Business Continuity Manual
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the $325 billion-dollar sector employing more than 1.3 million people.
As the peak body for Australia's retail sector, the ARA represents more than 7,500 retailers across the country. Our members range from Australia’s biggest national retailers to smaller independent outlets. We represent local and international retailers collectively operating more than 60,000 retail outlets across Australia.
For over 100 years, the ARA has performed a crucial role informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for members.
As we enter the second half of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a major impact on Australian retail. We have revised our Best Practice Guidelines to bring the information into line with your current business needs and COVID-19 protocols.
Our earlier issue focused on the reopening period and followed the April lockdowns as Australia battled hard to flatten the COVID-19 curve. A gradual easing of restrictions within many States and Territories has seen retailers return to a subdued, but improved, version of the ‘next normal.’ Yet the recent spike in infections within Victoria tells us we are far from out of the woods and we must remain extremely vigilant and guard against a second wave. This next phase, as we transition to a retail recovery, is all about maintaining business continuity. Safety must continue to come first, not only to protect our customers and our staff. But also because economically, we can’t risk another false start. This is of course a shared responsibility - with governments, business, landlords and customers playing their part in our road to retail recovery. Our governments are working closely with the highest level of local and global expertise, and collaborating strongly with our industry. On a basic level, we know it’s critical to maintain social distancing and appropriate in-store density quotients, to continue intense cleaning and other hygiene practices and to keep unwell staff and customers from entering our locations. Financial health and survival is also paramount at this time, and we have included a round- up of the current support packages within this document for your easy-reference. As restrictions continue to change within each State and Territory, we are maintaining an up-to-date guide on our ARA website at this link . As always, we welcome your feedback and questions .
Paul Zahra, CEO Australian Retailers Association
TABLE OF CONTENTS
P age 3
Open for Business Checklist
Health and Safety Co n siderations
COVIDSafe Plans for Business
Hairdressing and Beauty: Best Practice Guidelines
Restaurant and Catering: Best Practice Guidelines
Health Policy Checklist
Infection Control Training
Employer Obligations / Employer Relations
Support Office Return to Work Considerations
Finance Relief Packages
Finance from Bank s
Mental health Support
Looking towards the Future
Examples of Innovation
Principle for Managing COVID-19 Outbreaks
OPEN FOR BUSINESS CHECKLIST
W e have created a number of checklists for you and your teams to run through as you prepare your stores for the retail recovery period.
Click each area to see or download the checklist
Health Policy Checklist
Hairdressing and Beauty Best Practice Guidelines
C ustomer Signage Posters
Restaurant and Catering Best Practice Guidelines
As state governments continue to release their staged plans for easing lockdown restrictions, we encourage employers to regularly check the latest information applicable to their individual location to ensure they are complying with the latest regulations outlined by their government. Y ou can find updated information on restrictions HERE.
HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS
Retailers have made an enormous effort to protect staff and shoppers, working tirelessly to create a safe and healthy in environment through the lockdown period . T hese protocols need to become part of our ongoing service.
The following information outlines best-practice considerations and obligations that retailers need to attend to in ensuring a COVID safe environment.
DISTANCING AND HYGIENE
The amount of time the COVID-19 virus survives on inanimate objects and surfaces varies. Environmental cleaning is one way to remove the virus that causes COVID-19.
Employers should ensure: - they provide surface wipes to clean and disinfect counters, and equipment such as tills, phones, and eftpos facilities - frequently touched surfaces such as doors, handrails, and products are cleaned and disinfected - frequently using appropriate detergent and disinfectant solutions - trolleys and hand baskets are wiped clean with surface wipes after each use - customers are encouraged to only touch items they are interested in purchasing - hand sanitiser dispensers are available in prominent locations and are regularly refilled Become an ARA member to download the full guide
Employers should ensure employees follow good hand hygiene routines. Use alcohol-based hand sanitisers before and after serving customers . This includes making sure employees wash their hands frequently and use alchohol-based hand sanitiser before and after serving customers. Separate santisers should be provided for customers.
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Employees should be vigilant and practice good hygiene, including:
Covering coughs and sneezes with an elbow or a tissue
Immediately disposing of tissues properly, washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
Reporting and staying home if experiencing any symptoms
Become an ARA member to download the full guide
Employees should also provide closed bins for hygienic disposal of waste. Open bins or those with foot pedals could be encouraged where appropriate to avoid touching to remove lids. To maintain social distancing instore. This will either be 2 or four square metres depending on your state - remember to count your staff too. For update guidelines on this please click here .
Floor d istance markers are recommended where people queue for checkouts.
C ustomer Signage Posters The ARA has developed a set of posters and signs which may be helpful to use within and outside your stores.
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It is important to remind staff to practice good hygiene after handling clothes, handles, hangers and other items. Consider providing staff with disposable gloves to handle hangers and clothing that has been tried on. Additional steps you can take to help minimise the spread of infection in changing rooms in your store include:
Regularly rotate the staff member/s responsible for the change rooms and/or handling and returning clothes. If there are multiple change rooms in proximity, consider using only every second chang e room . Remind customers who are queuing for the change rooms to maintain the 1.5 metre distancing rule. Place signs around the change room and create floor markings to establish the 1.5 metre distance. Limit the number of customers allowed in changing area at a time to adhere to physical distancing requirements. Beco e an ARA member to download the full guide Remove seats from in and around the change rooms. Instead, encourage customer to have family and friends wait outside the changing room.
Staff must return the clothes to the shop floor the next morning.
Manage the flow of customers that come in and out of the change rooms to allow enough time for disinfecting before the next customer enters.
Clean and disinfect frequent touch points such as door handles, hangers and hooks. Changing room curtains should be laundered.
If physical distancing or hygiene requirements cannot be implemented in the changing rooms in your store, you should consider closing the changing rooms for the duration of the pandemic
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COVIDS AFE P LANS FOR BUSINESS
COVID-19 will continue to be an ongoing concern for retailers for some time. It is important that your business continues to plan and implement measures to keep your workplace healthy, safe, and virus-free. The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission My Business’s COVIDSafe plan is a guide to help employers plan through each stage of the pandemic. Each state and territory has also issued its own plans. We encourage you to fill in the plan applicable to your state or territory, so customers and employees can be rest assured that your business is COVIDSafe. See below:
ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA
Wearing face masks in public Facemasks are gaining greater recognition as a valuable public health and safety practice in areas with high infection rates. For example, Victorians living in metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are now recommended to wear face masks when they are leaving their home and physical distancing is not possible. However, these remain a recommendation rather than a requirement at this stage. Become an ARA member to download the full guide
Why should I wear a face mask? Face masks are useful in containing droplets when people cough, and therefore reducing the likelihood of spreading the virus. Wearing a face mask protects you and the community by providing an additional physical barrier to coronavirus (COVID-19). Studies have recently shown that wearing face masks can reduce transmission of coronavirus by around 60 per cent. Keeping 1.5 metres between yourself and others and washing your hands are still the best defences against coronavirus (COVID-19)
For further information on facemask and best practice guidelines please visit: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/face-masks-covid-19
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HAIRDRESSING AND BEAUTY : BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES
S tores and salons offering services in the hair and beauty industry will require extra safety measures and protocols. Below are recommended measures specific to salon, barbershop and clinic environments to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
BOOKINGS / TIME MANAGEMENT
• Contact information on all clients, workers, and contractors must be recorded. Client contact details only require name phone number and time of visit to the salon . These details must be stores securely and kept for a minimum of 28 or 56 days, based on your state requirements and should only be used for tracking COVID-19 infections purposes only. • Managing your appointment schedule to have the appropriate number of clients in your Salon to practice distancing guidelines. i.e blocking appointments and also taking into consideration processing time or services which require more than one touch point. • Rescheduling appointments if clients feel in any way unwell or have flu like symptoms. • Include extra time with each appointment so there is no overlap of clients arriving and leaving the salon. • Block time out in the appointment book to allow for cleaning and preparation for each clients arrival. • Encourage online and over the phone bookings. • Ask clients to arrive with clean hair/facial hair before attending their appointments. • Ask clients when booking to attend their salon appointment alone. • When booking clients request they bring their own refreshments. Where this is not possible, an alternative is to use single use cups/drinks or ensure a dishwasher is used that has a sanitising cycle. • Where it is practical and safe to do so, review tasks and processes that usually require close interaction, and identify ways to modify these to increase social distancing between workers. • Manage your appointment schedule to provide time for extra services such as waxing. Become an ARA member to download the full guide
CLIENT MANAGEMENT /ARRIVAL
• Consider removing seats and reduce the number of clients in the reception area as well as having only 1 staff member at the reception area. • Clients are to sanitise hands on arrival and provide your client with a clean gown and ask them to put this on and secure without assistance. • As hairdressers interact with their client’s and some are like friends be mindful to avoid contact i.e hug on arrival, handshakes or touching. • Encourage clients to sanitise their hands upon arrival. • Ensure clients and therapists are provided with handwashing facilities or appropriate alcohol-based hand sanitisers. • Clients and staff must not be barefoot between treatments. Clients should use their own shoes or businesses may consider the use of single use disposable slippers. • Have all equipment, cleaning products at your workstation i.e. barbercide and other suitable COVID-19 products that you use for cleaning tools and equipment to limit movement around the workplace. • Set up your workstations with plenty of hand sanitiser, shaving products, and appropriate COVID-19 surface sprays and ensure workbenches are thoroughly cleaned between clients. • Use neck strips under client wraps. • Educate your client to understand you are managing a schedule and if they could leave after their service is complete, if they wish to rebook etc offer to call them and arrange their next visit. GET A QUOTE
• Clean frequently touched areas and surfaces at least hourly with appropriate disinfectant (including shared equipment and tools, eftpos equipment, tables, countertops, and sinks). • Any surfaces used by clients must also be cleaned between clients • Ensure appropriate sanitisation and cleaning of equipment between clients i.e. pedicure equipment, nail clippers, cuticle pushers, and all metal utensils. • Use a spatula to dispense products out of the container being used for services.
To help you achieve 4 square metres of space per person (or where not reasonable, to achieve the maximum space per person) limit the number of workers and clients in the workplace at the one time. You can achieve this by:
WORK AREAS /EQUIPMENT
• Map out your salon space for everyone to be able to move around safely in the salon. • Magazines, books and newspapers, brochures, salon menu’s and promotional material need to be removed. Consider offering complimentary WiFi as an alternative. • Spread out client stations or close down every second client station (including those in the basin area). • Set your work trolley or area with everything you require for the clients service, tools, products,equipment. • If you are having foiling, balyage set your trolley with everything you need so that you can work alone without an assistant. • Be mindful to have limited contact with others in your workspace. Become an ARA member to download the full guide • Regular cleaning and sanitising of common contact surfaces such as eftpos machines seats and counters. • Assign workers to specific workstations to minimise the need to go into other spaces and time breaks to ensure social distancing. • Place a hand sanitiser to use at every workstation if required • Appropriate cleaners are readily available to wipe down equipment used for facial/laser machine. • Use alcohol spray cleansers that are in line with COVID-19 guidelines. • If doing facial waxing ears, nose, upper lip, or brows use appropriate PPE. • Have a closed bin close to your workstation to dispose of cotton buds and spatulas once used. • Ensure all cotton buds and spatulas are single use only • Makeup artists should use disposable sponges, lip liner brush, and mascara wands
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POST CLIENTS SERVICE
• After the client service when attending the reception area make sure there is only the receptionist or you and your client – e.g. using wireless eftpos machine and other electronic devices to finalise payment. • All capes, towels(if not disposable) and gowns are to be laundered between clients. • Clean and disinfect brushes, scissors, combs, razors, etc with the appropriate cleaning products and disinfectant after each client (check your cleaning products are appropriate to use for COVID-19). • When styling or using,bobby pins,fringe pins,combs and clips make sure they have not been used on another client’s hair. • Clients should refrain from any unnecessary contact with products they are not purchasing • Ask clients to refrain from using product testers or samples i.e. powders, eye shadows, etc and do not use testers or samples on more than one client. CHECK o Educate salon assistants to clean/sweep the area after the client has left the space. o If you are behind schedule contact your next client and update their arrival time. o If receiving stock orders and supplies make them contactless. Become an ARA member to download the full guide o Consult with workers on COVID-19 measures in the workplace and provide workers with adequate information and education, including changes to work tasks and practices and appropriate cleaning and disinfection practices at work. o If hand washing is not practical, alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60 per cent ethanol or 70 per cent iso-propanol is highly recommended. o Ensure enough time is kept between appointments to allow for cleaning and preparation. o For controlling the risk of COVID-19 infection, masks and gloves may be considered as part of a range of controls. o Clearly display COVID-19 signage inside and outside the premises. o Where makeup artists and beauty therapists were previously required to use masks and gloves to control for risks other than COVID-19 infection (e.g. dust exposures), they must continue to do so.
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RESTAURANT AND CATERING: BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINE S
T he following guidelines including quick service, restaurants and catering can be used to ensure best practices for the safety of customers and employees.
BOOKINGS AND CONDITIONS OF ENTRY
Bookings / Tracking: • Ensure pre-bookings or sign-ins to dine in include a name, address/email address, and contact number. • Walk-in patrons should sign into or scan into the booking app/program or reservation book of the restaurant as acondition of entry. This information must be kept for a minimum of 28 or 56 days, based on your state requirements. • Ensure you have completed the Retail Food Services Industry COVID Safe Plan • Maintain thorough cleaning and sanitisation of facilities, equipment and transport vehicles. • Stock bathrooms with sufficient amounts of hand wash and paper towel. • Clean shared surfaces more frequently, at least twice a day i.e. door handles (front door, fridge/ freezerhandles), bathrooms, service counters, handrails, eftpos keypads and POS system. Refusing Entry to Patrons: • P lace signs at entry points to re q uest customers or employee do not enter the shop if they are unwell or have COVID-19 symptoms. • Y ou have the right to refuse service or ask a patron to leave the premises if they appear to have symptoms of the virus. Waiting Areas: Become an ARA member to download the full guide
• Clearly outline floor social distancing requirements. • Establish different areas for ordering and collection.
• Use separate doors for entry and exit, if practicable, to avoid contact between people. • Ensure customers wait outside and practice social distancing for takeaway collection.
DINING IN, TAKEAWAY AND CUSTOMER SERVICE
Table / Seat Distance: • Implement social distancing between table edges/centres to adjacent tables (check the required distanceapplicable to your state or territory). Outdoor services need to adhere to the same table distance requirements. • Tables, chairs, stools, and booth seating must be sanitised after every use.
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Information sourced from Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA)
Condiments/BYO: • N o condiments left on tables (including salt and pepper). • Condiments should be disposable and not stored or distributed from a common container . • N o public water stations. • Y ou should refuse to accept keep-cups, BY O alcohol bottles, or containers for safety reasons. Food and Beverage: • M enu ' s should either be laminated for easy cleaning or should be completely disposable after each use. • N o bar service and no waiting at the bar. • L imit all shareable items from menus.
• N o buffets or shared ‘serve yourself’ sections such as salad bars etc. • N o open food displays or food on display meant for consumption .
Cutlery: • Wash and sanitise all food preparation containers and utensils • Clean shared surfaces more frequently, at least twice a day i.e. door handles (front door, fridge/ freezerhandles), bathrooms, service counters, handrails, eftpos keypads and POS systems. • Use disposable/ recyclable cutlery/ glassware when available and adhere to strict table clearing guidelinesrequiring gloves. • Non-disposable crockery / cutlery/ glassware permitted when cleared after each course and washed usinga commercial grade dishwasher or glasswasher only. Become an ARA member to download the full guide
Restrictions will vary across each state and territory Check the resources below to keep up to date with changes announced by your government.
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HEALTH POLICY Checklist
Place signage in conspicuous locations throughout the store, particularly high-traffic areas such as entrances and exits, checkouts, fitti ng rooms, etc. Social Distancing
Consider programming in-store audio messaging to frequently remind employees and customers to follow guidance on hygiene and physical distancing.
For high-traffic retailers and retailers with checkout counters that do not allow adequate distance between the customer and employee, consider installing plexiglass “sneeze-guards.” Capacity limits have been considered; if implemented, distance markers are located outside of store and at checkouts to allow for queuing while maintaining physical distance; employees can also be assigned to assist customers with waiting to enter. To the extent possible, spread out employees across point-of-sale terminals and workstations. Become an ARA member to download the full guide Implement and encourage use of contactless payment options for employees and customers and contactless signatures for deliveries. If contactless signature for deliveries is not possible, require customers to use own pen.
Where possible, employee shifts and meal breaks should be spaced out to avoid crowding.
High-traffic areas have been widened to the extent store configur ation allows.
Establish separate entry and exit signs.
Determine whether employees will be permitted to use their own face masks and PPE, and on what terms and conditions, with special attention to potenti al use of fil tering face-piece respirators. Face Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) In certain high contact circumstances, it may be appropriate to encourage or require employees and customers to wear approved facial coverings, gloves, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Designate receptacles for discarded face masks and PPE.
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In general circumstances, PPE is not required or recommended for healthy employees. However, staff and customers should not be discouraged from wearing PPE if they so desire.
Cleaning / Sanitisation Cleaning “kits” including disinfectant wipes or sprays, disposable gloves, paper towels, masks, hand sanitiser and other cleaning supplies are readily accessible throughout store, including point-of-sale terminals and other stations that will be cleaned periodically throughout the day.
Alcohol-based hand sanitiser is highly flammable and should be stored away from high temperatures and electrical equipment.
Modify changing room protocols to allow sufficient time for additional cleaning.
Implement a cleaning regime targets frequently touched surfaces and spaces, which are most likely to result in the transmission of communicable diseases:
General: o Shopping carts and baskets. o Consider customers temporarily bag their own purchases o Door and drawer handles. o Light and other power switches (consider signage to keep lights on at all times, or utilising exiting motion sensor capabilities). o Shared tools such as pricing guns, pallet jacks, tape guns, box cutters, etc. o Chairs, tables, and benches. o Vending machines and self-serve kiosks. o Refrigerators, microwave, and other frequently touched objects and surfaces in employee breakroom. o Time clocks. Become an ARA member to download the full guide
Point of sale/checkout: o Cash register, including touch screens, keyboards, mouse.
o PIN Pads (touch screen, keypad, and pen). o Checkout counter and/or conveyor belt. o Cabinet pulls. o Checkout dividers.
Restrooms (consider temporarily closing restrooms to public, if possible): o Door handles and flush levers. o Toilet bowl and toilet paper holder. o Sinks and taps. o Paper towel holders and/or air dryers. o Nappy-changing stations. Sales floor: o Fixtures with handles or pulls. o Any other identified “high-touch” surfaces. o Hand sanitiser is available throughout store for customers and employee use, including store entrance(s), and checkouts. GET A QUOTE
INFECTION CONTROL TRAINING
COVID-19 has changed the way we work and live our daily lives.
As a result of COVID-19, more and more workers require knowledge and skills to decrease transmission of infection while undertaking their daily duties.
As the peak body for Australia's Retail Sector, the Australian Retailers Association offer s a Nationally Recognised (Accredited) Infection Control skill set training to all frontline staff working in Retail and the Hair & Beauty industry. This FREE * short course will provide workers with a retail specific knowledge and training required to follow organisational infection prevention and control procedures, including implementing standard and transmission-based precautions and responding to infection risks. Upon completion, learner will receive a Statement of Attainment in HLTINFCOV001 as part of the HLTSS00065 (Infection Control Skill Set – Retail). Become an ARA member to download the full guide
For more information regarding the course, visit our website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
*Currently available in NSW & VIC, with other states to follow shortly.
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Employers should be taking additional steps to ensure the health and safety of their staff and customers, and this goes beyond the government advice on social distancing and physical health and safety measures.
Become an ARA member to download the full guide
Obligations to Staff
Mental Health of Employees
The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted workplaces and support programs such as JobKeeper have brought their own challenges for retailers doing their best to support their staff. As we enter the recovery period, employers should be planning the next steps of their reopening - will staff be gradually phased or are you planning to open at near full capacity? Plan your operations and give your staff notice of changes - communicate clearly, keep them informed. There’s plenty to consider: how to deal with suspected COVID-19 cases, what about staff at a higher risk of contracting the virus or those who don’t want to return to work yet, potential changes to hours and pay. For questions like these, ARA members should contact our employment relations support team so we can help you navigate the challenges.
The emergence of COVID-19 across the globe has created a new work health and safety risk that retail businesses need to manage. Workers may be at an increased risk of exposure to other hazards stemming from the current situation, such as workplace aggression and violence. We should take a zero-tolerance approach to abuse and violence in the workplace. Retailers have a duty under the health and safety laws to manage risks associated with exposure to hazards arising from work that could result in physical or psychological harm. Now is the time for retailers to take a systematic approach to manage the risks of customer aggression and protect the health and safety of our staff. Employees Assistance Program (EAP) It is highly recommended that an EAP is in place to offer professional counseling. There are many independent providers that can provide a competitive quote.
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SUPPORT OFFICE RETURN TO WORK CONSIDERATIONS
The WHS laws require employers to take care of the health, safety, and wellbeing of your staff, contractors, volunteers, others (clients, customers, visitors) and yourself in the workplace. Under these laws, employers should ensure they: • E stablish and maintain a work environment that is without risk to health and safety. • P rovide ade q uate and accessible facilities so workers can carry out their work safely. • M onitor the health of workers and the conditions of the workplace to prevent illness or in j ury. Managing COVID-19 in the workplace To ensure the health and safety of your employees, you should take extra precautions to eliminate or minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19 if reasonably practicable. The following measures can be implemented in the workplace to minimise the risk of employees being exposed to the virus: • Consider working from home arrangements. • Request that employees practice physical distancing. Become an ARA member to download the full guide • Require employees to practice good hygiene. • Advise employees to stay home when sick. • Clean the workplace regularly and thoroughly.
Maintaining hygiene practices in the workplace and facilities
Employers must maintain best hygiene practices in the workplace to ensure the work environment does not place workers and others at risk of contracting the virus. A safe work environment can be established by: • Reconfiguring the layout of the workplace to allow for physical distancing. • L imiting the number of people in the workplace at any given time. E mployers should also provide sufficient facilities in the workplace to protect workers from contracting COVID-19. These facilities include: • Ensuring washroom facilities have an ade q uate supply of soap, water, and paper towel. • Place hand sanitiser, where workers are unable to wash their hands. • Staff rooms and break rooms should be regularly cleaned and configured to allow for physical distancing.
Consult with employees on health and safety issues relating to COVID-19 Employers consult employees on any health and safety updates happening in the workplace. During the consultation process, employees are entitled to express their views and raise any concerns around workplace health and safety measures. These concerns should be considered and all outcomes from the consultation should be communicated to employees. GET A QUOTE
Provide information and training on best practices to employees Employers are advised to communicate to employees any information, resources, or training that will help minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19 arising from their work. This may include: • Distribute guidance material on the best hygiene practices. • Remind employees to exercise adequate cleaning practices throughout the day. • Provide employees with instructions and information on how to set up a safe workplace, whether • they are working from home or in the office. • Establish and communicate staying home from work if sick protoco l. RESOURCES See a list of additional information on best workplace hygiene practices, advice, and support below:
Become an ARA member to download the full guide
F ind your duties under WHS laws here
Video on COVID Sa fe Cleaning
State and Territory helplines:
• 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
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• Australian Capital Territory - (02) 6207 7244 • Northern Territory - (08) 8922 8044 22 8044
ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA o Boosting Cash Flow for Employers : A cash boost of up $100,000 spans over two financial years. The first tranche of $50,000 is provided in the 2019/20 FY and the balance of $50k will be credited in the new financial year. o Instant Asset Write-Off o Backing Business Investment – Accelerated Depreciation o Additional ATO Support • Visit the ATO website for more information. LEASING Mandatory Leasing Code of Conduct TAX • Tax time changes due to COVID-19 . • Ensure your business is ready for tax time this year, and double check your eligibility for key support measures available to businesses. o JobKeeper Payments If you have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, there are a range of support measures available for your business. These include well-publicised wage subsidies and rent relief, as well as tax relief and other grants available through federal and state governments. The Federal Government has announced a range of measures to help lessees. This includes a temporary hold on evictions and a mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenancies to support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) affected by coronavirus. Rent reductions for eligible retailers will be based on the tenant’s decline in turnover to ensure that the burden is shared between landlords and lessees. Rent relief should be proportionate, both parties must act in good faith, and retailers should be mindful of the information landlords are requesting of them as it must be related to the pandemic period. ACCC Collective Bargaining ARA members adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have also been granted interim authorisation by the ACCC to bargain collectively on rents with shopping centres and other landlords. This enables members to discuss and share information relevant to negotiations, except for commercially sensitive rent information. ARA members interested in being part of any collective bargaining efforts can register via the link below. Interested members will be asked for their contact details, and to specify which landlord(s) they seek to collectively negotiate with. Register your interest HERE. GET A QUOTE If you need additional support, please contact the ARA to connect you with our leasing partners at Lease1, on 1300 368 041. The Code will be implemented by your state or territory government. You can find out how to access this assistance through the relevant state or territory links below. In the event of a dispute with your landlord, check the details of the scheme in your state or territory – an independent umpire such as your Small Business Commissioner should be available to help resolve disputes. Become an ARA member to download the full guide
FINANCIAL RELIEF PACKAGES
Click each package for more information
Federal Government • JobKeeper Payments for Employers and Employees: Under the JobKeeper payment, businesses impacted by COVID-19 will be able to access a subsidy to continue paying their employees. The Government will provide a fortnightly payment of $1500 per eligible employee until 27 September 2020. • JobKeeper Payments for Sole Traders: Sole traders and other entities may be eligible to receive the JobKeeper p ayment if their turnover has reduced due to coronavirus. • Boosting Cash Flow for Employers : Through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Government will provide tax-free cash flow boosts of between $20,000 and $100,000 to eligible businesses, delivered through credits in the activity statement system, when they lodge their activity statements up to the month or quarter of September 2020. • Early Access to Superannuation: Eligible Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents can apply to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 30 June 2020. They can also apply to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020. Become an ARA member to download the full guide • Increasing the Instant Asset Write-Off: The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanded access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). • Supporting Apprenticeships and Trainees: If you employ an apprentice or trainee you may be eligible for a wage subsidy of 50% of their wage paid from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. • Assistance for affected regions, communities, and industries: $1 billion has been set aside to support regions, communities and industries most significantly affected by coronavirus. The COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund is available to assist during the outbreak and to help with recovery. As part of this funding, the government has committed more than $4.7 million to provide small regional businesses affected by COVID-19 with access to free and confidential financial counselling. • Increased and Accelerated Income Support: Income support payments and establishing a new, time limited Coronavirus Supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. Payments will commence from 27 April 2020. Expanded eligibility applies to sole traders and the self-employed. • Backing Business Investment : Businesses with aggregated turnover of less than $500 million for the 2019–20 and 2020–21 income years can deduct the cost of depreciating assets at an accelerated rate.
Check your state to see what additional financial support is available for your business: Each state and territory has made additional support available for business, with businesses eligible for payroll tax relief in all locations. Please visit the state websites below for directions and further information about other relief packages
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ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA
FINANCE FROM BANKS
Loan Deferrals If your business profit has been adversely impacted by COVID-19 , your bank will allow you to defer principal and interest repayments for all loans for a period of six months. Eligibility To be eligible, you must have less than $10 million total debt to all credit providers. You need to be current, and not in arrears as of 1 January 2020. In order to participate , you must advise your bank that your business (or not-for-profit) is affected by COVID-19, they will fast track the approval process and provide support as soon as possible.
SME Loan Guarantee Scheme Participating banks are also offering loans, including overdrafts, at very low interest rates, to help bridge cash flow gaps. The Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms: • SMEs, including sole traders, with a turnover of up to $50 million. • Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower. • Loans will be for up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday. • Unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan. Becom an ARA member to download the full guide
Further information is available here.
Temporary Relief for Financially Distressed Businesses
There is a temporary increase to the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive. This includes temporary relief for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent, and providing temporary flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to provide temporary and targeted relief from provisions of the Act. This temporary measure will apply for 6 months, from 25 March until 24 September 2020. GET A QUOTE
Additional information available here.
LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE
Retail has long been on the frontlines of change and customer expectations and experiences will continue to rapidly evolve, with this shift accelerated by the pandemic.
For example, in the future shoppers are likely to use their mobiles more in-store to navigate and take advantage of information and special offers - combining the digital and physical experience for the best of both worlds. The customer insights gleaned from smarter ways of shopping will help staff to have an even greater understanding of what their customers are looking for and to be able to provide that service in a more flexible way. As food for thought, here are some other examples of future innovations which are already being embraced by some retailers here and overseas: Become n ARA m mber to download the full guide
· Stores are using booking systems and offer appointments to help with social distancing.
· Technologies to measure the number of people in a store and how long they stay there.
· Automated daily or hourly deep cleanings.
· V irtual fitting solutions, such as digital mirr ors to allow customers to see what items look like on them without physically trying them on.
· Virtual reality solutions to see how beauty products look on customers.
· Consumers may prefer germ and contamination resistant packaging - or packaging that can be easily disinfected.
· Virtual assistance sessions with customers get help with personal styling, shopping assistance or e-commerce related activities.
· Adopting click and collect as a contactless service
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· Curbside assist
EXAMPLES OF INNOVATION
There have been countless examples of retailers adapting to the crisis to find out new ways of doing business. Here are a few prominent examples – if you have a good news story of innovation during the pandemic please share it at email@example.com
Woolworths – Online Shopping and In-store Safety: In responses to a lift in online shopping demand in Melbourne, Woolworths has increased online delivery and in-store pick-up.
The supermarket will build its fleet of more than 200 Victorian vehicles and hundreds of couriers from on-demand delivery partners Sherpa and Drive Yello ready to fulfill orders. All Woolworths stores in Melbourne also offer Community Pick up - allowing customers to place an order online for themselves or have a family member, friend or neighbour collect it for them. In-store, Woolworths invested heavily to be the first store to introduce in-store dividers and check-out screens manufactured by local Australian business, with many similar designs since being adopted by retailers around the country. Become an ARA member to download the full guide Andersens Floor Coverings Pty Ltd : A floor covering business headquartered in regional Queensland launched an augmented reality app to enable customers to visualise flooring products in their home, amid fewer customers visiting showrooms. The retailer also launched a safe samples program which includes the sanitation of flooring samples before and after being handled by customers. Developed by a local Australian business, the app is the first of its kind, allowing the business to step up its marketing during the pandemic. As a result, the app was downloaded almost 10,000 times and the business mitigated any hit to their total sales. This has carried the business to the position of broadening their offering into design consultancy, and further strengthen their digital development. Small Vintage Clothing Retailer: A small vintage clothing stores used the COVID hibernation period to launch an online offering with a website and social media presence, managing to offset stagnant in-store sales with online revenue and opening up a new customer channel. The store had not previously planned to sell online and was surprised by the results in such a short space of time, and will now feature a permanent omnichannel offering to customers. Accent Group: Improving Margins: Accent Group leveraged insights from artificial intelligence (AI) to turn its retail outlets into a virtual distribution centre, making inventory available to online customers without having to invest in extra stock for its retail chains. Deliveries now focus on preserving margin, using AI to ensure online orders draw upon in-store stock from across the country before it is marked down, improving overall sales margins. GET A QUOTE
What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Symptoms include shortness of breath or cough, with or without a fever. In some cases, the virus can cause severe pneumonia. The symptoms can start between 2 and 14 days from exposure to the virus . How is COVID-19 spread? COVID-19 can be spread from person-to-person. This can happen when a person comes into contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person, for example through coughing or sneezing. Spread of this coronavirus from person-to-person is usually between close contacts. Close contacts have been defined as those people who have been face-to-face with a person infected with the virus for at least 15 minutes (cumulative over the course of a week while the person was infectious) or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours with an infected person. Spread of this coronavirus can also occur through touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face. Can staff obtain a medical clearance for work? It is not possible to obtain a “medical clearance” for COVID-19 unless your employee has a confirmed case of COVID-19. In the early stages of infection (before people have symptoms), it may not be possible to detect the virus. Testing when you do not have symptoms could give a false negative result. Become an ARA member to download the full guide Social distancing must be followed at work as far as practicable, based on principles published by the Department of Health. Risk assessments should be conducted and suitable control strategies implemented. I employ vulnerable staff, what should I do? Employers that have employees who are at increased risk of adverse outcomes if they contract COVID-19 coronavirus due to pre-existing medical conditions or age should consider if the team member can work from home, or if the job can be modified to reduce risk factors such as contact with the public. Where this is not possible, staff should be encouraged to use existing leave entitlements. Do my staff need to wear surgical masks? General COVID-19 information on surgical masks and who should use surgical mask has been published by the Australian Government Department of Health. Current advice from Department of Health is that surgical masks in the community are only helpful in preventing people who have coronavirus disease from spreading it to others. Surgical masks are not currently recommended for healthy members of the public to prevent COVID-19. For more information click here. Source: Government COVID-19 FAQs Is social distancing required mandatory in the workplace? My team members may come into close contact with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus. Should the staff use personal protective equipment (PPE)? If a staff members comes into close contact with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in the course of their work, employers must put controls measures in place to minimise the risk of a worker contracting the virus so far as practicable. GET A QUOTE
Source: Worksafe COVID-19 FAQs
PRINCIPLES FOR MANAGING COVID-19 OUTBREAKS
The ARA supports the following principle s which have been developed by the Business Council of Australia (BCA) for managing COVID-19 outbreaks in a systematic and localised way to minimise unnecessary economic damage.
1. All workers, regardless of their occupation or employment model (e . g . independent contractors and employees alike), have rights and responsibilities in keeping a workplace COVID safe;
2. All businesses in areas where there is community transmission should review their COVID management plans in light of the epidemiology and local information available, and management must consult in good faith with staff and relevant representatives; 3. Good quality COVID management plans are based on a thorough risk assessment and the consistent application of controls, and are not expected to eliminate the possibility of COVID transmission; 4. Principles for managing businesses and determining restrictions on trade and commerce for localised outbreaks should continue to be based on the 3-Step Framework established by the National Cabinet, advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), and local epidemiological assessments by the jurisdiction’s Chief Health Officer; Becom an ARA memb r to download the full guide 5. Any determination by governments that businesses must close or be barred from normal commercial operations should continue to be based on the ‘black list’ or ‘exceptions’ approach – that is, all businesses should be allowed to continue (subject to relevant restrictions) unless explicitly ruled out in a clear industry or activity-specific category, based upon robust risk assessment;
6. Businesses stand ready to assist with track and trace efforts, including through manual processes of collecting customer names and contact details in a hotspot;
7. Business protocols must remain focussed on physical distancing of staff and customers; encouragement of individual efforts (including cough etiquette and hand hygiene practices); extra cleaning with effective products; and closure for periods long enough to allow for a deep clean when there is any evidence of contamination ;
8. The more flexible approach to physical distancing and density in small businesses advised by the AHPPC on 26 June should continue to apply as the optimal risk management ;
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9. Business continues to stand ready and support any testing approach where governments need to co-ordinate community testing with any commercial infrastructure or workforces.
Information sou rced from Business Council of AustraliaPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28
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