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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Change to restrictions in regional Victoria.

Latest advice: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Industry COVID compliance and vaccination blitz

The Victorian Government has announced a four-week construction compliance blitz across the construction industry to ensure the sector can remain open and COVID safe. Construction has been identified as a major source of transmission and the aim of the blitz is to slow the spread.

The residential roof top solar sector is classified as small-scale construction and is therefore part of the compliance blitz. This also includes battery and solar hot water installations.

The Government advises a ‘zero tolerance’ approach will be taken on compliance. The blitz will be led by Industry Engagement and Enforcement Operations (IEEO) Authorised Officers (AOs), with additional AO support from WorkSafe and the Victorian Building Authority (VBA).

The Government has identified that the age and highly mobile nature of the industry workforce poses an increased risk, and has prioritised vaccinations for the workforce.

There will be 20,000 Pfizer vaccines available over the coming week and an unlimited supply of AstraZeneca vaccines for industry workers.

Industry workers will also have dedicated priority times at walk-up vaccination clinics located across Melbourne until Sunday, 26 September.

The Victorian Government’s $450 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Test Isolation Payment is also available to eligible Victorians who are unable to work while waiting for COVID-19 test results.

Updating your COVIDSafe Plan 

It is mandatory for every Victorian business with on-site operations to have a COVIDSafe Plan.  

Businesses must review and update their COVIDSafe Plans regularly, especially when restrictions or public health advice changes. Organisations with multiple worksites must complete a COVIDSafe Plan for each worksite.

More information and COVIDsafe Plan templates for business can be found at  www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-plan#covidsafe-plan

Restrictions remain in place across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria 

As announced by the Victorian Government, some restrictions have been lifted in regional Victoria from 11.59pm Thursday 9 September. From 11.59pm on Wednesday, 15 September, Shepparton’s restrictions have been lifted while Ballarat has been placed under the same restrictions as metropolitan Melbourne, aside from the curfew, until 11.59pm on Wednesday, 22 September.

We have been advised that restrictions for small-scale construction, which includes the solar industry, will remain in place across both regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.

Further information on the requirements can be found at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

Advice for Solar Victoria approved solar retailers and installers

Solar Installations

The existing restrictions for small-scale construction remain in place across both regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.

Indoor work in occupied premises cannot occur.

Under the existing restrictions, services that operate solely outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained at all times. Unless additional workers are required for safety reasons, solo work only can be undertaken for:    

  • Outdoor maintenance, repairs, and cleaning, including at occupied premises 
  • Home installations (outdoor only) 
  • Home solar panel installations (only for outdoor work or in roof cavities with external access) 

Solar installations can occur if: 

  • they can be undertaken completely outdoors with the relevant COVIDSafe plans and precautions in place. No internal access to premises is allowed.  
  • entry to any roof cavity is possible from outside of the building to minimise risks to residents.  
  • Battery installations can occur in garages only where the garage is standalone and no internal access to the primary residence is required.  

Solar installations can occur at unoccupied properties as part of a construction project. The property must be unoccupied and under construction. This includes new builds and unoccupied homes under renovation. 

Door-to-door sales are not permitted under Solar Victoria programs.  

For office workers in regional Victoria, ‘if you can work from home, you should work from home’ but office workers will be able to return up to 25 per cent or up to 10 people, whichever is greater.

For more information on construction sector guidance, visit the Coronavirus website.  

Limits on site visits 

Limits on working across multiple sites remain for specialist contractors including solar installers.  

Under the restrictions, workers in small scale construction - which includes solar installations – may only visit three sites per week. 

  • Solar installers are listed as specialist contractors.  
  • Specialist contractors or supervisors who need to move between sites may only visit three sites per week.  
  • All workers moving between multiple sites must wear a face mask (indoors and outdoors), check-in using the Victorian Government’s QR code app, and observe hygiene measures. 
  • Supervisors moving between sites should adhere to enhanced COVIDSafe practices. 

Advice for Home Heating and Cooling Upgrades Program Authorised Suppliers

Can I install Heating or Cooling? 

Restrictions for small-scale construction remain in place across both regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.

Indoor work in occupied premises cannot occur.

Installations of systems can only occur during this lockdown period in an emergency situation where it is required to ensure human health, safety and wellbeing, for example when a home has no access to heating. Inspections for system quotes are subject to the same regulations.

Outside of emergencies, installations under the Home Heating and Cooling Upgrades Program have not been included as authorised work. Inspections for system quotes are subject to the same regulations.

Authorised provider and authorised worker permits 

The Authorised Worker list will no longer apply in regional Victoria.

Authorised workers in metropolitan Melbourne and Greater Ballarat (until 11.59pm on Wednesday, 22 September) must carry a permit when undertaking authorised work.

You can carry a printout or an electronic copy of the permit when undertaking the permitted activity and when traveling to and from the destination at which the permitted activity takes place. 

Each employer must determine who will be authorised to issue worker permits. Employers with multiple work sites may decide to designate an authorised person at each work site. 

Employers should minimise any requirement for employees to work at different sites. 

Where possible, if a person is working regularly across the same locations, their permit should specify the sites they attend. 

Further information and permit downloads are available at Authorised provider and authorised worker permit | Coronavirus Victoria.

Intrastate travel  

Intrastate travel is allowed across regional Victoria.  

Movement between regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne is allowed for authorised work. 

Travelling from metropolitan Melbourne to regional Victoria  

Workers from metropolitan Melbourne can travel to regional Victoria for work if:  

  • their workplace is on the Authorised Provider and Authorised Worker list, and  
  • it is not possible to do the work from home.  

When travelling between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, workers should travel directly to their regional workplace and limit movement as much as possible while in regional Victoria. When in regional Victoria, the restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne will travel with the worker. For example, you must not attend a restaurant or café for dine-in service, you must only order takeaway.   

Certain regional businesses must check the ID of a customer or visitor to ensure they are only using permitted facilities in regional Victoria. For more information, visit How we work: regional Victoria.  

Travelling from regional Victoria to metropolitan Melbourne  

Workers from regional Victoria can travel to metropolitan Melbourne if:   

  • their workplace is on the Authorised Provider and Authorised Worker list, and  
  • it is not possible to do the work from home.  

Regional workers operating in metropolitan Melbourne must carry a permit when undertaking authorised work.  

If a person from regional Victoria is in metropolitan Melbourne for one of the permitted reasons listed above, they may only access the following facilities while in metropolitan Melbourne:   

  • a retail facility for obtaining essential goods or services   
  • a food and drink facility to obtain takeaway food or drink only   
  • an accommodation facility if required for the purpose you are in metropolitan Melbourne.   

Cross border travel 

For authorised workers who are required to cross the Victorian border, further information on the travel permit system can be found at the coronavirus website.

The Premier’s media release can be accessed here: Coronavirus restrictions to lift for regional Victoria.

Reviewed 16 September 2021