The Queensland Government has announced that critical workers in the resources sector will be able to provide essential services while they are classified as close contacts, provided they meet strict health criteria.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the move was restricted to a narrow range of industries to ensure essential services and supplies could continue.
A ‘critically essential worker’ will be defined as someone employed in the resource sector, power/utilities, freight and logistics, agriculture and fisheries production, health, emergency services, public transport, teachers, and essential retail, who must be in the workplace to do their job.
The workers will need to be fully vaccinated, wear a mask at all times and be asymptomatic.
If at any stage they develop symptoms, they need to return to quarantine immediately.
Employers need to determine if their organisation or business falls under the narrow list of critical industries, then identify which roles within their organisation are critical and cannot be performed from home, before notifying the government.
“We know the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks,” Palaszczuk said.
“People need to be able to have their lights on, have food in the fridge and have running water.
“We want to ensure our hospitals are staffed, food continues to be delivered to our supermarkets and we can still fill our cars at the petrol station.”
Critical or essential workers who are eligible and are able to work during the usual close contact quarantine period will be required to travel to and from work in a private vehicle, wear appropriate PPE, maintain personal hygiene, undertake regular symptom surveillance and undertake a RAT on day six, consistent with the requirements for all close contacts.
The government’s approach is to ensure people have access to essential supplies and services.
“That’s why we’ve specified a number of precautions that close contacts need to follow if they are going to attend their place of work,” Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said.
“Once they receive a negative day six RAT result, they can continue going about their normal routine without the additional requirements.”