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Essential workers

During a lockout or lockdown there may be different requirements for essential workers.

A list of essential workers is provided in CHO Direction #131 PDF (579.2 KB) commencing at page 18.

Essential workers - Close contacts

An employee or contractor engaged by any of the following businesses or undertakings is an essential worker for the purposes of these Directions:

  • a supermarket, grocery store, bakery, butcher, greengrocer or fishmonger;
  • a food outlet with a fixed premises or vehicles providing takeaway food services or food for distribution by food delivery services;
  • a liquor retailer, but only for the purposes of selling takeaway liquor that is not consumed on the premises;
  • a financial institution;
  • consular and diplomatic services;
  • a Court or a Tribunal;
  • the Territory or local government services which are deemed essential by the relevant Agency Chief Executive Officer or CEO of a council;
  • a post office;
  • a newsagency;
  • a pharmacy;
  • a petrol station;
  • a hardware store;
  • vehicle and mechanical repair services, including the provision of transport inspection services and roadside assist services;
  • a pet store;
  • a veterinary clinic;
  • care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, age, infirmity, disability, displacement, domestic violence, illness or a chronic health condition;
  • child protection services;
  • a childcare, early learning centre, kindergarten, preschool or family day care provider;
  • a primary, secondary or boarding school;
  • locksmith services, only to the extent required in an emergency;
  • labour hire in relation to a business, service or undertaking mentioned in this Schedule;
  • commercial cleaners.

An employee or contractor engaged by any of the following businesses or undertakings is an essential worker for the purposes of these Directions:

  • a funerary or mortuary service or related activities
  • the following emergency services, including both volunteers and paid workers in:
    • ambulance and paramedical services;
    • firefighting services;
    • air ambulance and medical retrieval services, including Royal Flying Doctor Service and CareFlight;
    • police services, protective service officers and police custody officers;
  • the Northern Territory Emergency Service as defined in section 8 of the Emergency Management Act 2013;
    • military and defence services;
    • state security or national security services;
  • essential infrastructure and services required to maintain or protect human health, safety and wellbeing, including the construction, maintenance and repair of such infrastructure;
  • critical repairs to any premises where required for emergency or safety;
  • faith leaders broadcasting services and ceremonies at places of worship;
  • a person who is critical to, and involved in the Northern Territory’s COVID-19 response, including in quarantine, emergency operations centres and vaccination services;
  • immunisation and vaccination providers including pharmacy immunisers and Aboriginal healthcare workers;
  • roadside assistance services;
  • a member of Parliament or anyone required to ensure the functioning of the Legislative Assembly or Commonwealth Parliament;
  • domestic and commercial waste and resource recovery services, including collection, treatment, transfer and disposal services;
  • the following essential services:
    • electricity services;
    • operation of energy systems;
    • gas services;
    • water supply, sewerage and drainage services;
    • liquid fuels and refinery services;
    • services to support ongoing provision and regulation of electricity, gas, water, sewerage and waste and recycling services and their maintenance, including emergency electrical and plumbing repairs to ensure the safety of, or prevent damage to a structure or site;
  • Commonwealth agency services including Australian Border Force, Commonwealth law enforcement and intelligence agency services and Services Australia;
  • services related to the administration of justice, including prison transfers;
  • essential legal services that are not able to be provided electronically, including urgent legal matters such as executing a will in-person;
  • journalism and media services;
  • a factory or facility that is not able to be shut down without causing damage or loss to plant and equipment, but only those operations that are necessary in order to prevent that damage or loss;
  • mining services including oil and gas extraction, metal ore mining, non-metallic mineral mining and extractive industries (e.g. quarrying);
  • building and construction services only to the extent required in an emergency or to ensure the safety of, or prevent damage to, a structure or site;
  • administrative services provided by an employer to enable its employees to work from home, including payroll and IT services;
  • organisations that provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal or premises, including pest control and snake removal services;
  • public transport, including taxis and other commercial passenger vehicles such as minibuses and ridesharing, rental scooters and other public passenger services, and including transit officers and interchange security officers;
  • air transport, including the operation of airports;
  • port operations;
  • freight services, including postal and courier services;
  • a transport, freight or logistics driver;
  • heavy vehicle compliance activities;
  • a blood bank or other bank services for the collection, storage and provision of donated biological material;
  • care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, family violence, age, infirmity, disability, illness or a chronic health condition or other essential support services;
  • truck stops and roadhouses, but only for the provision of seated dining or shower facilities to persons who are transport, freight or logistics drivers;
  • production and distribution of:
    • food and groceries for sale by a supermarket, butcher, greengrocer or fishmonger (including for sale by operators of such premises at an indoor or outdoor market);
    • liquor for sale at a bottle shop;
    • medical and pharmaceutical products;
    • animal food and care products;
    • commercial operations that supply goods or services necessary:
      • for the implementation of measures to limit the spread of COVID-19;
      • to support any business activity that may be carried out in accordance with these Directions;
      • to support the transportation of goods and services in and out of the Northern Territory, including live export activities and support staff or services (such as veterinarians, inspectors);
  • the maintenance of other essential research activities for:
    • management and care of critical living resources, and the equipment and materials they depend on (for example feeding, husbandry, hydrating, routine care and checks of animals, plants, microbes and cell lines in controlled environment);
    • the storage and management of existing samples and data research infrastructure that are temperature and environment sensitive (for example, biobank);
    • long-term experiments or studies that would otherwise be prohibitive to restart (e.g. commenced clinical trials);
    • research addressing the impact of COVID-19 and research in support of the hospital and broader health system;
  • the conduct of essential adult education services related to the following occupations and activities for:
    • training and assessment for infection control, high-risk work licenses and high-risk work credentials and construction induction (white card), that ensure workplace and public safety in permitted work premises or for permitted workers;
    • study for final year pre-service early childhood and school teachers (including placements);
    • final-year higher education students (for example, in courses regulated by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency) who do not have alternative options to complete their study by end of year;
    • first aid training where required for COVID response;
    • study for health care workers (including clinical placements);
    • apprentices training with a worker or service mentioned in this Schedule;
    • clinical health and biomedical science (if required to be on site for the maintenance of essential research activities);
    • aged and disability care (including clinical placements);
    • mandatory assessments for Northern Territory Certificate of Education students;
    • police academy;
    • defence and national security agencies;
    • primary industries only to the extent necessary to ensure animal rescue, adequate supply of food to, and care of, animals and maintenance of crops;
  • a hotel, motel or other accommodation facility to the extent that they provide accommodation services, including on a temporary basis for work purposes;
  • services related to property settlement or commencement or end of lease activities, including furniture removalists;
  • forestry activities for the purposes of or relating to:
    • production of building supplies for construction;
    • production of other goods required for other permitted activities (for example, paper, packaging, caskets and coffins);
    • all manufacturing, fabrication or assembly of goods and materials necessary for or related to supporting the defence or security industry;
  • on site operations of ancillary and support businesses necessary for the operations of a business, service or undertaking mentioned in this Schedule, or for a closed business, service or undertaking that is not mentioned in this Schedule but where there are safety or environmental obligations including in relation to the production, supply, manufacturer, repair, maintenance, cleaning, security, wholesale, distribution, transportation or sale of equipment, goods or services essential to the operation of the business, service or undertaking and the business cannot operate on-site for any other purpose;
  • union, peak body or employer organisation officials attending a worksite as permitted by law or for work health and safety advice;
  • a person who is:
    • critical to, and involved in the Northern Territory’s COVID-19 response (including in quarantine);
    • a "fly in fly out" worker or a "drive in drive out" worker who is required for industry or business continuity and maintenance of a competitive operation where the service is time-critical, who is responsible for critical maintenance or repair of infrastructure critical to a region of, or to, the Northern Territory; (iii) maritime crew members;
  • farm animal and bloodstock leasing activities, including:
    • farming activities and other operations relating to agriculture, horticulture, viticulture, irrigation, permaculture, apiculture, grains, fibre production, dairy, flower industry, commercial fishing, aquaculture and livestock;
    • intensive agricultural production, including greenhouses and animal production;
    • agricultural, veterinary chemicals and vaccine production, transportation and distribution;
    • laboratory and diagnostic services;
    • animal feed production, transportation, packaging, sale, and feeding (including livestock and pets);
    • animal pounds and shelters but not so as to offer access to the public;
  • a business or undertaking providing essential support services to permitted agriculture, forestry and fishing activities, such as food safety and verification, inspection or associated laboratory services and biosecurity functions.
  • telephone and information technology repair services

A person who provides any of the following health services is an essential worker for these Directions:

  • emergency medical consulting, procedures and surgery undertaken for the investigation, diagnosis and management of conditions where failure to do so expediently and safely will lead to any of the following outcomes:
    • loss of life;
    • loss of limb;
    • permanent disability;
  • non-emergency but urgent medical consulting, procedures and surgery undertaken for the investigation, diagnosis and management of conditions where failure to do so in a clinically appropriate timeframe will lead to a predictable and evidence-based outcome as follows:
    • loss of life where appropriate health intervention would otherwise have prevented this;
    • permanent disability where appropriate health intervention would otherwise have prevented this;
    • where clinical evidence supports an increased risk of a type referred to in the above points should appropriate health intervention be significantly delayed;
  • emergency and licensed non-emergency patient transport;
  • any health services provided under the auspices of a hospital, urgent care centre or similar service including remote health clinics;
  • any health services provided by a general practitioner;
  • any health services provided by a nursing professional or midwife;
  • any health services provided at a radiology service;
  • procedures and surgical treatment undertaken by oral health professionals (e.g. dentists and oral health therapists) in the management of patients with urgent needs that include any of the following:
    • facial swelling;
    • intra-oral swelling;
    • facial trauma;
    • dental trauma;
    • significant, constant or uncontrollable pain;
    • fertility treatment, including IVF treatment;
    • termination of a pregnancy;
    • drug and alcohol services;
  • the following allied health services when providing critical clinical care:
    • speech pathologist;
    • sonographer;
    • social worker;
    • radiation therapist;
    • radiographer;
    • psychologist;
    • prosthetist or orthotist;
    • podiatrist;
    • physiotherapist;
    • pharmacist;
    • occupational therapist;
    • dietitian;
    • exercise physiologist;
    • audiologist;
    • chiropractor;
    • osteopath;
  • the conduct of human medical research trials;
  • the following mental health services:
    • hospital emergency or inpatient mental health services;
    • private psychiatry practice;
    • mental health services in community settings.

To avoid doubt, a person who provides the following health services is not an essential worker for these Directions:

  • cosmetic surgery or procedures that are elective and do not address significant medical conditions;
  • non-urgent elective surgery.