The moment is upon us! With NSW having surpassed the 70% double vaccination rate, many businesses have conditionally reopened today after months of a grueling lockdown.

Better yet, with 80% vaccination rates just around the corner, there’ll be an ushering of even more opening opportunities and reduced restrictions. Now is the time to get your business reopening plan in place.

What does your small business need to start preparing for and what can you expect over the next few weeks?

For full NSW business information on COVID safe reopening, visit the NSW government website here.

Business reopening checklist

There will be some key differences between 70% and 80% reopening restrictions. However, you still need to get your ducks in a row before welcoming customers back and reigniting your business’s slumbering engine.

Tick off the following checklist to be ready for reopening on 11 October.

1) COVID-19 Safety Plan

You may have had a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place before the most recent NSW stay at home orders, but you now need to revisit and refresh this before you open your doors again.

The rules have changed, and business compliance is non-negotiable.

  • Visit the NSW Government website for COVID-19 Safety Plans, navigate to your industry and download the applicable info pack.
  • Be certain you have QR codes prominently displayed, sanitiser on hand, any required safety signage, and floor markers for social distancing.
  • Organise an ongoing deep clean of your premises.
  • Have a plan for the possibility of staff infection.
  • Understand your responsibilities in terms of vaccination regulations for both staff and customers.
  • Update your customers on how your COVID-19 Safety Plans will affect them visiting or using your business.

2) Organisation

With your business emerging from hibernation, some tasks may have been left untended while in lockdown:

  • Get your accounting software updated and ready for trade.
  • Check your stock levels.
  • Order supplies and renew your relationship with vendors. You may even need to source new suppliers at this stage.
  • Double check that your tools, equipment, and software are ready for immediate use.
  • Review your permits and licenses.
  • Tend to your leasing arrangements.
  • Make sure you’ve paid your bills and invoices for any services you’ll require.
  • Book in a meeting with your accountant, bookkeeper, or business advisor to undergo a quick business review.

3) Staff

With the recent business turmoil heavily affecting staff and employment, ensure you:

  • Contact your intended staff roster, inform them of their shifts and enquire about availability.
  • Supply your staff with relevant COVID-19 safety information.
  • Update your payroll software in readiness for staff payments.
  • Ensure you have extra masks on hand for staff.
  • Discuss and enforce vaccination regulations if necessary.
  • Post job ads to fill any staffing gaps.
  • Deploy any staff training or refresher courses that may be needed.
  • Get your team culture and communication humming again.

4) Marketing and customers

  • Update your Google My Business page and website with correct opening times.
  • Announce your reopening plans on social media and your website.
  • Launch reopening promotions or specials.
  • Do a reopening email or SMS campaign for your existing customer base.
  • Take out some social media or Google ads to reignite your marketing presence.
  • Re-evaluate and populate your marketing content calendar.
  • Keep customers informed of any restrictions or safety information, including vaccination and capacity rules.

70% reopening key points

What manner of restrictions will be in place at the 70% vaccination mark on 11 October?

For full details always refer to the NSW Government website for 70% reopening, as official information can change rapidly.

Key business takeaways at the 70% mark for the fully vaccinated:

  • COVID Safe check-ins and proof of vaccination will be required for both staff and customers.
  • Only use takeaway or click-and-collect services for those who are not fully vaccinated,.
  • All premises will operate at 1 person per 4sqm indoors and 1 person per 2sqm outdoors.
  • Masks are required for all staff and customers in all indoor settings. Persons under 12 are omitted.
  • Masks no longer required in outdoor settings. Customer facing hospitality staff will still be required to wear a mask.
  • Gyms, indoor recreation, and sporting facilities may reopen with capacity restrictions in place and classes up to 20 people.
  • Indoor swimming pools will be able to open for lessons and training.
  • Group bookings of up to 20 people will be allowed in hospitality settings.
  • Drinking indoors must be seated but drinking outdoors may be standing.
  • Entertainment facilities may reopen with either the density limit capacity or 75% fixed seating.
  • Personal services such as hairdressers, parlors and salons can reopen for up to five clients. Density limits apply.

80% reopening key points

When NSW reaches the 80% vaccination mark, certain restrictions will be further relaxed, and more business freedoms will be granted. These changes will kick in on the Monday following the 80% target being met.

For full details always refer to the NSW Government website for 80% reopening as official information can change rapidly.

Key business takeaways at the 80% mark for the fully vaccinated:

  • COVID Safe check-ins and proof of vaccination are required. This applies to both staff and customers.
  • Takeaway or click-and-collect services only for those not fully vaccinated.
  • All premises will operate at 1 person per 4sqm indoors and 1 person per 2sqm outdoors.
  • Masks no longer required in office buildings except for those who are unvaccinated.
  • You can dance in both indoor and outdoor settings – except for nightclubs.
  • Nightclubs can reopen, however only for seated drinking and no dancing.
  • You can drink while standing for both indoor and outdoor settings.
  • No customer limit for personal services including hairdressers, parlors, and salons.

Even if we haven’t seen an economic and business resurgence after lockdown just yet, there’s still a lot to celebrate. Congratulations to NSW for reaching these landmark vaccination milestones and we hope to see all your businesses thrive and grow once more.