COVID-19 vaccination compliance and obligations for businesses
As NSW reopens, it is important that businesses are prepared to welcome back customers in a COVID Safe way and that new compliance obligations are understood.
This guidance has been prepared to assist businesses and is not a substitute for legal advice.
What do I need to do to prepare for reopening my business?
- Make sure you are using the latest COVID-19 Safety Plan for your industry.
- Educate your customers and staff on COVID-19 safe behaviours and vaccination requirements. Download posters and signage to display in your premises.
- Know your staff vaccination requirements under the Public Health Orders. You are responsible for ensuring they get vaccinated if required.
Am I responsible for ensuring only vaccinated staff, customers and visitors attend my business?
Businesses (but not businesses that are critical retail premises) are responsible for taking reasonable steps to prevent unvaccinated people entering your premises.
For example, you could:
- ensure posters outlining vaccination requirements and Service NSW QR codes are clearly visible
- train staff on ways to check proof of COVID-19 vaccination status (or a valid exemption) and what to do if someone refuses to be checked or is not vaccinated
- remind customers of vaccination requirements in marketing materials and when taking and confirming bookings
- consider ways for non-vaccinated customers to purchase products online
- checking vaccination status upon entry where practical.
Can businesses force an unvaccinated customer to leave the premises?
There are public health orders in place that require a person to be vaccinated in certain indoor areas and public outdoor gatherings in NSW, unless an exemption applies.
If the occupier of the premises believes that a person does not have a valid exemption, the occupier can ask the person to leave the premises. If the person refuses, the occupier of the premises can notify the police.
What proof of vaccination can I accept from my staff and customers?
Only the following three forms of evidence of vaccination (or medical exemption) should be accepted:
- A COVID-19 digital certificate displayed through the Medicare App, Service NSW App or equivalent smartphone wallet.
- Printed version of the COVID-19 digital certificate or immunisation history statement.
- Successful completion of a Service NSW QR check-in that includes vaccination confirmation.
Penalties may also apply for anyone making or presenting a fake form of proof of vaccination.
How will compliance be monitored and are there penalties for non-compliance?
Authorised officers will monitor businesses re-opening, particularly those that have vaccination requirements, for example hospitality, retail, gyms and personal services (e.g. hair, beauty).
Penalties may apply for individuals and businesses who don’t comply.
- Individuals: On the spot fines of $1,000 may apply for not complying, or for using fraudulent evidence of vaccination or check-in.
- Businesses: On the spot fines of $5,000 may apply for not complying with the Public Health Order vaccination requirements.
Further penalties including closure of businesses, and higher fines for individuals and businesses may apply for significant breaches.