Vaccine mandates: A state-by-state guide for businesses

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WA Premier Mark McGowan.

The Western Australian government has issued a sweeping vaccine mandate that will cover up to 75% of all workers in the state.

West Australia Premier Mark McGowan announced the mandate on Wednesday, saying the health order will ensure businesses can operate safely in the long term.

“It’s vital people can continue working should community transmission or a lockdown occur,” McGowan said.

Western Australia’s mandate follows health orders in the Northern Territory, the ACT and other states around the country.

Here’s a summary of each state’s vaccine mandates for businesses. 

Western Australia

In Western Australia, workplaces subject to recent mandates have been split into two groups, with the first group required to be fully vaccinated before the second.

Group one industries include cross-border freight, all hospitals and public healthcare, community health, resources, border control, air transport, corrective services, WA Police, emergency services and meat processing.

These workforces are required to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by December 1, before being fully vaccinated by December 31.

Group two businesses include supermarkets, restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes, bakeries, post officers, hardware stores, child care facilities, schools, financial institutions, veterinary clinics, utilities-related businesses, security, public regulators, waste services, petrol stations, public transport, ride share, port operations, logistics, hotels, funeraries and constructions services.

Workplaces in group two must ensure their staff have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by December 31, and two doses by January 31.

A range of other businesses will come under the mandate in the event of a lockdown. These businesses include click-and-collect retail stores, media services and pet stores. The full list is available on this website.

Workers who don’t comply with the mandates face fines of up to $20,000, while businesses face steeper fines of up to $100,000.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory government issued a vaccine mandate last week that covers a wide range of industries.

While workforces subject to the public health order are split into several categories, they are all required to receive vaccines by the same dates.

Businesses must ensure their staff have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by November 12 and two doses by December 24.

Category one workers include people who work with children, such as teachers and sports instructors; people who work in customer facing roles, such as retail, finance, gyms and beauty; people who work with vulnerable groups; and people who work with Aboriginal communities and the community services sector.

Category two workers include people who work in high risk settings, such as health care, correction facilities, food processing distribution facilities, cold storage and cruise ships. The full list of workplaces is available on this website.

The final category of workers includes anyone who performs work in essential services. These industries include utilities, telecommunications, and more.

Onsite workers who have not been vaccinated ahead of the deadline risk fines of $5000.

Queensland 

In Queensland, vaccine mandates have so far covered health care, aged care, quarantine, and essential services crossing into Queensland from interstate.

Health care workers are required to have both doses of the vaccine by October 31, while essential services entering the state have until November 15 to be fully inoculated.

Victoria

Victoria’s most recent vaccine mandate for authorised workers will soon come into effect and vaccine deadlines for some workers have been brought forward ahead of lockdown ending.

The mandate covers any business on the authorised providers list, which include most businesses where onsite work has been permitted during lockdown.

The sweeping list includes retail, pharmacies, financial institutions, newsagents, car wash premises and many more. The full list is available on this website.

These businesses must ensure their workers have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by October 22, before becoming fully vaccinated by November 26.

Businesses that fail to comply with the mandate risk fines of between $1817 and $10,904.

Vaccine deadlines for hospitality businesses reopening from Friday, October 22 have been brought forward in response to the end of Melbourne’s lockdown. 

The fast-tracking of the mandate has sparked confusion among the industry, prompting calls from the Australian Hotels Association to give businesses a grace period in light of the sudden change, SBS reports.

New South Wales 

NSW has mandated vaccines for a range of businesses, such as entertainment facilities, hospitality, event centres, hair and beauty, retail premises, gyms. The full list is available on this website.

In Greater Sydney, businesses in these industries should have been checking their staff were fully vaccinated since October 11.

In regional and rural NSW, workers should have received their first COVID-19 vaccine by October 11, before receiving a second by November 1.

Businesses face fines of $5000 if they don’t comply with the health order.

ACT 

The ACT government recently mandated vaccines for additional sectors. 

Organisations in early childhood education and care services, primary school and specialist education are required to be vaccinated for the rest of 2021.

Disability support workers and in-home community aged care workers are also required to be vaccinated.

Workers in these industries have until November 1 to receive their first dose of a vaccine and until November 29 to receive their second.

This recent health order follows a previous mandate covering aged care workers that has been in place throughout the pandemic.

South Australia 

The South Australian government has mandated vaccinations in a range of health care services.

The mandate, which came into effect on October 8, applies to allied health workers, cleaners, administrative and executive staff and all clinicians. More information about the mandate is available on this website. Workers must have received their first dose by October 8 and have a booking for a second.

South Australia has also mandated vaccines for all freight and commercial transport workers entering the state by road from NSW, Victoria and the ACT.

These workers must have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by October 7.

Tasmania

Tasmania recently mandated vaccines in health care settings. Workers in all hospitals, pharmacies, commercial clinics, blood donation centres and pathology collection centres are now required to be vaccinated.

Organisations have until October 31 to ensure their staff have either had one dose of a vaccine or have a booking. More information is available at this website

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