From Friday, 21 August, a swathe of South Australian businesses will be required to have a designated COVID-Safe Marshal on site to ensure compliance amongst their patrons and customers.
From 21 August licensed venues, cafes and restaurants must have a COVID-Safe Marshal on site
SPECIAL REPORT: COVID-19 ADELAIDE
Another week, another amendment to South Australia’s coronavirus restrictions.
On Wednesday, 12 August, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens announced a new measure aiming to ensure COVID-safe compliance amongst the South Australian public.
From Friday, 21 August, all “licensed premises, cafés and food courts, large shopping centres and stores, including supermarkets, retail outlets and hardware stores, gymnasiums, freight distribution centres, large shopping centres and shopping precincts, and places of worship,” will be required to have a ‘COVID-Safe Marshal’ on site.
For venues with a capacity of more than 200 people, this will be a dedicated employee whose sole job is to ensure compliance to the venue’s COVID-safe requirements – for example, rules around hygiene, physical distancing, and drinking while seated.
Smaller venues will be able to nominate a staff member or staff members to operate in the role of COVID-Safe Marshal.
The COVID-Safe Marshal must be easily identifiable to both patrons within the venue and to the South Australian Police’s compliance checking officer.
They will also be required to undertake an online course in order to train up for the role. The training program has since gone live and can be found here.
Stevens said the COVID-Safe Marshal role is being introduced as a way to avoid reimposing stricter physical distancing requirements.
“This is an important step that enables us to maintain the current levels of distancing requirements that we have on businesses,” he said, “allowing them to remain at one person per two square metres, as opposed to having to introduce tighter restrictions or caps that would hinder their ability to trade as effectively as possible.”
It will also reduce the amount of work SAPOL is doing to police compliance.
“This is putting it back onto the businesses so that we don’t have to do the compliance work that we’re doing now to the same degree, enabling them to continue to operate as effectively as possible,” Stevens said.
“Because we can have some level of comfort that patrons in these large venues – or any other venue – are abiding by the physical distancing and hygiene requirements.
The COVID-Safe Marshal will have no powers above any other staff member within the business, and is mostly intended as a visual reminder to patrons that they must comply with coronavirus restrictions.
Businesses already “have a right of refusal of entry of people who are not acting in accordance with their expectations,” Stevens said.
If a COVID-Safe Marshal identifies “significant non-compliance” amongst patrons “and [the Marshal’s] presence or advice to patrons isn’t sufficient to change that behaviour,” they are advised to call in police to respond to the situation.
Stevens acknowledged that there will be a cost imposed on larger venues who need to employ a specific person for the COVID-Safe Marshal role, but he suggested “Small businesses essentially will not have any adverse economical impact as a result of their obligations.”
There was also some leniency in the marshal program flagged for 24-hour gyms.
“We don’t expect a 24/7 gym to have a COVID Marshal present 24 hours a day – that’s not conceivable and it’s not consistent with their business model,” Stevens said.
“We’ll be providing specific advice to those types of sectors, so they can abide by the requirements as they roll out.”
There were further changes in restrictions announced outside of the hospitality industry.
South Australia’s border will tighten from 21 August, with fewer exemptions for Victorians living in border communities.
“People who currently have an approval to enter for employment and education, providing or receiving care and support, or obtaining food, petrol, medical or other supplies will not be able to enter South Australia from Victoria,” Stevens said.
“Those people will have to apply for approval to enter South Australia under the existing and remaining essential traveller requirements.”
There was also a relaxation in restrictions for private gatherings in homes, with the 10-person-per-dwelling limit raised to a maximum of 10 visitors in addition to the number of people living at the dwelling, capped at a maximum of 20 people total.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by coronavirus news and feel like you’re not coping, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 any time, or via text at 0477 13 11 14 6pm until midnight any day.