THE OTHER SIDE: Are you venue ready?

Posted on May 7th, 2020

THE OTHER SIDE: Are you venue ready?

As talk increases about getting cafe’s and restaurants back up and running we need to start to look at what will be required to ensure our doors can open once more.  There is still a lot of discussion around this, however we will look at what we already know.

Disclaimer: The following information is based on information obtained from Safe Work Australia & NT WorkSafe.  This information is provided as a guide only, to help you prepare for the reopening of your business.  Some requirements may vary from State to State, and local legislation should be adhered to once released by your State Government.


  • Hand sanitiser stations or a hands-free portable hand basin with liquid soap and paper towel for patrons to use upon entrance, exit and around the workplace.
  • If possible, one way traffic flow in and out of the venue
  • If possible/practical, touch free entry with automatic doors, or manual doors left open
  • If queuing to enter, bright markings are to be provided on the floor 1.5m apart to show people where they should stand.
  • Erect signs at entrances to ensure the maximum safe capacity is not exceeded
  • Signage to encourage social distancing and hand sanitisation locations should also be clearly visible. 


  • There should be 1.5m between each table of different groups of people. You should arrange seating so dining groups are not seated face to face. Customers from the same group can sit face to face
  • If there are times where staff need to be closer than 1.5 metres apart, ensure the time spent in close contact is minimised with particular focus on minimising face to face close contact, which should be less than 15 minutes face to face.
  • People can only gather for less than 2 hours. Venue layout should be adjusted to accommodate different sized groups and to ensure physical distancing principles can be followed.
  • Venues should have appropriate and easily visible signage to avoid customers crowding together in any one area of the business.
  • If it is not possible to provide safe distances between people you should put in physical barriers that minimise contact (e.g. Perspex shield). 
  • In certain situations, a physical barrier such as widening the counter or placing furniture in front of the counter can be used to help maintain physical distance between people.
  • Where physical barriers are not practical to install, barrier tape can be used to indicate where customers should stand to ensure 1.5m separation can be maintained.
  • Staff should provide the required amount of cutlery to people on the table or have staff hand over cutlery and condiments to limit self-service.
  • Self-service areas like buffets, accommodation breakfast bars and aviation club lounges should be well supervised and require the customer to use hand sanitiser pre-commencement of service.


  • Put up posters around the workplace on keeping at least 1.5 metres distance between everyone at the workplace.
  • Provide social distancing markers on the floor in areas where customers line up or where workers perform tasks.
  • Nominate a person on the work floor to be responsible for keeping everyone the required 1.5 metre distance apart in accordance with the latest government requirements.
  • Have hand sanitiser stations at entry and exit points and around the workplace
  • Ensure bathrooms are well stocked with hand wash and paper towel.
  • Put up posters with instructions on how to hand wash/hand rub.
  • Promote cashless payments, noting that cash is a legal form of tender and it is illegal to not accept cash if a customer chooses to provide it as a form of payment.
  • When cash is exchanged, ensure that hands are washed with soap and water, or a hand sanitiser is used after handling money.
  • Increase access to closed bins in your workplace
  • Put up signs to request customers only touch objects they are going to buy


  • Ensure any areas frequented by workers or others (e.g. visitors to your premises) are cleaned at least daily with detergent or disinfectant.
  • Instruct workers to wear gloves when cleaning and wash their hands thoroughly with soap or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser before and after wearing gloves.
  • Clean frequently touched areas and surfaces several times a day with a detergent or disinfectant solution or wipe. This includes Eftpos equipment, elevator buttons, handrails, tables, counter tops, door knobs, sinks and keyboards.
  • Increase cleaning regimes for all other areas within the food business. Consider whether aspects of the Australian Government cleaning advice will add anything to your cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
  • Wash and sanitise all food preparation containers, utensils and chopping boards.
  • Instruct workers to clean personal property that comes to work, such as sunglasses, mobile phones and iPads with disinfectant, such as disinfectant wipes.

All of the above illustrates what the government will be requiring of you. With Job Keeper, PAYG relief and expanded Instant Asset Write Off, some would say the Government has done a lot.  But they can certainly do more for the Industry.  

With reduced dining capacity, we have seen in several countries around the world, Local Councils opening up public squares, side walks and closing streets to allow cafes and restaurants to increase their alfresco dining abilities.  Now would be a good time for you to petition your Local Council to see if a similar initiative could operate in your town.