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Image of question mark on blue background what is an essential business

What is an essential business?

Please note: Phased easing of coronavirus restrictions have been introduced in Western Australia that has affected businesses allowed to operate and travel directives. See the WA COVID-19 Roadmap for current information.

Last updated: 27 March 2020

With recent Government announcements requiring some businesses to close as they are classed as non-essential services, while others can remain open, there has been much discussion about how essential business is defined and whether your business can still operate in the current climate. 

To help provide some clarity, we've outlined key information below.

Is your business restricted?

Some businesses types have been specifically restricted or prohibited in order to support new government policies to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) by supporting social isolation.  The restrictions may include a total ban on operations, or a requirement to modify the business activities you usually offer. 

Currently restricted business types are listed here — two rounds of restrictions have been announced by the Australian Government to date and this information will be updated as it evolves.

Is your business exempted from border closures and self-isolation?

Certain kinds of businesses have been specifically exempted from WA border closures and the need to self-quarantine for 14 days when entering the state. The exempted businesses are generally those businesses and individuals that are recognised as ‘performing an essential service’. 

The exemptions include transport and freight businesses, people with specialist skills and WA residents who must travel interstate for their work. More detail on exempted people is found here

The WA Government has announced further restrictions on intrastate travel between the state’s regions, to apply from Tuesday 31 March. The specific regions are defined as:

  • Perth and Peel (due to their proximity, the Perth and Peel regions will combine into one region)
  • South West
  • Great Southern
  • Goldfields-Esperance
  • Mid-West
  • Gascoyne
  • Pilbara
  • Kimberley* 

*Strict travel restrictions came into force for the Kimberley, parts of the East Pilbara and the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku at 9pm on 26 March. 

Western Australians will not be permitted to leave their regional boundary and police have the power to enforce the restrictions with fines of up to $50,000. 

Exemptions to WA intrastate travel restrictions will apply for:

  • employment purposes
  • medical reasons
  • health and emergency services
  • people living in ‘border communities’, who may not have access to groceries or supplies within their region
  • transport of essential goods
  • compassionate grounds.

Continue to operate

All other business operations in Australia may continue trading unless further restrictions are announced. You may elect to close your business in order to restrict exposure or risk of COVID-19 infection to you and your employees. 

Business operators must comply with the following:

  • social distancing requirements – maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres from other people, and
  • Indoor or enclosed spaces must adhere to a 1 person per 4 square metre rule. 

More information

If you are concerned about the impact of coronavirus or other disruptions on your small business, read our dealing with coronavirus information for small business owners. This includes details of the support packages announced by the Australian and Western Australian Governments.

Get the latest COVID-19 health advice from health.gov.au.
 

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