Information current 8 April 2021

COVID SAFETY FOR TOURISM BUSINESSES – THE BASICS

Queensland Health has minimum requirements for all businesses to operate while COVID-19 restrictions still remain.

This webpage is designed to help you navigate the formal Government requirements, link you directly to the official information and provide information on the various optional COVID Safety business modules available for tourism businesses. The page outlines the 'COVID normal' requirements for business - additional restrictions may come in place at times (e.g. during an outbreak).

There are some 'basics' that apply to all businesses and you can then navigate to the below sections for information specific to your business type.

Advice for tourism operators from Queensland Health

Tourism operators are at the front line of our COVID response. In light of the Greater Brisbane lockdown (29 March - 1 April 2021), the Queensland Government has updated this fact sheet with advice for tourism operators on their role in responding to COVID-19 and what businesses do (and don't) need to do. There is also this poster that you can print out and display in your business to advise guests about mask wearing requirements. There are also extensive Q&As covering mask wearing requirements in different situations.
See more on current requirements following the lockdown.

Advice for Tourism Operators

All businesses must do the following basics:

  1. The Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction governs the requirements for restricted businesses (which includes accommodation and tourism experiences). Ensure you are familiar with the requirements of the direction and any updates made to it, or temporary restrictions in place (e.g. during an outbreak).
  2. Allow for 1.5m distancing and encourage your guests to observe distancing - there is a shared responsibility. People from the same household do not need to observe 1.5m distancing from each other, but must keep 1.5m distance from other people/groups of people.


All businesses must

3. Have a current Work Health and Safety (WHS) Plan in place including strategies to manage COVID-19 to protect both staff and customers. This includes taking into account social distancing requirements. The WHS Plan is an existing internal plan which does not need to be submitted for approval and should be made available if requested.
4. Collect contact information for all customers, workers and contractors and retain for at least 30 days for the purpose of assisting authorities in tracing infections of COVID-19 if they occur. You cannot use this information for marketing purposes. Official information here.
5. 
Increase cleaning and hygiene practices, especially on high-touch areas such as screens, counter-tops and serving areas, handrails, elevator panels, door handles, trolleys and seats.
6. You should operate in compliance with the approved Industry COVID Safe Plan that your business fits within. There are a number of approved Industry COVID Safe Plans that may apply to tourism businesses including the Queensland Tourism and Accommodation plan, the Food Services plan, Queensland Clubs and Hotels plan, the Queensland wineries plan and more. See all approved plans here

  • Businesses must do the ‘basics’ (see above).
  • Businesses should be following and in compliance with the Queensland Tourism and Accommodation Industry Plan. Official information here.
  • There is no restriction on the number of rooms that a property can operate.
  • There are limits to the number of people allowed per square metre in rooms and in common areas. See the Restrictions on Businesses, Activities and Undertakings Direction.
  • Accommodation with shared facilities (e.g. bathrooms) - including overnight vessel accommodation - must have a Health Management Plan in place. 
  • Caravan and camping parks can now operate with no density requirements and do not need an approved plan or a health management plan, as long as they maintain enhanced cleaning practices and continue collecting contact details. Camping grounds are not considered a restricted business, activity or undertaking. 


Special requirements are in place for tourism rail and private bus/coach operators to allow for their unique circumstances.

  • Businesses should do the 'basics' (see above).
  • Point to point and round-trip tourism rail operators (for trips up to five hours without disembarking the train) and private bus/coach transportation can operate at up to 100 per cent capacity in line with the specific requirements for these types of businesses.

Official information here.


Businesses must do the ‘basics’ (see above).

When following the Queensland Tourism and Accommodation Industry Plan, tourism experiences may seat guests together during the tourism experience without physical distancing (up to a maximum of 50 people). These tourism experience operators must:

  • Ensure physical distancing of 1.5m is in place at all other times possible. 
  • Complete and comply with the checklist that has been added to the Industry Plan (it is at the end of the document). 

Tourism experiences include: tours, trips, boat trips, charter boats, hot air balloons, scenic flights, bicycle tours, gondolas and bus tours.

Official information and fact sheet here.

For larger marine tourism operators:

Private point to point ferry services under three hours travel time:

  • Can operate 100 per cent of indoor seated capacity provided passengers are in ticketed and allocated seating.
  • Passengers on day trips must return in their allocated seat.
  • Mask wearing encouraged.
  • Outside of household and social groups, one person per two seats.

For round-trip day vessels:

  • Can operate with a capacity of one person per two square metres based on accessible indoor and protected outdoor spaces instead of previous one person per four metres, or
  • Can use up to 100 per cent of indoor seated capacity provided passengers are in ticketed and allocated seating.
  • Passengers must maintain 1.5 metres physical distancing in food and drink kiosk areas.
  • Operators must also manage the outdoor space to maintain one person per two square metres in these areas.

For live-aboard marine vessels:

  • Can operate with one person per two square metres in sleeping areas, up to 50 people.

In some limited cases, a site-specific COVID Safe Plan can be developed by eligible operators that are larger in scale due to the unique aspects (complexity and size) of their business. Official information here.


If you chose not to follow an approved Industry COVID Safe Plan, you are allowed to operate based on the baseline restrictions, for up to 50 patrons.

  • In Queensland, baseline social distancing requirements allow for one person per two square metres and allowing 1.5m distancing between people. 
  • You must still do the ‘basics’ outlined above.

NOTE

The advice above refers to Queensland's 'COVID normal' levels of operation. Changing Public Health Directions (e.g. when locking down a particular area during an outbreak) will override the above information. Please keep up to date on current requirements at all times.


HELP AND SAFETY RESOURCES

Help:

If, after reading through all the information, you still have a question, you can contact the Queensland Government's dedicated hotline for questions specific to your business. 

Phone: 134 COVID (134 268)

Email: tourismresponse@dtis.qld.gov.au 


Safety resources:

  • The Queensland Government’s COVID-19 webpage has information on the requirements to operate a COVID Safe business.

BEING ‘GOOD TO GO’

As the tourism industry re-opens and travellers begin to return to hotels, tours and destinations, ensuring that your business delivers on new traveller expectations will be vital for longer term success. Consumer research highlights the need for tourism experiences to consider how they can clearly and effectively communicate the efforts they are making to protect public health. 

Queensland's tourism businesses can display the ‘Good to Go’ stamp in their marketing, on their website and through their communications channels to assure travellers that they are offering a safe travel experience. If you have the Queensland Government required COVID Safe documentation in place, you can download the 'Good to Go' stamp from our campaign webpage.

Being ‘Good to Go’ on ATDW:

Log into ATDW Online, navigate to the 'Accreditations' section and select the COVID Safe programs you have completed: 

By ticking one (or more) of these options, the Good to Go stamp will appear on your listing on Queensland.com.


Good To Go
Good to Go stamps displayed on Qld.com

OPTIONAL BUSINESS MODULES

QTIC has worked with the industry’s national organisation, the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) to create an optional, online, COVID-19 CLEAN business module, based on the Quality Tourism Framework platform. Completing the checklist will give access to a national COVID-clean logo for tourism operators. The intention is to reassure travellers of our industry’s ability to provide safe experiences as travel restrictions are eased.

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) has developed a tourism-friendly set of tools to assist businesses to open with clarity and ensure safety for the business, staff and customers. Once complete, businesses can display a COVID Ready badge and be listed in a trade directory. Read more.

ATEC has aligned with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to become Australia's lead agency in issuing the globally recognised 'Safe Travels' stamp. The stamp has been developed by the global travel and tourism industry body to recognise businesses which adopt standardised health and hygiene protocols and aims to encourage travellers to book recognised businesses with confidence. If you have a COVID Safe Plan in place for your business (ATEC plan, Queensland Health approved COVID Safe Plan or other), you can have access to the WTTC 'Safe Travels' stamp. Simply register for ATEC's Tourism Trade Checklist to access the stamp.