New Hospitality Workplace Guidelines for Employers

Jun 30, 2020

Dine-in & Sit-down: Safe-work Australia Workplace Health & Safety guidance for employers looking to re-open their doors.

Restrictions are being relaxed at different rates across states and territories and various practices to ensure visiting customers are following social distancing measures are being widely implemented.

But as the foodservice industry slowly opens its doors across the country, the measures required to keep employees safe at work, are just as imperative. Pre COVID-19, the Accommodation and Food Service industry accounted for 7.2% of the country’s total workforce, so as hundreds of thousands of food service employees begin to head back to work, what are employers duties and what can you do to ensure the safety of your staff – from the dine-in areas, to the kitchen and other behind counter areas?

Safe-Work Australia has published new and updated Workplace Health & Safety guidance for hospitality employers during this time, including measures for physical distancing, hygiene and public health directions in each specific state or territory.

In what is such a unique and unprecedented challenge for many premises, with multiple layers of change required, the guidance is a key resource for all hospo bosses on the journey back to our ‘new normal’. Some of the most integral guidelines include:

Duty to Workers

Foodservice employers must do all you can to ensure the health and safety of your workers. While it’s not yet possible to eliminate the risk of COVID-19, the risk must be minimised as “far as is reasonably practicable”. An employer’s duty spans across the venue:

  • Maintaining hygienic workplace facilities and conditions
  • Monitoring the health of your workers, including yourself, contractors & volunteers
  • Providing information, training, instruction & supervision
  • Consulting with workers

Detailed guidance and recommendations on your duty to workers during COVD-19 can be found here.

Physical Distancing

Obviously making sure there are 1.5 metres between people is a challenge for most premises, but changes like rearranged seating and dedicated waiting areas are being met. The hospitality physical distancing guidelines provide recommendations on how to achieve the best outcomes for staff interactions and behind counter areas, including (but not limited to):

  • Assign workers to specific workstations
  • Implement radio communication
  • Identify small work areas (such as cool rooms) and determine how many people can enter
  • Use non face-to-face options for essential meetings or training
Hygiene Measures

Employers must direct workers and customers alike to follow strict hygiene practise, extended recommendations in response to COVID-19 include:

  • Continuing to encourage contactless payment where possible
  • Provide alcohol-based sanitiser in appropriate locations for workers and customers (automated, where possible)
  • Inform customers of workplace hygiene standards that are expected of them when they attend the venue
  • Publish menus online and use large easy to read boards as opposed to individual menus
  • When determining the hygiene measures and facilities required, ensure you consider the number staff on site at any given time as well as customers (including shift arrangements and when access to these facilities is required)

Find detailed hygiene information for workplaces here.

COVID-19 in your workplace

With the threat of outbreaks ever present, it is necessary to be aware of the duty and actions required to manage the health risk in your venue. These include what to do if a worker has COVID-19, how to manage a suspected risk and notification procedures.

Further Resources

Guidelines are varied across different states and venue types. Find further useful resources from Safe Work Australia in one location, including mental health support services, here.


An initiative of Fine Food, Hospitality Unites is the voice of the foodservice industry, dedicated to sharing the collective experiences and solutions to thrive in a post-COVID economy.

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