Rule change to ensure critical work goes ahead

Published Sunday, 09 January, 2022 at 01:02 PM


Premier and Minister for the Olympics
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Critical Queensland workers will be able to provide essential services while they are classified close contacts provided they meet strict health criteria.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the move was restricted to a narrow range of industries to ensure essential services and supplies like groceries, petrol, energy, water, freight and others could continue. 

Workers will need to be fully vaccinated and must wear a mask.

They must be asymptomatic.

Critical or essential workers who are eligible and are able to work during the usual close contact quarantine period will be required to: 

  • travel to and from work in a private vehicle
  • while travelling and working, wear appropriate PPE
  • maintain personal hygiene (hand washing etc)
  • undertake regular symptom surveillance 
  • undertake a RAT on Day 6, consistent with the requirements for all close contacts.

If at any stage they develop symptoms, they need to return to quarantine immediately.

“We know the number of COVID-19 cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks,” the Premier said.

“People need to be able to have their lights on, have food in the fridge and have running water.

“We want to ensure our hospitals are staffed, food continues to be delivered to our supermarkets and we can still fill our cars at the petrol station.”

Employers need to determine if their organisation or business falls under the narrow list of critical industries, then identify which roles within their organisation are critical and cannot be performed from home, before notifying the Queensland Government.

A ‘critically essential worker’ will be defined as someone employed in one of the following industries, who must be in the workplace to do their job:

  • health 
  • emergency services, including Police
  • the resource sector  
  • power/utilities
  • agriculture and fisheries production
  • freight and logistics
  • public transport
  • teachers
  • essential retail such as supermarkets and stores in remote locations/communities
  • major manufacturing, distribution, and critical supply chains (for example food and petrol).

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the approach was a balanced one to ensure people had access to essential supplies and services.

“That’s why we’ve specified a number of precautions that close contacts need to follow if they are going to attend their place of work,” the Minister said.

“Once they receive a negative Day 6 RAT result they can continue going about their normal routine without the additional requirements.”

While they can go to work if they are a critical worker, they must continue to follow all other quarantine requirements.