How COVID-19 is affecting the Australian Food Industry
Updated: 30th March 2020 11:00AM
As we know, the global situation with coronavirus is very dynamic, which means the severity, and therefore the National and State Government response can change within hours. So, stay tuned as we update you daily as to what the food industry can expect going forward under coronavirus.
As of midday 23rd March, the closure of public gathering venues to limit the spread of the virus, as such includes:
• Restaurants & licensed area of hotels connected to hotels for the public
• Entertainment venues
Update 25 March 2020 12:30PM • Shopping centre food courts seating areas to be cordoned off - only take away available from food court retailers
While they are closed to patrons, they are limited to only providing take-away or home delivery services and customers have to consume the meals off-site, preferably taking to their homes and eating there.
Specific exceptions apply:
• Cafés or canteens at hospitals
• Care homes or schools
• Prison and military canteens
• services providing food or drink to the homeless
• workplace canteens can provide takeaway
At present, the advice from chief medical experts is that the virus cannot be transmitted through food, however it is important that strict food safety and hygiene regulations are adhered to.
Update 30th March 2020 11:00AM Federal Minister of Agriculture has assured that "Australia's food production and supply chain will not be affected by coronavirus shutdowns"
This means that food production and supply is considered an essential service to Australian households, and must continue to operate during any shutdowns. "State-imposed border shutdowns will not affect supply chains ... trucks carrying food and produce will get through to the shops"
Further to these national measures, states & territories have enforced further restrictions that they have deemed necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19.
From midday 23rd March 2020, lockdown of all non-essential services, this means closure of:
• Indoor sporting venues
• Restaurant dining – take away and home delivery is only available
New South Wales
On 23rd March 2020, further restrictions across the state include the closure of:
• Pubs/registered clubs
• Entertainment facilities
• Amusement centers
• Closure of state borders from midnight 25th March 2020
UPDATE 26th March 2020 - What does this mean?
Essential services like transportation / freight of food-related goods will be allowed to cross the border without having to self-quarantine for 14 days if they have applied for an entry pass here
From Monday 23rd March 2020, SA government announced closures of:
• Borders closed indefinitely with entrants forced into 14-day quarantine upon arrival
As of 1:30pm Tuesday 24th March 2020, anyone entering WA will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, applying to all access points of travel.
UPDATE 26th March 2020 - Access to remote Aboriginal communities will be barred, and roadblocks enforced by Police.
Further to the existing border controls already in place because of COVID-19, Tasmania has enforced the following closures:
• Major events / markets
• All entrants must self-quarantine for 14 days
From Tuesday 24th March 2020, Northern Territory are enforcing strict border controls, with Police controlling the entry of persons into NT. Any entrants must self-isolate for 14-days to minimise the spread of COVID-19.
How to continue trading?
The restrictions in place may pose a high risk for businesses in the food industry, with majorities of businesses impacted by banning dine-in patrons as restaurants/pubs etc.
With this being the case, restaurants are encouraged to look at innovative ways to keep their businesses afloat by incorporating ready-meals into their day-to-day operations, as a means to encourage consumer spend and drill up business for local small business.
To further this, contactless delivery options have proved incredibly popular with customers, especially those in a quarantine unable to make contact with others. How does it work?
Prepare meals as per normal
Ask that payment be from the customer via credit card
Arrive at the customer’s delivery address
Place the package on the doorstep / sturdy surface
Take 6 steps back
Ring the customer to advice that their package is at the doorstep
There we have it – contactless delivery