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Public health and social measures

2 January 2022: Face mask are required in all indoor settings

From 1am AEST Sunday 2 January 2022 face mask requirements across Queensland include all indoor settings except for in the home and where it's unsafe.

Overview

When border restrictions were eased, COVID-19 began to circulate in our community. To ensure we don't overwhelm our hospital system when we have outbreaks, some restrictions on unvaccinated people are necessary.

Eased restrictions for businesses

From 17 December 2021, there are no capacity restrictions on businesses that are only permitted to allow fully vaccinated people to attend, including:

  • hospitality venues such as pubs, clubs, taverns, bars, restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets
  • indoor entertainment venues such as nightclubs, live music venues, karaoke bars, concerts, theatres or cinemas, casinos
  • outdoor entertainment activities such as sporting stadiums or theme parks
  • festivals – either indoor or outdoor – such as musical festivals, folk festivals or arts festivals
  • activities – either indoor or outdoor – such as convention and entertainment centres and showgrounds
  • Queensland Government owned galleries, museums or libraries

Venues used for private hire have no capacity limit if people attending are fully vaccinated. However, if there is a person attending who is not fully vaccinated, COVID-19 density restrictions apply. This means a maximum of 20 people or 1 per 4 square meters, whichever is less.

Collection of contact information by business operators

A business operator must collect contact information, proof of vaccination or evidence of medical contraindication from all staff, guests and patrons when entering an establishment by using the Check In Qld app.

If a business operator cannot use the Check In Qld app, they must use alternative measures to record the contact information details.

Obligation of staff

Any member of staff must give their contact information, proof of COVID-19 vaccination or evidence of medical contraindication by using the Check In Qld app or another measure of record keeping before entering their place of work.

A staff member is not required to give their contact information, proof of vaccination or evidence of medical contraindication if they are:

  • under the age of 16 years
  • entering to provide emergency services
  • exercising law enforcement
  • at risk of safety.

Community responsibilities

A person must give their contact information, proof of COVID-19 vaccination or evidence of medical contraindication by using the Check In Qld app or another measure of record keeping before entering a business establishment.

A person may give these entry requirements on behalf of another person who:

  • is under the age of 16 years
  • has a disability
  • speaks a language other than English and is unable to understand the Check In Qld app.

A person is not required to give their contact information, proof of vaccination or evidence of medical contraindication if they are:

  • under the age of 16 years
  • in primary or secondary school and is part of a group attending an activity organised by a school, sporting team or community group
  • exercising law enforcement
  • at risk of safety.

Restrictions for unvaccinated people

From 17 December 2021, unvaccinated people are not permitted to:

  • visit vulnerable settings, including hospitals, residential aged care, disability accommodation services, and prisons. This does not apply to residents and patients of these facilities, and there will be some exceptions for medical treatment, end-of-life visits, childbirth and emergency situations
  • attend hospitality venues such as hotels, pubs, clubs, taverns, bars, restaurants or cafes
  • attend indoor entertainment venues such as nightclubs, live music venues, karaoke bars, concerts, theatres or cinemas
  • attend outdoor entertainment activities such as sporting stadiums, theme parks or tourism experience like reef excursions
  • attend festivals – either indoor or outdoor – such as musical festivals, folk festivals or arts festivals
  • attend Queensland Government owned galleries, museums or libraries.

If anyone attending a wedding is unvaccinated, it is restricted to a maximum of 20 people.

Funerals will not be limited to only vaccinated people. This is because funeral sometimes occur at short notice and often under difficult circumstances making it hard to ensure all attendees are vaccinated. However, funerals will still be required to comply with occupant density limits and caps on attendees to minimise the risk of transmission.

These restrictions target non-essential leisure activities which are not essential for people to meet their basic needs, but present a considerable risk to contributing to an outbreak in our community when our borders reopen.

Visitor restrictions to paediatric healthcare settings

There will be visitor restrictions for unvaccinated people in vulnerable facilities including hospitals and healthcare facilities.

These restrictions will not apply to:

  • patients
  • vaccinated parents, carers or guardians
  • families accessing emergency or end of life care for a child or young person.

No child or young person or their parent, carer or guardian will be denied access to care or treatment based on their vaccination status.

We recognise that children and young people generally present to hospital and other healthcare services with a parent, carer or guardian and will ensure that family support is continued in a COVID-safe way.

There will be some restrictions for unvaccinated parents, carers and guardians accompanying a child or young person to healthcare facilities. These include:

  • Only one unvaccinated parent, carer or guardian can accompany a child or young person to an appointment or admission.
  • An accompanying unvaccinated parent, carer or guardian must wear a single-use surgical face mask and will be required to limit their movements to areas where they can safely physically distance from others.
  • The unvaccinated accompanying parent, carer or guardian must have a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of entering the hospital for all admissions.

There may be situations that require special consideration which will be worked through on a case-by-case basis as required. This includes an exemption request for a second parent, carer or guardian to attend an appointment or admission.

There are no restrictions for unvaccinated siblings and other visitors under 16 years of age.

The safety of patients, families and staff is a priority, and ongoing infection control measures will ensure safe, timely and consistent access to healthcare for children and young people throughout the next stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Essential services and activities

Both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be able to access essential services and activities.

This means unvaccinated people will still be able to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, post offices, news agents and clothing stores, and participate in activities like going to the gym for exercise.

Capacity restrictions may still be in place at these types of businesses.

People will still need to check-in to venues. This is important to support contact tracing if there is a case at a venue. Vaccinated people can still carry the virus, although the risk is reduced.

Fully vaccinated

Fully vaccinated means a person has had the required two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine by 16 December 2021. It does not include a booster shot or a two-week wait after the second dose.

If you are already required to be vaccinated by an earlier date under another public health direction or the Health Employment Directive, you must be vaccinated by the earlier date.

Proof of vaccination

Proof of vaccination verifies that a person is fully vaccinated. Before entering a business establishment or venue, there are several ways you can show your proof of vaccination (may be printed or electronic):

  • your vaccination information displayed on the Check in Qld app. Find out how to add your proof of vaccination status to the Check in Qld app
  • written confirmation of COVID-19 vaccination provided to you as part of the vaccination process, such as your record of vaccine card
  • a COVID-19 digital certificate or printed vaccination certificate from the Australian Immunisation Register
  • an online or printed immunisation history statement for COVID-19 vaccination, including confirmation of a medical contraindication. Your COVID-19 vaccination certificate can be viewed or printed through:
  • an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate:
    • in a printed or electronic form from the Department of Home Affairs that confirms completion of an Australia Travel Declaration and vaccination against COVID-19 overseas; or
    • through Medicare online account through MyGov or the Medicare mobile app; or
    • an official record of vaccination provided to the person when vaccinated against COVID-19 overseas.

If you are unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of a medical contraindication or participation in a COVID-19 vaccination trial, you must provide evidence. If you present a valid medical contraindication or evidence of participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial you will be treated as if you are fully vaccinated for entry and density requirements.

You do not need to present proof of vaccination (or evidence of a medical contraindication) if any of these apply:

  • you are younger than 16 years
  • you are exercising law enforcement, intelligence, or national security functions on behalf of a government agency
  • to undertake a legislated regulatory or compliance function, where delay in carrying out the function would cause a safety risk
  • as part of official union duties in response to an emergent need
  • if it would present a risk to your safety.

Exemption from COVID-19 vaccination

The persons who are exempted from getting a COVID-19 vaccination include those who have medical contraindications or are participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Contraindications

A person who cannot be vaccinated must show an evidence of contraindication. This is a medical certificate stating that a person is exempted from getting a COVID-19 vaccination. This can be downloaded from the Australian Immunisation Register.

A legally qualified medical practitioner is required to complete the medical exemption form and record this on the Australian Immunisation Register.

A person that has evidence of a medical contraindication will be treated as if they are fully vaccinated and may be permitted to enter and remain in business venues with eased restrictions for fully vaccinated people.

COVID-19 vaccine trial

A person who is not vaccinated but participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial must provide a medical certificate or a letter from a medical practitioner certifying that the person is currently taking part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial.

Further information

Questions and answers about upcoming changes to restrictions in Queensland

What does ‘fully vaccinated’ mean?

For the purposes of Queensland’s Public Health Measures linked to vaccination status – a plan for 80% and beyond, a person is considered fully vaccinated when they have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine recognised by the Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA).

How will these mandates be given effect?

A Chief Health Officer public health direction will come into effect from 5am AEST Friday 17 December 2021.

Who do these restrictions apply to?

They apply to everyone in Queensland—residents and visitors—16 years of age and older, who is not fully vaccinated.

There will be a very small cohort of people who have genuine medical reasons for not being vaccinated.

Why is this necessary?

These measures are about keeping Queenslanders safe.

As we’ve done all the way through the pandemic, we’re taking a cautious and measured approach.

We’ve been saying for months now that there will be consequences for choosing not to be vaccinated – beyond the risk of serious illness and death if you contract COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated is not just about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting those around you.

There has been ample opportunity to be vaccinated. We understand that everyone needs to make their own decision, but the vaccine is safe, effective and free—and it’s easy and convenient to access in Queensland.

What services and activities are going to be restricted for unvaccinated people, and why?

These restrictions target non-essential leisure activities, including attending:

  • hospitality venues such as hotels, pubs, clubs, taverns, bars, restaurants or cafes
  • indoor entertainment venues such as nightclubs, live music venues, karaoke bars, concerts, theatres or cinemas
  • outdoor entertainment activities such as sporting stadiums, theme parks or tourism experience like reef excursions
  • festivals – either indoor or outdoor – such as musical festivals, folk festivals or arts festivals
  • Queensland Government owned galleries, museums or libraries.

These activities are not essential for people to meet their basic needs, but present a considerable risk to contributing to an outbreak in our community as our borders reopen.

Unvaccinated people also won’t be able to visit vulnerable settings, including hospitals, residential aged care, disability care accommodation, and prisons. There will be some exceptions for medical treatment, end-of-life visits, childbirth and emergency situations.

Will unvaccinated people still be able to access essential services?

Yes. Unvaccinated people will be able to access essential services and activities.

This includes going to grocery stores, pharmacies, post offices, newsagents and clothing stores, and being able to participate in activities like going to the gym for exercise.

Capacity restrictions may still be in place at these types of businesses.

Are you penalising unvaccinated people?

No. This isn’t about penalising unvaccinated people.

This is the best way to make sure we can open our borders, not overwhelm our hospital system, and not penalise vaccinated people for the choices of others to remain unvaccinated – all at the same time.

We do need to acknowledge that Queenslanders have had every opportunity to be vaccinated by now.

What we’re doing here is by no means unique to Queensland. Other states also have restrictions on what unvaccinated people can and can't do.

When will the restrictions for unvaccinated people start?

The restrictions started at 5am AEST Friday 17 December 2021.

Make vaccination your priority today. You can walk into any of our clinics and get vaccinated.

How have you chosen the venues and activities that will be restricted to unvaccinated people?

They’re all venues or activities where there is a higher risk of transmission, where there are people at higher risk if they contract COVID-19, or settings where contact tracing can be difficult.

Do I need to show my vaccination status when entering a business?

Yes. The owner or staff of a non-essential business (i.e. one to which restrictions for unvaccinated persons applies) may ask to see your vaccination status. The onus will be on the person entering to show proof of their vaccination status.

We ask that everyone respects the staff at businesses. If they ask to verify your vaccination status, they are only doing their job and taking reasonable steps to enforce the restrictions.

For more information see:

Do these restrictions apply to both staff and patrons?

Yes. Both staff and patrons must be fully vaccinated to work in or visit any of the venues where restrictions will be in place.

Will I still need to check-in at venues?

Yes, you will still need to use the Check-In Qld app at these venues.

It is important for our Public Health officials to still be able to make contact with people who may have been at an exposure site, and the Check-In Qld app is the quickest and easiest way to do this.

What can I use to show proof that I’m vaccinated?

The easiest way to do this is to use the Check In Qld app, by linking your COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate to the app. Make sure you upgrade to the latest version of the app.

Alternatively, you can access your COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate through the Medicare app, from your Medicare-linked MyGov account, or My Health Record.

You can also use a printed copy of your COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate, your immunisation history statement, or your international COVID-19 vaccination certificate.

For more information see How to get proof of COVID-19 vaccination. If you need help accessing these documents, you can contact your vaccination provider or the Australian Immunisation Register.

Does it count if I’ve only had one dose of vaccine?

No. You must have had two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine.

Can I be vaccinated with any vaccine internationally?

You must have received two doses of a vaccine that is recognised by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). These vaccines have been rigorously assessed for safety, quality and effectiveness.

Vaccines recognised by the TGA, including international vaccines not registered in Australia, are listed on the TGA website.

What if I can’t get a vaccination for medical reasons? Can I still attend some of these restricted venues and activities?

There are a very small number of people who have genuine medical reasons for not being vaccinated.

A person who has evidence of a medical contraindication is treated as being fully vaccinated.

You will need to be able to show proof of your medical contraindication.

Can I take my unvaccinated children to a restaurant or a stadium?

We encourage every person 12 years of age or older to get the vaccine.

If your child is less than 16 years of age, yes. These restrictions only apply to those aged 16 and over.

Will things change if there is an outbreak?

We expect some localised restrictions may still be required if there’s an outbreak.

But vaccination coverage in the area will be a big factor in what restrictions need to be imposed in the event of an outbreak.

Further lockdowns and restrictions are not the future we want for Queensland—so the message remains clear, get vaccinated now.

What happens after 90% vaccination / when will life be entirely back to pre-pandemic times?

Vaccination is our pathway out of this pandemic. Once very high vaccination rates are achieved, it’s expected that minimal restrictions will be required.

COVID-19 will become endemic – that means having settled to a relatively constant rate of occurrence. With all infectious diseases that are endemic, like the flu, there may be a need for localised public health measures, so it doesn’t evolve into a pandemic again.

What if I’m unvaccinated?

What if I am not vaccinated because I am participating in a COVID-19 vaccine trial?

A person who has evidence of participation in a current COVID-19 vaccine trial is treated as being fully vaccinated.

You will need to be able to provide a medical certificate or letter from a medical practitioner as proof of your participation in the trial.

Can I visit healthcare, aged care, and disability care accommodation facilities if I am unvaccinated?

Unvaccinated people are unable to visit vulnerable settings, except for limited reasons. These settings include:

  • Hospitals
  • Residential aged care
  • Disability accommodation services

This does not apply to residents and patients of these facilities, and there will be some exceptions for medical treatment, end-of-life visits, childbirth and emergency situations.

The limited reasons that unvaccinated people can visit these settings include:

  • For an end of life visit
  • to be a support person during childbirth
  • As parent, guardian, carer or support person who provides care or support, including advocacy services, to a resident or patient of these facilities
  • In an emergency

All unvaccinated people who are permitted to enter vulnerable settings must follow the risk mitigation measures put in place by the facility. For example, this may require wearing a face mask, safely physically distancing from others or having a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of entering the facility.

Fully vaccinated people can visit vulnerable facilities for any reason – provided they meet requirements (e.g. They have not been to an interstate exposure venue or interstate area of concern in the last 14 days, are not a close or secondary contact, they don’t have COVID-19 symptoms, etc).

What if I’m not vaccinated – can I use a negative test instead?

No. These measures are about people being vaccinated, to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

If I am unvaccinated, can I still get groceries?

Yes. Unvaccinated people will still be able to access essential services such as grocery stores.

If I am unvaccinated, can I still go to a food court?

Yes. Unvaccinated people can go to a food court.

If I am unvaccinated, can I still go to a shopping centre?

Yes. People who are unvaccinated can go into a shopping centre. However, if there’s a restricted venue inside the shopping centre, such as a cafe and cinema, it is still restricted to fully vaccinated people only.

If I’m unvaccinated, can I go into a bottle shop?

Yes. Bottle shops are considered retail, rather than a hospitality venue.

If I’m unvaccinated, can I attend a Christmas Carols or New Year’s fireworks events?

Yes. Unticketed, outdoor, community events (e.g. movie in the park, carols in the park, new year fireworks on the beach) are not in scope for the rules around events and entertainment.

If I’m unvaccinated, can I attend a farmer’s market?

Yes, you can attend farmers, craft, Christmas and other community based markets.

If I am unvaccinated, can I go to a fast food (quick service) restaurant?

Yes. Unvaccinated people can enter, and order take away. Unvaccinated people can also use drive-through. Only fully vaccinated people can dine-in.

If I am unvaccinated, can I stay at a hotel for accommodation purposes?

Yes. Unvaccinated people can stay in hotels for accommodation purposes, for work or leisure.

However, if there is a pub, restaurant or nightclub within the hotel, only fully vaccinated people can go into those parts of the hotel.

If I am unvaccinated, can I go into a local government facility such as a library or community hall?

City Council libraries have no access restrictions, however vaccination requirements apply to:

  • Government owned galleries and museums (including local government)
  • Queensland Government owned libraries.

Private hire of venues, if occurring with unvaccinated people, can have a maximum of 20 people or 1 person per 4 square metres, whichever is lesser.

If I am unvaccinated, can I go into a restaurant attached to a sporting club?

No. If a club has both sporting facilities and restaurant/bar facilities, unvaccinated people can only access the sporting or exercise facilities. For example, if an unvaccinated person attends a golf club, they can play a round of golf, but not enter the clubhouse for a meal.

Clubs and other venues can also self-impose rules. For example, a golf club may also choose to deny an unvaccinated person admission to play golf.

If I’m vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask?

Currently, mask wearing rules are not tied to vaccination status.

You’ll need to follow the mask wearing rules as they are relevant to your local area at any given time.

Everyone is encouraged to wear a mask in crowded spaces or where physical distancing is not possible.

Visitor restrictions to paediatric healthcare settings

What happens if a child has been admitted and a vaccinated parent, carer or guardian staying with them has to swap with an unvaccinated parent, carer or guardian?

The unvaccinated parent, carer or guardian will be able to enter the hospital if they wear a single-use surgical face mask at all times, limit their movements to areas where they can safely physically distance from others, and undergo a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of entering the hospital. A COVID-19 test will be required each time an unvaccinated parent, carer or guardian swaps with a vaccinated parent, carer or guardian.

Can unvaccinated siblings attend their brother or sister’s appointment or visit them in hospital with an accompanying parent, carer or guardian?

Yes, if they are under 16 years of age.

The visitor restrictions do not apply to children under 16 years of age.

Can an unvaccinated parent, carer or guardian use communal areas of a hospital or facility such as a family lounge, kitchen or cafeteria?

No. Unvaccinated parents, carers or guardians must limit their movements and avoid situations where they cannot maintain a safe physical distance from other patients.

Can an unvaccinated parent, carer or guardian attend a group therapy program or participate in group activities with their child or young person?

No. Unvaccinated parents, carers or guardians must limit their movements and avoid situations where they cannot maintain a safe physical distance from other patients, visitors or staff.

Can an unvaccinated parent, carer or guardian participate in family therapy sessions?

Yes. Unvaccinated parents, carers and guardians from the same household can participate in family therapy sessions as therapy sessions are treatment and therefore excluded from the visitor restrictions.

Questions about business and industry

Can unvaccinated service providers or contractors go into a restricted business?

Unvaccinated service providers, that provide a contactless service, can do so for a restricted business. For example, an unvaccinated delivery driver  pick up food from a restaurant if this can be undertaken contactlessly.

Similarly, workers who visit a restricted business as an incidental part of their business, do not need to be vaccinated.  For example, a supermarket delivery driver who delivers groceries to a restricted business.

Service providers must be fully vaccinated if they need to conduct work inside a restricted business premises. For example, a security guard must be fully vaccinated to work at a pub or nightclub. Service providers contracted to routine services for a restricted business, such as cleaning, waste management and scheduled maintenance, must also be fully vaccinated.

There are exceptions for emergency maintenance work. For example, an unvaccinated plumber could enter a restricted business to fix a burst pipe.

It is the responsibility of the contracted service provider to ensure they meet the vaccination entry requirements.

I am the owner of a non-essential business (i.e. one to which restrictions for unvaccinated persons applies). How can I enforce these restrictions?

You need to take reasonable steps to enforce these restrictions.

This means:

  • display the vaccination rules at your business premises
  • ask for evidence of vaccination from your customers at the time of check-in
  • if a customer cannot or refuses to provide evidence, ask the person to leave the premises
  • if the person refuses to the leave the premises, call the police.

The onus will be on the person entering to show proof of their vaccination status.

We don’t expect business owners or staff to be the police. If there are customers refusing to comply, call the police.

Penalties for people refusing to comply are $1378.50 for an individual.

Do staff under the age of 16 need to be vaccinated to work in non-essential leisure businesses?

No, the restrictions do not apply to people aged under 16. However, vaccination is strongly encouraged to ensure the person is protecting themselves, their colleagues and their customers.

Can the owner of an essential business decide not to permit entry to unvaccinated patrons or staff?

Essential businesses can self-impose rules for patrons and can decide to refuse entry to unvaccinated patrons.

In relation to staff, business owners are encouraged to seek their own legal advice.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released detailed advice for employers about mandating vaccination of workers. This information can be found at Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

Will support be provided to businesses to introduce extra security and safety measures to protect staff from abusive customers?

The Queensland Government will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure workers are protected and will provide support where needed.

There are a range of resources available on the Business Queensland website.

Aggressive and abusive behaviour of business owners or staff will not be tolerated. Contact the Queensland Police Service if you, your staff or your business is threatened.

Can non-essential leisure businesses opt to continue with density restrictions and stay open for unvaccinated staff and customers?

No.

Non-essential leisure businesses need to take reasonable steps to follow the public health measures as the activity of these businesses presents a higher risk of contributing to an outbreak in our community.

If a business chooses not to follow the public health measures penalties may apply.

Fair Work states that employers cannot ask/force employees to vaccinate. What remedial action can employers take if employees refuse to vaccinate?

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released detailed advice for employers about mandating vaccination of workers. This information can be found at Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

Business owners are encouraged to seek their own legal advice.

How are catered events affected by the new vaccination requirements?

Private events that only permit vaccinated people can go ahead with no restrictions.

Private events, if occurring with unvaccinated people, can have a maximum of 20 people or 1 person per 4 square metres, whichever is lesser.

Who is to take responsibility for unvaccinated guests at an offsite event? For example, the event organiser, bride, caterer?

If anyone attending a wedding is unvaccinated, it is restricted to a maximum of 20 people.

The owner of the venue will need to take reasonable steps to enforce these restrictions.

Will business be shut down if they are exposure sites? Will close contacts still have to quarantine for 14 days?

When a contact tracing alert is issued, a venue may have to close for cleaning, and some staff may need to quarantine, but once that cleaning is complete they are able to re-open. A Public Health Unit will undertake a risk assessment to determine what level of local response is required.

If a business is open and trading it is safe to visit.

Is it compulsory to be vaccinated in Queensland if I want to work as a chef?

The new public health measures apply to both staff and patrons at any of the venues where restrictions will be in place.

If you work as a chef in a non-essential leisure business such as a hotel, pub, club, tavern, bar, restaurant or café, or indoor or outdoor entertainment venue or a Queensland Government owned gallery or museum you must be vaccinated.

Chefs who work in hospitals, residential aged care, disability care accommodation, and prisons must also be vaccinated.

Do the new measures apply to resorts and hotels?

Unvaccinated people can stay in hotels or resorts for accommodation purposes.

However, if there is a pub, restaurant or nightclub within the hotel or resort, only fully vaccinated people can go into these areas.

Will gyms (and yoga studios) be required to ensure members are vaccinated?

Gyms and fitness services can continue to provide services to customers who are unvaccinated.

However, these businesses are strongly encouraged to continue to ensure patrons have checked in using the Check In App, adhere to density restrictions and maintain high personal hygiene standards to protect both staff and patrons.

What is the vaccination requirement and occupation density requirement for churches and places of worship (excluding weddings and funerals)?

Churches and places of worship, for example a church service using a private venue for hire, may allow unvaccinated attendees so long as the venue is being used exclusively for the service, and no other member of the public is in attendance.

Indoor spaces density limit – no more than 1 person per 2 square meters for areas open to or used by visitors, or 100 per cent of seated venue capacity with ticketed and allocated seating.

Outdoors – the occupant density limit does not apply.

Questions about contact information requirements and Check In Qld App

What is the Check In Qld app?

The Check In Qld app is a contactless, free, secure and convenient way for customers to sign into Queensland businesses. The app helps protect the community by assisting with faster contact tracing. Find out more about the Check In Qld app.

Why is the Check In Qld app important?

The use of the Check In Qld app is being expanded to help Queenslanders and Queensland businesses stay COVID Safe. In the event of a community outbreak, the app allows contact tracers to rapidly identify close contacts, track and trace faster, and minimise any further risk to the community and impact on business.

It will make it easier for businesses to meet the requirements for the collection of customer contact details and is easy for customers to use. The check-in automatically captures a person’s contact details, and the date, time and location.

When do businesses need to collect contact details?

Businesses must make all reasonable efforts to collect contact information, proof of vaccination or evidence of vaccination exemption using the Check In Qld App from all patrons and staff who enter the premises Businesses do not need to request information from:

  • a person entering in an emergency to provide emergency services
  • a child under the age of 16 years who is not accompanied by a responsible adult
  • in primary or secondary school
  • is part of a group attending an activity organised by a school
  • sporting team or community group

Contact information does not need to be collected if it presents a risk to someone’s safety, for example, a risk of violence to staff or other patrons.

Can I give the entry requirements on behalf of another person?

Yes. You may give the contact information, proof of vaccination or evidence of vaccination exemption on behalf of your family members and friends under these conditions:

  • they are under the age of 16 years
  • they have a disability
  • due to language barrier
  • a written confirmation of COVID-19 vaccination given to the person, such as a record of vaccine card
  • vaccination information displayed on the Check in Qld app
  • a COVID-19 digital certificate or printed vaccination certificate from the Australian Immunisation Register
  • an online or printed immunisation history statement for COVID-19, including confirmation of a medical contraindication
  • an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate.

What does a proof of vaccination or evidence of medical contraindication include?

Both proof of vaccination and evidence of medical contraindication can be either printed or electronic. It includes:

  • a written confirmation of COVID-19 vaccination given to the person, such as a record of vaccine card
  • vaccination information displayed on the Check in Qld app
  • a COVID-19 digital certificate or printed vaccination certificate from the Australian Immunisation Register
  • an online or printed immunisation history statement for COVID-19, including confirmation of a medical contraindication
  • an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate.

What businesses must use the Check In Qld app?

#what-businesses-must-use-the-app

All essential and non-essential businesses are required to collect contact information of any person entering by using the Check In Qld app .

All businesses are outlined in this Direction and include (but are not limited to):

  • restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets
  • shopping centres and retail stores supplying goods and services to the public, such as supermarkets, pharmacies, bank branches, hardware stores, petrol stations and newsagents
  • hospitality businesses providing takeaway options
  • venues that attract large crowds – such as stadiums, convention centres, casinos, theme parks, concert venues and cinemas
  • beauty and personal care services – such as hairdressing, beauty therapy and nail services
  • indoor events – such as cultural festival and expos
  • outdoor events with dancing – such as music or dance festivals
  • leisure and recreation facilities – such as gyms, health clubs, indoor sports facilities and indoor pools
  • short-term residential facilities – such as hotels, boarding houses and short-term holiday rentals
  • outdoor recreation – such as caravan parks, camping areas, zoos and aquariums
  • galleries, museums, libraries and community centres (for example recreation halls)
  • public-facing government services – such as customer service counters providing licensing and registration services for members of the public (excluding public transport, police stations, watch houses, courthouses, correctional facilities and detention centres)
  • indoor weddings, funerals and places of worship
  • higher education institutions – such as universities, TAFEs and registered training organisations
  • adult entertainment venues
  • Queensland taxis, rideshares and limousine services

What is a retail store?

#retail-store

Retail stores must collect contact information using the Check In Qld app.

A retail store is any business that members of the public can purchase or access retail goods and services. This does not include goods or services that are supplied via a drive through or at someone’s place of residence.

Examples of retail stores include, but are not limited to:

  • retail shopping centres
  • department stores
  • pharmacies
  • supermarkets
  • grocers
  • petrol station
  • bakeries
  • butcher's shops
  • fishmongers
  • bottle shops
  • convenience stores
  • delicatessens
  • bank branches (but not ATMs)
  • post offices
  • customer service branches of insurers
  • hardware stores
  • furniture stores
  • electrical stores
  • recreational goods stores
  • clothing and footwear stores
  • newsagents
  • a part of a place engaged in agriculture or industry which sells to the public the produce or products of the business, and indoor and outdoor food
  • craft or other markets.

If a retail store is located within a shopping centre, customers must check in using the Check In Qld app when they enter the shopping centre and at the time they enter each business in the centre.

What if a customer cannot use the Check In Qld app or does not have a smartphone? / What if a customer has trouble checking in?

If your customer is having trouble with the QR code, ask them to enter the 6-digit number on your QR code poster.

If patrons do not have access to or cannot use the Check In Qld app, businesses can enter customer contact details via the business profile mode of the Check In Qld app to check them in.

For Queensland taxis, rideshares, limousine services, water taxi or ferry if a customer cannot use the check in app and the driver is unable to use the business profile mode, then the customer can call the booking entity/service or use their app to provide their contact details.

What if customers don't want to use the Check In Qld app?

It is the customer’s responsibility to ensure they have checked in at different locations.

Businesses that are mandated to use the Check in Qld app under the Direction must register their business for the app and ensure the code is easily available for customers to check in.

Queensland taxis, rideshares, limousine services, water taxi or ferry should ensure all passengers have checked in before they ride.

If businesses are able, they can have staff available to encourage and assist people to check in on the app when they arrive at their business.

What if I can't collect contact details using the Check In Qld app due to an internet outage or other unexpected circumstances?

If you can’t collect contact information, proof of vaccination or evidence of vaccination exemption using the Check In Qld app due to unexpected issues with your internet service, because your business is located in a place that does not have mobile internet data connection, or because a patron is unable to use the electronic system you must collect this information using another method such as a paper-based form.

For each visitor, this information must include:

  • name
  • phone number
  • email address (residential address if unavailable)
  • date and time period of the visit.

You must also use best endeavours to transfer this information to an electronic system within 24 hours and comply with the requirements for collection and storage. If asked, this information must be provided to a public health officer within the stated time.

I already have an electronic system in place to collect records. Do I have to change my system?

Yes. You must always use the Check In Qld app if you operate a business, activity or undertaking.

Where do I need to put the QR code poster?

Your customers and staff are required to check in when they enter your business or car. You should do what is practical for your business to help them meet this requirement. You may wish to place QR codes at a number of different locations in your business to remind people to check in. This could include the front entrance, rear entrance or for vehicles, on the windscreen or side windows.

My business has multiple locations – do I need to set up multiple codes?

Each Check In Qld QR code is assigned to a physical address so each location/venue of a business will require a separate registration and QR code. Each physical address/location must also have a unique descriptor as duplicate display names cannot be processed. For example:

  • The Burger Place – City
  • The Burger Place – West End.

I am the owner of a non-essential business (i.e. one to which restrictions for unvaccinated persons applies). How can I enforce these restrictions?

This can be done at another location where there might be an interaction between the customer and staff member, however business owners should also consider practicality for the customer (as they still have to use the check in app when they enter) and ability to receive confirmation of vaccination status during their time on the premises.

My business is a very large venue – do I need to set up multiple codes?

A business may have multiple codes. This may be useful if your business is very large such as a stadium, shopping centre or a business where customers only go to certain areas, not the whole venue. For example. a stadium may choose to have a code for the north section, one for the south section, one for the east section and one for west section, as they have many patrons and this would help to break down who was possibly in contact with a COVID case.

How can I tell if a customer has checked in?

Your customer should display the successful check in screen, proof of vaccination or vaccination exemption certificate to you on entry to your venue or before riding in your car.

You must make all reasonable efforts to check your guests’ or patrons’ entry requirements, such as their proof of vaccination or vaccination exemption certificate prior to serving or assisting them.

How can I collect information as an adult entertainment business operator?

Where the use of the Check In Qld app would result in safety or liability issues, you must still collect contact information using other means; and must comply with the collection and storage of information requirements.

You must provide the information collected to a public health officer if requested.

I run my business from home. Am I required to have customers check in?

Mobile businesses are not be required to use the Check in App, unless they are specifically listed in the Direction as restricted (for example, a mobile hairdresser). The registration form for the Check in Qld app has an option for restricted mobile businesses.

Do my staff have to check in everyday on the app?

Yes, your staff should check in everyday through the Check in Qld app. This will help ensure that they are included and quickly contacted if any contact tracing takes place.

Queensland taxi, rideshare, limousine services, water taxi or ferry must also check in before each shift.

What happens if I don’t have a smartphone or can’t provide my information electronically?

Tell the venue staff immediately if you do not have access to the Check In Qld app. They can record your details using the business profile of the Check In Qld app.

Why do I have to provide my details?

You must provide your current contact details to the venue you are visiting so public health officials can contact you in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in Queensland. If you provide false or misleading information, officials will not be able to contact you and the health of all Queenslanders will be at risk.

Do schools and childcare centres need to use the check in app?

No, schools, kindergartens, childcare centres, after school care etc do not have to use the Check In Qld App as they are not restricted businesses. All education centres for children should have clear visibility of who is attending through student information and visitor logs.

However, schools should use the Check In Qld App for events like fetes and graduations as these are outside of the business-as-usual activities.

Do I need to check in unaccompanied minors during a school excursion or birthday party?

No, but all adults chaperoning/escorting the children must check-in at the venue. Children are not required to be individually checked-in as the organiser, e.g. school, scout troop, club sport team, will maintain details of the children who are attending.

How can I add my vaccination certificate to the Check In QLD app?

See how to add your proof of vaccination status. You will also find instructions on how you can add your vaccination certificate in the Check In Qld app itself.

Can I enter a business establishment if I don’t have an evidence of medical exemption?

No. Under this Direction all staff, patrons and guests who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons or because they are participating in the COVID-19 trial research must give a vaccination exemption certificate upon entering a business establishment.

Penalties apply to persons who do not comply with this Direction.

Do staff have to check in again after having a break?

Staff do not have to check in using the Check In Qld app when they go on break if they don’t leave the work premises. If staff do go offsite they will be required to check in again when they return.

Do I need to check into government buildings?

You only need to check into public-facing government services – such as customer service counters that provide licensing and registration services for example. This excludes public transport, police stations, watch houses, courthouses, correctional facilities and detention centres.

If you are entering a government building that does not service members of the public, for example administration or office buildings, then you do not need to check in. However, if a QR code has been made available when entering the building, we strongly encourage you to check yourself in to assist our contact tracers in the event of an outbreak.

I drive a taxi, rideshare, limousine services, water taxi or ferry, what do I need to do?

Queensland taxis, rideshares, limousine services, water taxi or ferry operators must be registered and use the Check In Qld app.

Each vehicle must be registered with an individual QR code, drivers must check in before each shift and make reasonable efforts to ensure all passengers are checked in before entering the vehicle.

I am registered with multiple rideshare organisations, do I need multiple QR codes?

No. If you are registered with multiple rideshare organisations, you only need one QR code per vehicle.

Questions about density

How many people (occupant density) can be in a venue at any one time?

There are no occupant density limits on venues that are only permitted to allow fully vaccinated persons. But if an unvaccinated person is attending an event that is in a private hire venue, the event is limited to the lesser of 20 persons or 1 person per 4 square meters.

COVID-19 density restrictions may still apply to:

  • Places of worship
  • Community facilities such as community centres and halls, recreation centres, youth centres, community clubs, RSLs, PCYCs
  • Businesses such as supermarkets, pharmacies, retail shopping centres or banks
  • Government services such as licensing and registration services, Queensland Courts
  • Taxis, rideshares or limousine service
  • Auction houses, real estate auctions and open-house inspections
  • Beauty and personal care services – such as hairdressing, beauty therapy and nail services
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Gyms and physical fitness centres
  • Markets
  • Dine-in canteens in military bases, schools, university dormitories, mining base
  • Day spas and wellness centres.

What are the occupant density rules for caravan and camping parks?

Caravan and camping parks have no occupant density rules. Guests should continue to practice physical distancing by staying 1.5 metres away from others. Remember, if you have any COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, get tested, stay home and isolate until you get the results and your symptoms resolve and don’t go camping.

How many people can I have at a wedding ceremony?

There are no density limits to wedding ceremonies where all attendees are fully vaccinated.

If there is a person, including the wedding party and officials, who is unvaccinated, a maximum of only 20 people can attend.

Do density rules apply to camping parks?

There are no occupant density requirements for camping parks. Groups should continue to practise social distancing where possible.

Do density rules apply to vehicle and vessel operators?

No COVID-19 density limits apply to ferry services operating as transport providers. They must only comply with the requirements relating to essential transport services.

Questions about enforcement

Are there penalties if I don’t comply?

Yes. A person who does not comply will be given a court-imposed penalty of up to $13,785 or 6 months' imprisonment.

Questions about accommodation

Will accommodation businesses (hotels, motels etc) be included in the new measures?

No, accommodation will not be under the new guidelines as it is deemed essential. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated can book and stay at accommodation. However, only fully vaccinated persons will be permitted to enter and remain in the restricted areas of an accommodation venue, for example a café or restaurant.

If I have a staff member who is not vaccinated as they are pregnant, are they still able to work?

If an unvaccinated person is working in your venue which is not required to meet the vaccination requirements outlined in the Public Health and Social measures plan, they can continue to work there.

However, if the unvaccinated staff member works in any venue listed in the plan, they will not be able to work at that venue. There are no exceptions except for those with a medical contraindication, who will be considered fully vaccinated and will need to provide a certificate from the Australian Immunisation Register.

I have a dual-purpose establishment (hotel and restaurant). Can I accept unvaccinated guests for motel bookings, though not in the restaurant?

Yes, Unvaccinated people can stay in hotels for accommodation purposes, for work or leisure.

However, if there is a pub, restaurant or nightclub within the hotel, only fully vaccinated people can go into those parts of the hotel.

How do I police this?

You would need to ensure that patrons check into both premises. If they are unvaccinated they should not be allowed in the restaurant, unless the restaurant is being used for a private function and observing the density limits.

Questions about checking vaccination status

How are we expected to police patrons?

You need to make reasonable efforts to request to sight and record COVID-19 vaccination details of staff through proof of vaccination documentation. Patrons will be obliged to provide information to the operator of the business that they meet the entry requirements, for example using the Check in Qld App.

Business owners or staff are not expected to be the police. If there are customers refusing to comply, you can refuse their entry. If necessary, call the police. Penalties for people refusing to comply are $1378 for an individual.

This means:

  • display the vaccination rules at your business premises
  • ask for evidence of vaccination from your customers at the time of check-in
  • if a customer cannot or refuses to provide evidence, ask the person to leave the premises
  • if the person refuses to the leave the premises, call the police.

Would there be another way to collect personal information from guests if my staff are uncomfortable to do so?

The Check in Qld app is the easiest way for patrons to show their vaccination status to your staff. Businesses are not being asked to collect information from guests, but to check they met the entry requirements of your establishment. It is important for our Public Health officials to still be able to make contact with people who may have been at an exposure site, and the Check-In Qld app is the quickest and easiest way to do this.

We have a lot of junior staff. How do I keep them safe from confrontations/angry customers?

The onus will be on the person entering to show proof of their vaccination status. If there are customers refusing to comply, call the police. Penalties for people refusing to comply are $1378.50 for an individual.

Who is responsible for checking the vaccination status – the event organiser or the venue?

This would be the responsibility of whomever oversees the front of house where patrons enter the venue.

What if someone doesn’t have a phone? How do we sign them in (on a tablet) without a link to their vaccination status?

Businesses can enter customer contact details via the business profile mode of the Check In Qld app to check them in. Patrons will still need to show a copy of their COVID-19 digital vaccination certificate, immunisation history statement, or international COVID-19 vaccination certificate.

Do we need to take a photo of their vaccination certificate if they bring a hard copy for record keeping?

No, you just need to sight it, as in visually confirm they have it.

Is the vaccine passport going to show if a person is from interstate? Is it automatically linked to all check in apps, or does the person need to link it or download the Qld app?

All patrons would need to download the Check in Qld app. This is the current practice for when Queenslanders travel to other states/territories and residents of other states/territories travel to Queensland.

Can I still serve takeaway, if so, how do they collect their order?

Yes. Unvaccinated people can enter to order take away. Unvaccinated people can also use drive-through. Only fully vaccinated people can dine-in.

Questions about COVID-positive case scenario planning

In the event of a positive COVID-19 case being detected (at a hospitality venue), if staff were fully vaccinated, would the venue have to close?

In the event of a COVID-positive case, each venue attended by that person is assessed based on multiple factors, including but not limited to:

  • the infectivity of the case
  • the spatial layout of the venue/business/workplace
  • movements of the case throughout the venue/business/workplace
  • time and nature of the contact of the case with other people at the venue/business/workplace
  • if PPE was worn and the type of PPE worn by the case, staff and patrons.
  • the number and pattern of Covid-19 cases in the surrounding community as well as the demographics of the surrounding community.

The public health unit will work with the venue to determine the safest management plan for the workplace and community.

The venue may be listed as an exposure site and if any contacts of the positive case are identified from the assessment, they may be asked to undertake COVID testing and quarantine; this may include staff members of the venue. Appropriate cleaning of the venue should be completed according to workplace protocols. Further information can be found on the WorkSafe website.

Is there any consideration on redefining close contacts to differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons?

After Queensland borders open to hotspot locations under Queensland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan, we anticipate increasing numbers of COVID positive cases in Queensland. At such time, there may be risk stratification of close contacts based on vaccination status. Additionally, quarantine requirements may be shorter for vaccinated individuals. Any changes to this will be based on the health advice at the time.

Questions about other COVID-related matters

What is the current projected date for Queensland to reach 90%? Will a target be added at some point?

A date for reaching 90% is not yet determined. As we work towards this milestone further information will be provided.

Will there be relaxed restrictions for businesses who allow both vaccinated and non-vaccinated patrons into their premises?

As outlined in the Public Health and Social Measures some venues will need to only allow vaccinated staff and patrons onto their premises. These venues will not be permitted to allow unvaccinated people enter their premises. The Public Health Direction to support these measures will be available closer the mid-December timeline which will provide the detail needed for business to operationalize these requirements.

What will be the vaccination mandates for staff and customers in the tourism industry?

As outlined in the Public Health and Social Measures some venues will need to only allow vaccinated staff and patrons onto their premises. This includes some tourism experiences.  When the relevant public health direction is available it will be published here.

The Queensland Government is asking business owners to take reasonable steps to enforce the restrictions for unvaccinated persons, for example to display the vaccination rules at their business premises and ask for evidence of vaccination from their customers at the time of check-in.

If a customer cannot or refuses to provide evidence of their vaccination, the business owner can ask the person to leave the premises. If the customer refuses to leave the premises, the Queensland Police Service is able to assist businesses and individuals.

People can now link their vaccination certificate to the Check-In Qld app. To support enforcement, there is a penalty of $1378.50 for people who refuse to comply.

What will be the legal implications if a business accepts unvaccinated customers and a positive COVID case emerges?

Businesses should review and consider how they can ensure they are meeting the requirements of the public health directions which are in place to protect them and minimise the impact COVID-19 has on business and the community.

Businesses will need to take reasonable steps to ensure they are only allowing vaccinated staff and patrons on to their premises. When the relevant public health direction is available it will be published under the Chief Health Officer's public health directions.

Will there be a specialist worker exemption request process through the 80% phase?

Yes, where a specialist worker cannot meet the requirements outlined under the border openings for 80% vaccination, then the specialist worker process can still be used.

Can Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing be used in absence of fully vaccinated staff?

No.

Can my back of house hospitality staff that do not come in contact with patrons be unvaccinated?

No, all staff over the age of 16 must be fully vaccinated in a restricted venue, including hospitality venues. This includes staff who work in the venue when it is closed to the public, such as overnight cleaning staff.

Is there a requirement for participants to use the Check in QLD app for outdoor activities? e.g. surfing, horse riding or water sports.

No.

What rules apply to Tourism Information Centres?

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated patrons are permitted. However, any hospitality areas in the information centres would fall under the direction.

Can unvaccinated people use pools that are at their accommodation (e.g. pools at hotels, resorts, motels, holiday apartments)?

An unvaccinated person may use the pool, but not the bar facility attached to the pool.

Questions about Local Government events and venues

What are the restrictions for events at showgrounds?

A showground is considered a multi-purpose venue. The rules that apply are based on the use of the specific area of the showground area at the time. If the activity in question is not specified in the direction, the general requirements for the Showgrounds category will apply.

For example:

  • An outdoor Australia Day event held at the showgrounds would be classified as an outdoor community event, in same way in would be if held at a park.
  • The private hire of a showground venue for a birthday party would be covered under the private hire of a venue for hospitality and entertainment category.
  • Outdoor community sporting events – such as polocrosse, pony club or cricket matches – are not subject to vaccination status restrictions, because outdoor community sport is not within scope of the Direction.
  • The requirements applying to Caravan and camping parks would also apply to camping sites provided at the showgrounds over the holiday period.
  • Workplace

What are the restrictions for galleries and museums?

  • Galleries and museums operated by local governments are subject to vaccination entry restrictions. This means that staff (including volunteers) and visitors are required to be vaccinated.
  • Privately owned/managed galleries and museums provide a broad range of services and activities. Operators should apply the provisions of the category that best describe the primary purpose or activities of the their gallery/museum.
  • For example:
    • a retail art gallery would apply the retail goods and services provisions under Schedule 1C
    • a museum operated by a volunteer historical society might be considered a tourism experience (Schedule 1A) or a community facility (Schedule 1B) depending on the primary activities and services provided.

What about community markets?

Markets are covered in the direction under Other settings. Farmers, artisan, Christmas markets and the like are not restricted activities and open to all people. Contact information must be collected, but no density limits apply.

Why are state and local government libraries subject to different rules?

Local government libraries remain open to everyone because of the range of essential services they provide to their local communities, including access to JPs, books and other activities for children, educational activities and the range of practical support and assistance provided to community members. State government libraries are subject to vaccination entry requirements because they are primarily used as an academic library.

Outdoor swimming pools

Outdoor swimming pools, whether operated by a local government or a private provider, are not subject to vaccination entry requirements. Anyone can purchase takeaway food and drinks at a pool. Density limits would apply to an indoor change room at the pool complex.

Private hire of Council venues

The Community facilities provisions apply to the private hire of local government venues, such as civic reception rooms, where the hire of these venues is a normal operation for that Council. Anyone may attend, and for indoor venues, occupant density limits apply of no more than one person per 2 square metres.

I am becoming an Australian citizen at a ceremony in January. Do I need to be vaccinated?

A local government civic event, such as an awards or Australia Day function or a citizenship ceremony, including those with catering, would be covered under the Community facilities category.  An outdoor event would be covered under the Outdoor community events category.

Do I need to check the vaccination status of government officials entering my business to undertake a regulatory or compliance function?

The Direction provides an exception for an unvaccinated person to enter a regulated venue to respond to an emergency, including to undertake emergency maintenance or repairs. The exception also applies to legislated regulatory or compliance functions if delaying that function would cause a safety risk. In these circumstances, an unvaccinated person must advise the responsible person of their vaccination status as soon as reasonably practical.

If the government official is attending to exercise law enforcement, intelligence, or national security functions, it is also not necessary to check the vaccination status of the individual.

In all other circumstances, business owners must make all reasonable efforts to check a visitor’s vaccination status.