A new Colac business community initiative to share local COVID-safe practices and learnings with the shire community is expected to be valuable in stopping the spread of any future COVID cases.
Colac Otway Shire Chief Executive Peter Brown said local major industries and businesses had gone above and beyond with their practices to prevent and minimise the spread of COVID.
“Everyone has played their part in helping contain the pandemic in Colac, particularly Bulla, ALC and the other businesses like AKD which have put a range of COVID-safe practices in place.
“The business leaders of Colac now want to share their experiences with other operators, including those who are reopening or could soon have more people in their workplace, either customers or staff.
“Colac Otway Shire Council is working alongside businesses and Colac Area Health to share and promote these messages to businesses, and to the wider community, as restrictions change and people are permitted to have visitors to their homes again.
“COVID19 has not gone away and even when Colac has no active cases, we know from experience that we must be vigilant and take every precaution we can to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the virus.”
Key COVID Messages for the Colac Otway community:
- A significant proportion of COVID spread in Victoria and in Colac Otway is happening in the home. Regular cleaning of common areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and toilets are a must, particularly in share houses where housemates are working for different companies or businesses. Remember touch points ie door handles, bench tops etc; computer stations.
- Tearooms are an identified high-risk area for COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. While regular and thorough cleaning is essential, Colac’s big employers have taken extra steps including:
- Removal of cutlery, crockery and glassware (anything that can be shared).
- Providing individually-wrapped tea, coffee and sugar.
- Having multiple sanitising stations available throughout workplaces, but particularly in common areas.
- Converting other rooms for tearooms to separate the workforce, or alternatively establishing outdoor areas under marquees for breaks and meal times.
- Encouraging staff to eat meals offsite if possible.
- Colac employers have successfully established ‘work bubbles’. This means that the people you work in closest proximity to within in the workplace are the people you take your breaks with. This minimises the possible risk of COVID-19 spread between work groups.
- Proper mask wearing and disposal is essential. Wash your hands, or apply sanitiser, before applying and removing your mask; and after you dispose of it (or package it for washing). Never sit a used mask on a table or other surface. Change disposable masks regularly (usually every four hours or more frequently if moist) and dispose of in a general waste bin.
- Bar soap and hand towels are unhygienic. Liquid soap and alcohol-based hand washes are the best options, followed by single-use paper towel for drying.
- Consider introducing hygiene champions into your workforce, especially if you have lots of employees. The champions are responsible for reminding people about good hygiene practices and social distancing, helping embed good habits within your workforce.
- If it’s practical, install physical barriers such as perspex shields between workspaces.
- If people are in the workplace – screening of all staff should be considered (for temperature; sore throat; runny nose; loss of smell etc). Advise staff to get tested if they are showing symptoms, and remain at home until results are received.