As expected the collision repair industry is deemed as an essential service and can continue to go about their business, what there is of it, in a Covid-safe way. The only complication is if you offer any retail services which very few repairers do.
According to MTA NSW the following restrictions affect the industry, we have edited to what is relevant.
A. Persons who reside in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool Local Government Areas
Members will have received the recent email communications surrounding persons who reside in the Fairfield Local Government Area. The new restrictions now also cover the Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool Local Government Areas. In total over 104 suburbs of the Sydney Metropolitan Area are covered and the area stretches from the inner west of Campsie and Croydon Park to past the Badgerys Creek Airport.
Not only do the current restrictions around testing for residents in these Local Government Areas continue but the NSW Government has imposed new restrictions on movement of persons in these areas in addition to the current rules around stay-at-home. The new Clause 24E of the PHO states:
A person whose principal place of residence is in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown or Liverpool Local Government Areas or who is staying in temporary accommodation in these areas must not for the purposes of work travel outside the local government area in which the person resides or is staying. Members should be aware that there is a list of exempted “authorised workers” permitted to travel outside these Local Government Areas, to be found on the NSW Government website at www.nsw.gov.au. Contained within this list are a variety of descriptors that may apply to members businesses. They are:
- Transport support services;
- Vehicle repairs and critical maintenance including disinfection;
- Towing Services;
- Warehousing; and
- Vehicle Hire premises, not including the premises at which vehicles are sold.
C. Use of Vehicles
Members should also be aware that further restrictions within the Greater Sydney area apply to the use of motor vehicles.
The PHO stipulates that “a person must not travel in a vehicle in Greater Sydney with another person who is not from the same household. The exceptions to this rule are where the vehicle is being used for the following purposes:
- To engage in work, by way of example Police officers travelling in a police vehicle;
- To provide a public transport service;
- To provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person;
- In an emergency or for compassionate reasons;
D. Mask Wearing
Members should be aware that mask wearing requirements have been expanded to include when a person is working in an outdoor setting within the Greater Sydney Region. The existing exceptions to wearing a face masks as set out in previous PHO’s still apply.
E. Application of Standdown Provisions of the Fair Work Act
Members are reminded that Section 524 of the Fair Work Act enables an employer to standdown an employee in certain circumstances. Section 524 stipulates
- An employer may, under this subsection, stand down an employee during a period in which the employee cannot be usefully be employed because of one of the following circumstances, one of which is “a stoppage of work for any cause for which the employer cannot be reasonable be held responsible”
In circumstances where members businesses may have to close or where a staff member is unable to attend the member's business due to a Government imposed restriction and an employee cannot be usefully employed whilst at home then in the view of MTANSW this provision is available to members.