VFMA Risk Management Guide for accredited Victorian farmers’ markets

It is the responsibility of the market and stall owners to be abreast of the changes and requirements set forth by the Directions referenced throughout this document.

These guidelines are updated with information relevant specifically to farmers’ market operations. Anyone seeking a full picture of the Workplace Directions, Restricted Activity Directions and Stay Safe Directions should refer to the Department of Health and Human Services website https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19

 

The COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 4) were updated by DHHS on 19/10/21

  

The Acting Chief Health Officer has issued the new COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 4), which came into effect at 11:59pm on 19 October 2021.

From 15 October 2021, to work onsite at a work premises, workers must be able to provide evidence to their employer that they have either:

  • received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or
  • have a booking to receive a first dose by 22 October 2021, or
  • have a medical exemption from an authorised medical practitioner.

This means that from 23 October 2021, workers need to have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to attend work — unless they have a medical exemption.

From 26 November 2021, to attend work, workers will also be required to provide evidence to their employer that they have received a second dose - unless they have a medical exemption.

The new Directions apply to employers of select workers, including contractors, volunteers and students on placement. A full list of workers can be found here.

>> Information for industry and workers required to be vaccinated | Coronavirus Victoria


Market Operator- and Market Trader-relevant copied extracts from the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 4).  Employers should read the full Directions to be aware of their obligations.

  • 4 Employer must collect, record and hold vaccination information
  • Vaccination information
    • (1) If a worker is, or may be, scheduled to work outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence on or after the relevant date, the employer of the worker must collect, record and hold vaccination information about the worker.
  • Booking information — partially vaccinated and unvaccinated workers
    • (2) If the employer collects information that a worker is partially vaccinated, the employer must also collect, record and hold information about whether that worker has a booking to receive, by the second dose deadline, a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that will cause the worker to become fully vaccinated.
    • (3) If the employer collects information that a worker is unvaccinated, the employer must also collect, record and hold information about whether that worker has a booking to receive, by the first dose deadline, a dose of a COVID 19 vaccine that will cause the worker to become partially vaccinated.
  • Timing
    • (4) An employer must comply with the obligations in subclauses (1) to (3) as soon as reasonably practicable after the commencement of these directions.
      Exception 
    • (5) Subclauses (1) to (4) do not apply if the employer already holds vaccination information about a worker who is, or may be, scheduled to work outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence on or after the relevant date.
  • 5 Employer must ensure unvaccinated workers do not work outside ordinary place of residence
    • No work outside ordinary place of residence
    • (1) On or after the relevant date, an employer of a worker must not permit a worker who is unvaccinated to work for that employer outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence.
    • (2) For the purposes of subclause (1), if an employer does not hold vaccination information about a worker, the employer must treat the worker as if the worker is unvaccinated.
      Exception — booking by first dose deadline 
    • (3) Despite subclause (1), an employer of a worker may, between the relevant date and the first dose deadline, permit a worker who: 
      • (a) is unvaccinated; and
      • (b) has a booking to receive, by the first dose deadline, a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that will cause the worker to become partially vaccinated,
        to work for that employer outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence.
  • Exception — self-quarantine
    • (4) Despite subclause (1), an employer of a worker may, after the first dose deadline, permit a worker who: 
      • (a) is unvaccinated; and 
      • (b) was unable to become partially vaccinated before the first dose deadline because they were in self-quarantine under the Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts Directions; and
      • (c) has a booking to receive, within 7 days of the end of the period of self-quarantine as determined under the Diagnosed Persons and Close Contacts Directions, a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that will cause the worker to become partially vaccinated, to work for that employer outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence.
  • Authorisation to use vaccination information
    • (5) For the purposes of complying with this clause, an employer is authorised to use any information about a worker that it holds under clause 4.
  • Notification to current workers 
    • (6) An employer of a worker must, as soon as reasonably practicable after the commencement of these directions, inform each worker who is, or may be, scheduled to work outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence on or after the relevant date that:
      • (a) clause 4 obliges the employer to collect, record and hold vaccination information about the worker; and
      • (b) subclause (1) obliges the employer, on and after the relevant date, not to permit a worker who is unvaccinated to work for that employer outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence unless an exception applies under these directions.
    • (7) Subclause (6) does not apply if the employer has previously notified the worker of the matters specified in that subclause under a previous version of these directions.
  • Notification to new workers
    • (8) If an employer engages a worker who is, or may be, scheduled to work outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence on or after the relevant date, the employer must inform the worker, as soon as reasonably practicable after engaging the worker that:
      • (a) clause 4 obliges the employer to collect, record and hold vaccination information about the worker; and
      • (b) subclause (1) obliges the employer, on and after the relevant date, not to permit a worker who is unvaccinated to work for that employer outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence unless an exception applies under these directions.

 

Our accredited Victorian farmers' markets supply communities with produce direct from the growers and makers, and support independent farmers in Victoria.

 

Staff working in farmers' markets are authorised workers and are permitted to travel into and out of Melbourne and regional Victoria for their work.  Authorised workers are required to carry permits when working, and when travelling for work. 

Melbourne and Restricted Areas

Under the current COVIDSafe settings for metropolitan Melbourne and Restricted Areas, farmers' markets and market stalls are authorised providers of essential retail - providing food, drinks and groceries to the public.

  •  An Authorised Work Premises is a Work Premises at which:
    • an Authorised Provider operates; or 
    • an Authorised Worker performs work.
  • Staff working in farmers' markets are authorised workers and are permitted to travel into and out of Melbourne and regional Victoria for their work.
  • Authorised workers include staff necessary for the production and distribution of food and groceries [...] including for sale by operators of such premises at an indoor or outdoor market.
  • Authorised workers also include any person who performs work that is essential for the continued operation of farming activities and other operations relating to agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, irrigation, permaculture, apiculture, grains, fibre production, dairy, flower industry, commercial fishing, aquaculture and livestock.  
  • Authorised workers are required to carry permits when working, and when travelling for work. The permits need to be certified by an employer. To find out more and download permits, go to this page: Authorised provider and authorised worker permit | Coronavirus Victoria

 

Regional Victoria

Under the current COVIDSafe settings for regional Victoria (excluding Restricted Areas), farmers' markets and market stalls are now open as general retail.

  • Staff working in farmers' markets are authorised workers and are permitted to travel into and out of Melbourne and regional Victoria for their work.
  • Operators of markets are not required to check residential records - the responsibility is on members of the public attending farmers' markets who must register themselves on attendance using the QR Code Check-In points provided

 

COVIDSafe Principles for business

  • ensure physical distancing (1.5 metres)
  • wear a face mask
  • practise good hygiene
  • keep good records and act quickly if staff become unwell
  • avoid interactions in close spaces
  • create workforce bubbles

COVIDSafe Plans

All businesses must have a COVIDSafe plan for onsite operations.

Density quotients

Market stalls can open provided they adhere to the density quotient of one person per four square metres. The density quotient limits the members of the public that are permitted in a space at any one time to the number calculated by dividing the total publicly accessible space (measured in square metres) by 4 and: for an outdoor space, market or retail shopping centre, applies to the total space permitted to operate under these directions. 

A person who owns, operates or controls a market stall, market or retail shopping centre must:

  • Prominently display signage at all points of sale at the Work Premises so that members of the public can record their attendance using the Victorian Government QR code system.
  • Limit the number of members of the public permitted by the density quotient as it applies respectively to the market stall, market or the retail shopping centre; and
  • Comply with the cleaning requirement respectively for the market stall, market or the common areas of the retail shopping centre; and
  • Use reasonable endeavours to implement relevant recommendations by the Victorian Government to manage public health risks arising out of the operation of the facility.

Facemasks

Face masks are mandatory indoors, except at your home. Face masks are mandatory outdoors. You must carry a mask with you at all times when you leave the home in case you need to use it. Face masks | Coronavirus Victoria

Record-Keeping

Where a Work Premises is a market, the Work Premises must prominently display signage at all points of sale at the Work Premises so that members of the public can record their attendance using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service.

Where a Work Premises is a market stall, the Work Premises must prominently display signage at all points of sale at the Work Premises so that members of the public can record their attendance using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service

This means that both markets and market stalls must have their own QR code check-in display for their business - the market has a market QR code check-in, and the market stall has its own market stall QR code check-in.

Samples / Tastings

“Under the Third Step of the roadmap for reopening, a person who owns, controls or operates a market stall (whether indoor or outdoor) is permitted to serve food samples, as long as its predominant business is the provision of food and drink for consumption off the premises of the market. Each market stall must comply with the relevant food safety regulations. Kind Regards, Industry Coordination and Recovery, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions. djpr.vic.gov.au” 6/11/2020  

Seating

There is no provision for outdoor seating at markets in the current Retail Goods directions. There are specific directions for seating provision as part of an outdoor food and drink retail facility.  Markets or stalls wishing to provide seating must read and follow the specific directions for seating provision as part of an outdoor food and drink retail facility: Hospitality — food and beverage services sector guidance | Coronavirus Victoria

Signage

Each public entry must display a sign specifying the maximum number of members of the public that may be present in that space at a single time, being the number permitted by the density quotient, rounded down to the nearest whole number

 

Anyone feeling unwell must not attend farmers’ markets

Guidelines for Farmers’ Market Organisers

 
  1. Market organisers must be able to count & control the number of patrons on site at any time to ensure they are meeting the density quotient requirements.
    • The density quotient limits the number of members of the public that are permitted in a space at any one time to the number calculated by dividing the total publicly accessible space (measured in square metres) by 4.
    • Calculate how many square metres of public “open space” they can provide between the stalls
    • Adhere to signage requirements and display maximum number of patrons allowed in relevant areas.
    • Limit the amount of shoppers in the market at any one time to ensure 4 square metres per person of useful public open space between stalls at all times.
    • Mark queuing spots to ensure a 1.5 metre spacing between each person in a queue.
    • Monitor flow of patrons in and out to ensure adherence to density quotient requirements.
  2. Market managers must provide check in points for visitors using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service.
  3. Market managers should provide clear signage, ground markings and announcements to enforce physical distancing of 1.5 metres
    • Use ground or floor markings to indicate 1.5 metres of physical distancing, especially where shoppers are likely to queue at stalls.
    • Relocate busy stalls including coffee stalls to avoid overlapping queues.
    • Provide regular reminders around the market of personal responsibility to maintain physical distance of at least 1.5 metres.
  4. Market managers should remind stallholders that socialising among workers has been responsible for the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) such as carpooling, huddling together or when smoking  
  5. Market managers should ensure they are compliant with current cleaning requirements
    • Cleaning requirements for an open retail facility are described above.
  6. Market managers should ensure stallholders and shoppers are aware of face covering requirements
  7. Market managers should ensure accessible hand washing and/or sanitising facilities are provided throughout the market to stallholders and shoppers
    • Shoppers should be asked sanitise their hands on arrival and exit of the market.
    • Stallholders should be reminded to wash or sanitise their hands regularly.
  8. Where possible, market managers should not allow shoppers to enter the market before the opening time
    • Stallholders must be given time to set up and be ready to serve in a safe and unrushed manner.
  9. Remove (or prevent access to) any self-service or communal condiment or drink stations

Guidelines for Farmers’ Market Stallholders 

  1. Stallholders should arrive with enough time to set up the stall with consideration for
    • physical distancing set-up,
    • reviewing new procedures with staff,
    • displaying extra signage as needed.
  2. Stallholders must prominently display signage at all points of sale so that members of the public can check in using the Victorian Government QR code system
  3. Staff members who interact with a member of the public at a point of service must request that they check in using the Victorian Government QR code system
  4. Stallholders should remind their customers about physical distancing and encourage them to remain at least 1.5 metres apart when moving through the stall
  5. Stalls with multiple staff members should also maintain physical distancing
  6. Stallholders should clearly label produce and prices for shoppers to be able to see to minimise crowding around the stall 
  7. Stallholders should have hand sanitiser or adequate hand wash facilities clearly accessible
    • Hand washing should be practised regularly.
    • Anyone handling the EFTPOS machine should only handle produce if they have washed or sanitised their hands between tasks.
  8. Where possible, stallholders should ensure they are set-up to take card payments
    • Have mobile EFTPOS facilities, all devices are fully charged, with adequate receipt paper.
  9. Where possible, stallholders should avoid handling cash
    • Stall fees should be paid ahead of time by direct deposit.
  10. Samples or tastings
    • A person who owns, controls or operates a market stall (whether indoor or outdoor) is permitted to serve food samples, as long as its predominant business is the provision of food and drink for consumption off the premises of the market.
    • Each market stall must comply with the relevant food safety regulations.
  11. Ready-to-eat stalls should only provide take-away food
    • Stallholders should place takeaway foods on a table or counter for the customer to collect to avoid passing food hand to hand.
  12. It is recommended that stallholders should advise customers that, to minimise transmission risks, they may not handle produce
    • Where possible, delegate at least one staff member to select fresh produce on behalf of customers and place it down for them to pack into their own bag / basket / trolley.
    • Fresh produce should be pre-packaged and priced by the bag where possible.
    • Where possible, one staff member should be delegated to receive card payments - this person should not under any circumstances handle fresh food.
  13. Stallholders must wear face coverings (fitted masks) where required under the facecovering guidelines.


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