COVID testing rules tightened as lockdown extended

Print business owners whose staff live in any of the 27 suburbs that make up the Fairfield Local Government Area and travel to work in other parts of Sydney now need to be COVID tested every three days even if they have no symptoms.

As the Delta variant continues to rage across Sydney prompting an extension of the lockdown to July 30, the tougher testing regime was put in place for the Fairfield LGA as of midnight on Tuesday. It means that from Saturday all effected workers must comply by these new rules.

Covid testing
This map shows the Fairfield LGA suburbs. Source: Fairfield City Council

The Real Media Collective GM IR, Policy and Governance, Charles Watson, said under the Public Health Order employers have an obligation to ask for evidence of appropriate testing from their staff.

“It appears the NSW Government is trying to limit the potential for a full on hard lockdown through those new testing requirements whereby employees who live in the Fairfield LGA and work outside of it get a COVID test every three days even if they don’t have symptoms,” Watson told Sprinter.

Those who live in the effected areas have until Saturday 17 July to get their first swab under the new regime, which came into effect at 12.01am on Wednesday.

“Those effected employees don’t have to get a negative test result before attending their workplace, they just need to get a test every three days and they don’t have to wait for the result. So basically they could get a test on their way to work or at lunchtime or on their way home,” Watson said.

“Employers have an obligation and a right to ask an effected employee, a contractor or a service provider whether they can evidence they have been tested and those effected employees are, under the Public Health Order, required to provide that evidence if they are asked.”

The other rule change on COVID testing includes workers who live in Greater Sydney and travel 50 kilometres beyond the Greater Sydney boundary for work reasons to have a COVID test every seven days.

Watson said in relation to the print industry this could apply to delivery drivers and field technicians.

“Any business in the industry who has an employee, a contractor or a service provider like an electrician or a mechanic turn up and who resides in that LGA, the obligation is to ask those people for evidence of their testing,” he said.

Supportive communication with staff needed

Watson has been discussing this new testing regime with members and said he encourages business owners to communicate carefully with their staff about the requirements.

“Having spoken with members we are sure employees will get tested as required and businesses will be mindful of that added requirement to some of their employees. So, once again it is a case of clear and supportive communication with the effected employees,” he said.

AAB Holdings CEO Wayne Finkelde has 15 employees who reside in the Fairfield LGA and says all effected staff have been informed of what is required with the testing.

AAB Holdings CEO Wayne Finkelde

“We have 15 staff that live in these areas and we have informed them of what is required as we do a daily update to all staff regarding the governments updates and what is expected from everyone, apart from our daily cleaning routines and wearing of masks, daily registering etc,” Finkelde said.

“It is now the environment we live and work in. We need to adapt to this as we in this industry are quite used to change, this has now become a new daily, weekly change for most of us.

“The main thing is to stay focused, follow the rules and guidelines and we will come through this and move on, like we usually do.

“A very stressful time for many people and businesses and we need to be mindful to support everyone you can through these difficult times.”

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