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Guide to writing a COVID19 Management Plan

What is a COVID-19 Management Plan and why is it needed?

A COVID-19 Management Plan is a detailed document that demonstrates why organisations think their work is critical and requires workers from ‘hotspots’ to enter into the Northern Territory (NT). It also demonstrates how their employees will work to minimise the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to Territorians and other workers.

An approved COVID-19 Management Plan allows workers from a hotspot to apply for entry into the NT to work and quarantine when they are not at work. COVID-19 Management Plans are only valid if approved by the Chief Health Officer or his delegate.

Does a COVID-19 Management Plan exempt workers from quarantine?

An approved COVID-19 Management Plan provides details of how a worker is going to work and quarantine during the 14 days after they leave a hotspot. It exempts workers from mandatory supervised quarantine, but they are still required to quarantine at a suitable alternate location.

A worker must remain in quarantine until 12 noon 14 days after they leave a hotspot. Example: if a worker leaves a hotspot on 1 November and enters the NT on the 5 November their quarantine period will end at 12 noon on the 15 November.

Who can apply for an exemption to mandatory supervised quarantine under a COVID-19 Management Plan?

The Chief Health Officer’s Directions allows for some people to undertake critical, urgent and essential services under alternate quarantine arrangements. Examples of service areas that may be considered include:

  • Transport or freight of goods into, within or out of the Territory.
  • Essential, critical or urgent maintenance or repair of power, water and communications.
  • Agriculture industry worker.

What if I am a subcontractor?

If a company is acting as a subcontractor, and needs to send employees to the NT from a hotspot, they are required to meet the same exemption criteria as the principal contractor and must supply their own COVID-19 Management Plan. The subcontractor requires a supporting letter or contract from the principal contractor as evidence when they submit their COVID-19 Management Plan.

What type of information must be included in a COVID-19 Management Plan?

The COVID-19 Management Plan must detail what procedures are in place, and what actions will be taken to minimise the risk of spread of COVID-19.  The plan must address the following criteria:

The scope of works, location of the work and why it is essential, critical and urgent that a worker from a hotspot conducts the work.

All workers coming from a hotspot must remain in quarantine for 14 days after leaving a hotspot or until they leave the NT (if less than 14 days).

Travel and accommodation

How workers will enter and exit the NT, travel from the border to their accommodation, and from the accommodation to the worksite e.g. hire car, company car, taxi. Organisations need to provide:

  • Process for cleaning a shared vehicle.
  • Written Road Travel Plan if travelling by road, and accommodation is more than one hour from the border.
  • Details of how 1.5m physical distancing is managed while travelling and what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be worn? e.g. face mask.
  • The location and style of accommodation e.g. single room with ensuite, donga, shared facilities etc. If facilities are shared details of how workers will maintain 1.5m physical distancing and clean shared areas.
  • Process for essential supplies at accommodation and work site e.g. food, medicines, personal supplies.
  • Details for supplies of PPE, hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes.

Physical distancing requirements

Applicants must maintain 1.5m physical distance at all times while in quarantine and be separate from other staff and Territorians during their quarantine. Organisations need to provide:

  • Process for separating staff in shared common spaces like meal areas, bathrooms, work site.
  • Process for use of shared equipment.
  • Contactless receipt and collection processes for materials/equipment.
  • Communication - use of interactive communications and technology such as hand held radios, mobile phones, teleconferencing.

Workers must wear a face mask in all common indoor areas if physical distancing can’t be maintained.

Workplace hygiene requirements

  • Process to distribute and encourage use of cleaning and sanitising products.
  • Protocols for sanitising high touch surfaces, shared spaces, tools and equipment.
  • Protocols for contactless refuelling and sanitising after use.
  • Managing waste.
  • Process for encouraging regular hand and personal hygiene practices.

Monitoring and identifying COVID-19 symptoms

Workers coming from a hotspot require a COVID-19 test in the 72 hours prior to travel, to self-isolate after the test and only travel if the test is negative. Organisations need to provide details of how they will identify and manage staff with COVID-19 symptoms including:

  • Screening staff for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Isolating unwell employees and monitoring their health.
  • Notifying health authorities of suspected COVID-19 cases including the NT COVID-19 hotline on 1800 008 002.
  • Testing a symptomatic worker (may include transfer to a health service or a self-test).
  • Compliance with medical directions from CDC medical/nursing staff.

What is the process for submitting a COVID-19 Management Plan and how long does it take?

A COVID-19 Management Plan is completed and lodged online.

Prior to commencing an application, a business needs to have their supporting documentation ready to attach. When the application is submitted, a case file (ticket) is created and the applicant receives a reference number e.g. CHOE-9999 via email. The COVID-19 Management Plan is assessed against strict criteria to ensure the quarantine requirements will be met, and is approved or declined by the Chief Health Officer or his delegate. During the assessment process, an assessor will call the applicant to discuss the details of the plan and the nature of the work the hotspot employees will undertake. The decision made by the Chief Health Officer is final and the applicant is advised by email. Allow up to 10 business days for processing.

If approved, how long does my COVID-19 Management Plan remain valid?

Approval of COVID-19 Management Plans is for six months unless there are changes to the Chief Health Officer Directions or declarations of further hotspots. An approved COVID-19 Management Plan can be revoked if circumstances change.

What happens if I need to change my COVID-19 Management Plan?

If an approved COVID-19 Management Plan requires changes contact the Border Restrictions Hotline on 1800 490 484 or email doh.exempt@nt.gov.au to discuss the changes required.  A new and updated COVID-19 Management Plan will need to be submitted and may need approval by the Chief Health Officer or his delegate.

How do workers apply to quarantine under the company’s COVID-19 Management Plan?

Workers coming from a hotspot, and requesting entry into the NT under their organisation’s COVID-19 Management Plan are required to submit their own online application.

When completing this form, the applicant will be required to enter the reference code for their organisation’s COVID-19 Management Plan e.g. CHOE-9999. This will automatically link the applications and be used as a basis for the assessment and approval.

Workers are also required to complete an online Border Entry Form in the seven days prior to travel.

More information