prime Minister's speech
  • Fact sheet on the measures with more detail around the subsidy and how it applies
  • A copy of our media release

Summary on self isolation in hotels and advice and clarity on stage 2 restrictions

This resource contains details on the following:

  • Prime Minister’s announcement today on mandatory self-isolation in hotels for 14 days for those returning overseas from midnight on Saturday, 28 March,2020
  • Advice on the Stage 2 Restrictions;
  • Clarity on the Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast, campsites, caravan parks and boarding houses decision and the results for each state and territory following the PM announcement on the 24 March;
  • Clarity on Interstate Travel restrictions.

Income Support and IR Advice

This resource contains details on the following:

  • Increased and accelerated income support
  • Frequently Asked Questions updated advice
  • Updated advice on Mutual Obligations
  • Information on Early Access to Super
  • Stand down provisions and template

Temporary changes to the Hospitality Industry General Award

The Fair Work Commission has announced a temporary variation to the Hospitality Industry General Award.

Members can read more on these changes here.

Stage One Self Isolation Measures (23 March 2020)

This resource contains details on the following:

  • Stage one self isolation measures announced by the Federal Government inclusive of exclusions
  • A state update on the shut down of non-essential services
  • Frequently asked questions

Government's Second Economic Support Package Announced (22 March 2020)

This resource contains details on the following:

  • Information on NSW and VIC's shutdown of all non-essential travel
  • SA and WA strengthened border controls
  • Measures for businesses including
    • Wage subsidy for small and medium businesses to save jobs
    • Guarantee on loans to small and medium businesses
  • Measures for workers including
    • Income support for individuals
    • $1.2 billion to release superannuation.

Summary Update on COVID-19 Border Restrictions and Stimulus Measures (20 March 2020)

This resource includes details on:

  • Border restrictions for Australia and Tasmania
  • Update Advice from Federal Government - further restrictions on meetings from 20 March
  • Stimulus packages from State Governments
  • Updated health fact sheet for hotel staff and guests

Summary excerpt from Prime Minister’s speech today on new COVID-19 measures

The National Cabinet has accepted the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice that non-essential indoor gatherings of greater than 100 people (including staff) will no longer be permitted from Wednesday 18 March 2020. 

  • An indoor gathering refers to a gathering within a single enclosed area (i.e. an area, room or premises that is or are substantially enclosed by a roof and walls, regardless of whether the roof or walls or any part of them are permanent, temporary, open or closed). 
  • This does not apply to essential activities such as public transportation facilities, medical and health care facilities, pharmacies, emergency service facilities, correctional facilities, youth justice centres or other places of custody, courts or tribunals, Parliaments, food markets, supermarkets and grocery stores, shopping centres, office buildings, factories, construction sites, and mining sites, where it is necessary for their normal operation (although other social distancing and hygiene practices may be required in these settings).  

This will be considered at the next National Cabinet meeting on Friday 20 March 2020. 

In the meantime these venues should continue to apply social distancing and hygiene practices. 

  • This includes being able to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between patrons.  
  • Hand hygiene products and suitable waste receptacles need to be available, with frequent cleaning and waste disposal.

Please note that the PM in his address referred to an exemption for hotels. This refers to the accommodation itself with each room treated as a venue.  However, the advice on indoor gatherings of 100 people or more in a meeting room, continues to apply.

  • Settings like gyms, indoor fitness centres and swimming pools are not required to close at this time providing they meet these requirements for social distancing and hand hygiene. Such venues should take actions to ensure regular high standards of environmental cleaning take place.

The National Cabinet will further consider social distancing arrangements for domestic transport at its next meeting on Friday 20 March 2020.  In all cases, appropriate social distancing and hygiene practices should be applied.

Level 4 Travel restrictions - Do Not Travel
The National Security Committee of Cabinet has decided to raise the advice for all overseas travel to the highest level. Our advice to all Australians - regardless of your destination, age or health - is do not travel overseas at this time.  
 
We also now advise Australians who are overseas who wish to return to Australia, to do so as soon as possible by commercial means. Commercial options may quickly become limited. 

Anyone arriving in Australia from overseas, including Australians citizens and permanent residents, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days from the date of arrival.  

Tourism Australia cancels ATE
Following the announcement on public gatherings of 100 people or more, Tourism Australia has made the decision to cancel ATE20.  Tourism Australia has developed a document outlining frequently asked questions (FAQs) which will arise from this closure. 
As per the Terms and Conditions, a full refund of all registration fees to buyer and seller delegates will be provided.

Airline Updates
The Virgin Australia Group has today announced a temporary suspension of international services and further cuts to domestic capacity in response to expanded government travel restrictions and increased impacts from COVID-19 on travel demand. 

International changes

  • Temporary suspension of all international services from 30 March to 14 June 2020 inclusive;
  • Melbourne to Los Aneles services suspended from 20 March;
  • Inaugural Brisbane to Haneda service, postponed from 29 March;
  • Inaugural Melbourne to Denpasar service, postponed from 29 March.

Domestic changes

  • Virgin Australia Group will reduce domestic capacity by around 50 per cent until 14 June 2020. The route and schedule detail will be published over the next week.
  • Qantas Group announced yesterday that 
    • Total Group International capacity will be cut by around 90 per cent until at least the end of May 2020. This is up from a 23 per cent reduction for the fourth quarter of FY20 announced last week and largely reflects the demand impact of severe quarantine requirements on people’s ability to travel overseas. 
    • Total Group Domestic capacity will be cut by around 60 per cent until at least the end of May 2020. This is a major increase from the 5 per cent reduction for the fourth quarter of FY20 and reflects a rapid decline in forward travel demand due to government containment measures, corporate travel bans and a general pullback from everyday activities across the community. This represents the grounding of around 150 aircraft, including almost all of the Group’s wide-body fleet. 

Previously announced cuts in place from end-May through to mid- September remain in place and are likely to be increased, depending on demand. The route-by-route detail of these changes across Qantas and Jetstar is currently being worked through and will be announced in coming days.

Cruise Updates
Cruise lines are currently in the process of returning all ships to port to ensure their guests can safely and quickly return home. 

Please find the Advice for Cruise Passengers issued to passengers on international ships who have been to an international port within 14 days of arriving back in Australia.

The 14-day self-isolation period commenced the day their cruise ship departed from the last international port before heading to Australia.

As an example, if their cruise ship has travelled for 8 days since the last port of departure before arriving in Australia, the self-isolation period will be for the remaining six days. 

Passengers may travel to the airport for connecting domestic flights or overseas flights. If they are not travelling directly to the airport they must self-isolate at their hotel or other accommodation until they travel to the airport.  

Advice on event and travel cancellations due to COVID-19
The ACCC has issued advice for consumers and businesses on their rights and obligations if events, flights or travel services are cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), or if people wish to cancel their travel plans.  Please refer to this link for the advice.  

If events, flights or other travel services such as cruises are cancelled, the ACCC expects refunds or other remedy such as a credit note or voucher will be offered in most circumstances.  However, if the event, flight or travel service is cancelled due to government restrictions, consumer rights under the consumer guarantees may be impacted. In these situations consumers may be entitled to a refund under the terms and conditions of their ticket, or potentially may make a claim under a travel insurance policy. 

FAQ from members.  Have I a right to refuse to accept guests who are self-isolating?
Ultimately hotels have a contract with their guests which includes terms and conditions. These may vary however hotels will always have a duty of care to all their guests inclusive of those who are self-isolating.  

The requirement for self-isolation means that the property needs to have procedures set up for delivery of food; ability to send out laundry in separate bags to bio hazard specialists; ability to leave the room empty for 24 hours after the guest leaves, to enable cleaning etc.

If the hotel feels that they can’t adequately look after the guest because of the above and because the size of the hotel and rooms means that the guest contact with other guests is inevitable over a 14 day period, then the hotel has a duty of care to assist the guest to find adequate accommodation for the period they need to self-isolate. Obviously, no fees would apply.

Update from the Accommodation Association

The Accommodation Association has been providing support for all of our members and stakeholders and we have been in active communication with our political leaders on the need for immediate action to support your businesses, employees and guests in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is clear now that the conditions we face are the most difficult anyone in our sector has seen and the need for government support and intervention is essential.

While we continue to advocate for direct stimulus support from Government, we have had to make changes to how we delivery one of our primary membership services. As you would be aware, the Accommodation Association has recently increased the number of events that provide meaningful insights and networking opportunities to our members, partners and political leaders.

However, we now must ensure we follow the advice of the Australian Government and health authorities and as such, we will postponing all our in person events until June. We are working with our members and partners to reschedule a wide range of events for later this year and will re-issue all invitations to members once new dates are confirmed

As part of our response to support our members, we do have easy to access information on COVID-19 on our website including factsheets on IR, isolation procedures and information for staff on how to handle guests who wish to isolate. Should you require any assistance through this time, the Accommodation Association team is here to help. You can contact us via phone (1300 304 397) or via mail@aaoa.com.au.

Government Activates Self Isolation

The Accommodation Association's advice summary on the Government's activation of the second stage of the Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus and the implications for hotels. 

This activation involves the requirement for all citizens, residents or visitors to self-isolate for 14 days, for the cancellation of events/meetings with over 500 attendees and a 30 day suspension of cruise ship arrivals.

This resource contains details on the following:

  1. Coronavirus measures endorsed by the National Cabinet
  2. Public health Emergency Announcements
  3. Implications for Hotels and Guests
  4. Other frequently asked questions

Members can view the advice summary here.

Corona Virus Factsheet

The Accommodation Association has released a factsheet on the corona virus, with comprehensive updated information that seeks to respond to the many questions we have received.

This resource contains details on the following:

  1. Latest update from WHO and from Department of Health on travel restrictions and key actions;
  2. Link to the government stimulus package details summarised in our Member Alert yesterday;
  3. Advice on Occupational Health & Safety inclusive of protocols;
  4. Advice on the Industrial Relations response developed in conjunction with HFW Australia and the Accommodation Association. Please note, this also provides specific information on treatment of leave for permanent and casual employees.

Members can access the factsheet via this link.

Advice on cleaning for employees

This factsheet provides detailed advice on the clearning process and protections that should be in place for cleaning employees. 

Bans on gatherings above 500 people

The Australian Government has announced from 16 March 2020 that all gatherings of 500 people of more should not proceed. 

Fines now apply for event organiser and vary between states. 

Impact on the Australian tourism industry

The Australian tourism industry is primarily a domestic sector with over 74% of all tourism spending being done so by Australians in Australia. To date domestic travel has softened but is still stable. 

From an international perspective, the Australian tourism industry is being greatly impacted by the disruption of visitors from all source markets and the closure of the Boarder with China and South Korea. Since January 2020 international tourism numbers have decreased by an estimated 19.1% or by 250,000 arrivals. The majority of these visitors are international students from China. 

Travel bans are now in force for Iran, South Korea and Italy and if additional bans are put in place there will be added impact on the Australian tourism industry and our employees. 

Review of the Travel Bans

As of 15 March 2020 all interational arrivals into Australia must now self quaatine for a period of 14 days. 

The Accommodation Assoicaiton has developed a factsheet on what is the correct process to manage guest and best practice cleaning and has been provided to members.

Review of the Travel Bans

The Australian Government has advised that there is no current date to lift any of the established travel bans.

This excludes Australian citizens and permanent residents and their immediate family members (spouses, legal guardians or dependants only). This exemption will be extended to airline crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment. 

Each ban is reviewed weekly on Thursday  following the meeting of the Commonwealth Government's National Security Committee of Cabinet.

Impact on tourism to and from Australia from China

On 1 February 2020 the Australian Government announced that all visitors arriving from mainland China will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days, from the time they have left or transited through mainland China.

Previously on 28 January 2020 China’s National Immigration Administration advised Chinese citizens to postpone all “non-essential” overseas travel. We will provide more information when it comes to hand, but our initial understanding is that this is an advice rather than an outright ban.

This is in addition to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism notice for all tourism operators to suspend group tours and tour packages (domestic and international) effective 27 January until further notice. 

Visitors coming to Australia through the Approved Destination Scheme (ADS) currently make up 24% of total visitors and those members who are directly impacted by this decision should make contact with the Association.

The Association developed a factsheet to help you understand the announcement by the Federal Government on 1 February 2020 to limit the arrivals of visitors from mainland China.

Impact on tourism to and from Australia from Italy

On 11 March 2020 the Australian Government announced that all visitors arriving from Italy after 18:00 will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days, from the time they have left or transited through Italy.

Impact on tourism to and from Australia from Iran

Australia does not have direct air travel from Iran, the Australian Government has announced that all visitors arriving from Iran will not be allowed to enter Australia for 14 days, from the time they have left or transited through Iran. 

Impact on cruise services to Australia

On 14 March Carnival Cruise lines announced all Australian cruise operations are cancelled from 14 March 2020 until 12 April 2020. Affected customers will be offered a choice between a full refund or a credit for future use equal to twice what they paid for their voyage.

On 4 March 2020, CLIA ocean-going member cruise lines agreed to adopt further enhanced screening measures intended to address the industry’s exposure to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. As follows:

  • CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, South Korea, Iran and Italy within 14 days before embarkation. 
  • CLIA Members are to deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having Coronavirus, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to Novel Coronavirus.  
  • CLIA Members are to conduct pre-boarding screening neccessary to effectuate the prevention measures.

How to prevent the virus spreading - Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC)

While the evidence for pre-symptomatic transmission is currently limited, AHPPC has advised a highly precautionary approach and released the following new recommendations:

  • People who have been in contact with any confirmed novel coronavirus cases must be isolated in their home for 14 days following exposure; 
  • Returned travellers who have been in China, South Korea and Iran must be isolated in their home for 14 days after departing that destination, other than for seeking individual medical care.