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Update on COVID-19- The safety of our communities, customers and staff is our top priority. We are continuing to monitor daily developments in response to COVID-19. Find out the latest.

COVID-19 business support

To help businesses during COVID-19, we have established a business support service to provide information on government support, advice and professional services.

Call our Small Business Support Hotline on 02 4988 0255 or email ed@portstephens.nsw.gov.au and our team will connect you with the advice and support you need.


New restrictions — June 2021

With the growing risk of COVID-1  in the community, new measures are in place across NSW. It's important that all businesses regularly check nsw.gov.au for the latest information and to understand how these measures impact you.

Help to operate your business safely

Here are some frequently asked questions for businesses operating during COVID-19.

  • Have a COVID Safe Plan in place — It’s strongly recommended all businesses have an up-to-date COVID Safe Plan in place. For some businesses it is mandatory. It provides you and your customers the confidence that you are doing all you can to help stop the spread of COVID-19. First, see what you can and can't do under the rules and familiarise yourself with the public health order. Once completed, you can register your business as COVID Safe.
  • Use the NSW Government QR code​ — Once you’re registered as COVID Safe, you can access the NSW Government QR code This makes it quick and easy for customers, staff, delivery drivers and contractors to check in and plays a vital role for contact tracers if an outbreak was to occur.​ For some businesses this is mandatory.
  • Practise COVID safe behaviours and get vaccinated​ — COVID safe behaviours are just as important as ever. Wash or sanitise hands regularly, wear a mask, and importantly, get vaccinated as soon as it is your turn.​ Staff must self-isolate and get tested immediately if unwell even with mild symptoms, then follow the health advice on when they should return to work.

Need help?

  • Safe Work Australia also has a range of COVID-19 checklists to help you keep your workers safe and limit the spread of coronavirus in the workplace. They cover everything from physical distancing and cleaning, to monitoring symptoms and planning ahead.
  • Our Environmental Health Officers are currently helping food and drink businesses to complete COVID Safe plans. If you need assistance, please email enviro@portstephens.nsw.gov.au
  • If you own or operate a food business, we also recommend NSW Food Authority and Food Standards Australia New Zealand which have specific COVID-19 information for food businesses.
To work out how many people can be in your business at once, use the square metre rule:
  • calculate the area of the room (length of room in metres x width of room in metres = area of room in square metres)
  • divide the area of the room by 2 or 4 (depending on your location).

For example, if you had a room that was 160 square metres, you should only allow up to 40 people in the room to allow each person to have 4 square metres of space.

You must also make sure people keep at least 1.5 metres apart wherever possible.

You should consider and make adjustments to the layout of the workplace to enable workers to keep at least 1.5 metres apart.

For example, this could be achieved by, spreading out furniture or plant to increase distancing, or considering floor and/or wall markings and signage to identify 1.5 metres distancing requirements.

We can help supply floor stickers and posters to support physical distancing in your business. Contact us for details on 02 4988 0255 or email ed@portstephens.nsw.gov.au

Employers and business operators may become aware a case has been linked to them by:

  • being notified by public health authorities
  • an employee or other contractor notifying them that they have been diagnosed.

The NSW Government has advice on what to do if your business has been linked to a COVID-19 case.

Isolate them and seek help.

Anyone who is unwell should not be at a workplace. If anyone develops symptoms at work such as fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, you should ask them to seek medical advice. You are not expected, and should not try, to diagnose workers.

If you reasonably suspect someone at work has the virus, or has been exposed, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Isolate the person to prevent the spread.
  2. Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice.
  3. Ensure the person has transport either home or to a medical facility, if necessary.
  4. Clean and disinfect.
  5. Identify and tell close contacts.
  6. Review risk management controls in consultation with your workers.
  • Visit Safe Work Australia for in-depth information on what to do if you reasonably suspect someone at work has COVID-19.
Posters are a great way to make sure workers and customers know what is expected of them in your business.
You can access a range of resources:

Disinfecting kills germs.

Cleaning physically removes germs (bacteria and viruses), dirt and grime using a detergent and water solution.

Disinfecting chemically kills germs on surfaces. It’s important to clean before disinfecting to ensure it’s effective. Disinfectants contain more than 70% alcohol.

Find out more about proper cleaning and disinfecting for businesses from Safe Work Australia.

Financial help

If you're experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, please contact your bank or creditors immediately. Most will to proactively work with you towards a solution.

Practical advice

COVID-19 and Australian workplace laws – find out about workplace entitlements and obligations.

Business advice

Destination Port Stephens is committed to supporting the tourism sector during this difficult time. Access Destination Port Stephens' resources for local businesses.

Free business mentoring — talk through your situation and develop strategies to minimise the impact and take advantage of opportunities. Phone Cheryl Royle on 0407 991 277

The Business Centre in Newcastle is running a free Business Disruption webcast series providing practical support and information for businesses. You can watch the following webcasts online:

The Business Centre also provides 4 hours of free advice with a dedicated business expert who will work with you on specific challenges.

The University of Newcastle's Business School discusses How Industry Placement 'Works' in this 1 hour webinar.

Introduced by Mayor Ryan Palmer and featuring Dr Paul Stolk on what’s required from businesses, the types of projects students can work in during their 100 hour placement and the opportunities this creates for businesses.

Jan Dobbie (Varley), Mel Rowe (Newcastle Airport) and Naomi Farrelly (Lighthouse Tourism) shared their experiences from an employer perspective.

View the webinar now.

Hints, tips and ideas

  • Try and keep it local as much as possible. If you are shopping online, consider buying from local businesses before you use the big online platforms. Similarly, if your household or business will benefit from the economic stimulus package, please think about spending or investing that money within the region where you can.
  • Can you deliver your services online? Learn how to host an online event or webinar that live event attendees will love.
  • If staff are underutilised, can they take advantage of an online learning or professional development opportunity while away from the office? Learn something new online for free — try FutureLearn and EDX and University of Newcastle.
  • Check out the myriad of podcasts on offer. Try The Company You Keep.

Helpful links