Coronavirus information for food, beauty and accommodation businesses

Environmental Health is here to assist food, beauty and accommodation proprietors with managing their registered business during this challenging time.

The following content includes protection measures to keep you and your workers safe and how you can comply with the Victorian Government’s current restrictions.

The Victorian Government has announced restrictions throughout the state.

If you are unsure if you can still trade, contact Department Health and Human Service Coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398.

The City has a coronavirus support page that is frequently updated with the latest information.

The Environmental Health team has many roles in public health and provides support to the Victorian Government in pandemics, so our normal day-to-day operations may be disrupted.

We are working hard to continue to support businesses, our community and our staff. In these changing times we ask for your patience and understanding.

Food businesses

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Food Safety Unit has updated food safety advice to food businesses in light of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

They will continue to update the information, so keep yourself informed of changes by visiting their Advice for food businesses on Coronavirus disease page.

You can find more information on COVID-19 and food businesses at Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) and World Health Organisation (WHO).

We have compiled a list of useful resources for you to have a look at:

General advice for food businesses

Promote social distancing and implement extra cleaning to assist with reducing the spread of the virus. Our advice includes:

  • Ensure staff have access to hand-washing facilities, liquid soap and paper towel and they are using them frequently and in between customers. 
  • Make sure staff thoroughly wash their hands before putting on fresh gloves, otherwise the outer surface of the glove will be contaminated.
  • Be vigilant on staff hygiene, hand-washing and illness. 
  • Increase cleaning of all surfaces, particularly of frequently touched surfaces such as EFTPOS machines, benchtops, door handles (including to fridges, cool rooms, freezers and microwaves), light switches, phones, POS system keyboards and displays. 
  • Remove chairs and tables (or cordon them off) including those outside where customers are waiting for their take-away, so people don’t congregate too close or sit and eat.
  • In areas where customers line up, such as at registers and deli/butcher counters, consider placing markers on the floor a minimum of 1.5 metres apart, demonstrating where customers should stand while waiting. 
  • Ensure staff maintain social distancing as much as possible, including on breaks. Consider rules like ‘only one person in the coolroom at a time’ to help them.
  • Encourage use of cashless payments where possible.
  • Regularly update your staff on new processes and make sure they are trained - this may include how to clean thoroughly and which chemicals to use, or on how to correctly wash their hands.
  • Make sure staff don’t wear their aprons on breaks, or on the way to work to reduce the risk of contamination.
  • If possible, consider having 2 or more teams of staff who work separate shifts without overlap. This may help reduce the spread of illness among the teams and help with business continuity in case a member of one team member falls ill or requires isolation or quarantine.
  • Any staff doing home delivery should have access to wipes and hand sanitiser so after pressing doorbells or making deliveries, they can sanitise their hands.

Food safety

It is important that food businesses continue to maintain good food handling practices and do not take short-cuts or risks when it comes to food safety. Follow the requirements in your Food Safety Program. DHHS have great information on their website about food safety for businesses, see:

Some questions we’ve been receiving

  • Take-away or home delivery - I don't currently provide this service - can I start now?
    If you are registered as a Class 2 café/restaurant or take-away business (see your Certificate of Registration to confirm) you can start home delivery or take-away services under your current registration. Other businesses should contact us to discuss their plans.

    Refer to food safety information for transporting/delivering food in your Food Safety Program. If you are using the Department of Health and Human Services Food Safety Program for Class 2 retail and food service businesses, no. 1, version 3 this is listed in section 9.

    When transporting or delivering food it is important to:

    • Protect the food from contamination by keeping food sealed in food grade packaging.
    • Ensure vehicles used for deliveries are regularly cleaned.
    • Maintain the food at a temperature that keeps it safe, that is: minimising time in transit or for longer deliveries using eskies and ice for cold deliveries, or thermal insulated bags for hot foods.
    • See DHHS Home Delivery Guidelines for more information
  • What about labelling of foods for take-away or delivery?
    Take-away or delivered foods are generally not required to be labelled (like fish and chips, or pizza).

    However, if you are making meals, and storing them cold or frozen for the customer to reheat later, we recommend you include the following on a label:

    • Use-by date
    • Product name and list of allergens (or a full ingredient list)
    • Storage instructions (that is: store under 5oC)
    • Reheating/ serving instructions (i.e. reheat in microwave for ___ minutes or until piping hot
    • Note: if you are retailing these products offsite, such as at a supermarket then full labelling is required – see our Food Labelling Requirements guide.
  • Cleaning - how does my cleaning change?
    If you think a surface may be contaminated, clean it with a common household disinfectant to kill the virus. Conduct more frequent cleaning or surfaces and touch points (like bench tops, and door handles).

    Increase cleaning frequency for all other areas within the food business. Wash and sanitise all food preparation containers, utensils, chopping boards etc in the dishwasher or as per guidelines in the Food Safety Program.

  • Keep cups - can I accept them at my business?
    It is up to each business as to whether they accept them. This advice may change so keep up to date with the DHHS Food Safety webpage.

  • Food-grade sanitiser - what can I use because my supplier has run out?
    You can make a sanitiser solution using 4 percent household bleach (unscented). Add 2.5 millilitres (half a teaspoon) of bleach to 1 litre of cold water. Use in a spray bottle, or to soak dishes in after hand-washing them (for those that don’t clean and sanitise equipment in a dishwasher). This makes a 100 parts per million dilution. When using a bleach and water sanitiser, you need to make up a fresh solution each day.

  • Paper towel - what can we use for hand-washing because we are running out of our supply?
    Try to restock paper towel as soon as possible – paper towel is the best way to dry hands.

    In the meantime, you would need to get a lot of hand or tea towels. Use a clean tea towel for each time someone washes their hands. That tea towel then needs to go into a basket/ container for dirty tea towels and get laundered through a washing machine on a hot cycle before its used again.

Accommodation businesses

  • Physical distancing and prevention of spread of COVID-19 via contaminated surfaces is important in your business.
  • Provide hand sanitiser and ask that customers use prior to entering reception areas.
  • Routinely clean frequently touched hard surfaces with detergent/disinfectant solution/wipe.
  • At areas where customers are required to line up, such as reception areas, consider placing markers on the floor a minimum of 1.5 metres apart, demonstrating where customers are required to stand while waiting.
  • Upon changeover of rooms/dwelling, thoroughly clean and sanitise following the DHHS cleaning and disinfecting to reduce COVID-19 transmission guidelines.
  • If you or staff have returned from anywhere overseas or have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus, in the last 14 days, you need to self-isolate.
  • You or your staff cannot work if in self-isolation
  • In hotel setting you should provide information and brief all employees and contract staff, including domestic and cleaning staff, on relevant information and procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus to people.
  • Practice good hand hygiene – wash hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds and dry with paper towel
  • Using a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and wash your hands thoroughly after.
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing.

Hairdressers and beauty premises

  • Hand washing before and after clients, with liquid soap in warm water and drying your hand with disposable single use paper towels
  • Recommending clients to wash their hands before the procedure starts
  • Clients and staff must wear a mask unless medically exempt
  • To maintain physical distancing requirements, there must be enough space within the business premises that equates to one person per four square metres
  • Customers must remain 1.5 metres apart
  • Avoid touching your face, especially nose, mouth or eyes
  • Limiting the number of clients in the salon and recommend use every second chair
  • Removing all magazines and newspapers, which could spread the virus and not offering any food to clients including coffee, tea or water
  • Surfaces that come in contact with clients are cleaned with a detergent and dried regularly.
  • Towels should be changed and washed after every client
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing
  • Using a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and wash your hands thoroughly after

Further information

Page last updated: Thursday, 25 November 2021