COVID-19 Update 30 March 2020

Australian governments met yesterday as the National Cabinet to take further action to slow the spread of coronavirus. The Cabinet noted that the increase in virus infections is slowing, and social distancing measures will be in place for at least six months.

However, with over 3600 cases of COVID19 across Australia, we are still in early days. On the positive side, currently Australia does not have widespread community transmission of COVID-19. However, the rapid escalation of cases in NSW and Victoria in particular, suggests that we are not far short of entering into a further lock-down phase.

Key government responses are around control of the spread of COVID-19, with a particular emphasis on the return of international travellers. All travellers returning home from overseas will be quarantined in a hotel or designated facility for 14 days. This took effect from 11.59pm Saturday 28 March. 

The Government is also looking at the follow-up to the $17.6 billion economic support package to encourage investment and keep people in jobs. Each State and Territory jurisdiction has also released their own stimulus packages, designed to maintain cash flow to businesses and support workers. Details are available on our COVID-19 webpage.

Key issues

Vintage 2020 still has 3-4 weeks to run, and we have concentrated efforts on maintaining the ability to continue vintage and to maintain a workforce. The Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud is currently supporting the grape and wine sector as an essential industry that will continue to operate.

There has never been a more important time for the grape and wine industry to demonstrate its responsible nature. This means that the industry needs to be very careful about its media strategies and make sure we send the right messages. It is very important that we promote responsible consumption. Some really good material to reference here is the Drinkwise messaging about responsible drinking during self-isolation.

If the industry wants to retain the respect of the community and the government, and maintain our right to the privileged position of an essential industry, we must act accordingly. This means responsible marketing and advertising; ensuring the labour force is treated well and does not pose a risk to the community from COVID-19 transmission due to poor work practices; and promoting responsible consumption.


Drinking in Moderation
DrinkWise have prepared a video featuring Dr Andrew Rochford and posted this to social media earlier on Friday – we also shared it on our social pages. It contains sound advice around moderation and looking out for one another. It would be appreciated if you could re-post the video on your company social feeds to help extend the reach of the message –

In addition to this video, they have created a page on their website to provide consumers with reminders, particularly about role modelling and drinking guidelines  Press and radio interviews with Dr Rochford have begun seeding into media channels and will continue in coming days. We will start to promote this messaging vigorously this week.


Pubs, licensed clubs and hotels (excluding accommodation), places of worship, gyms, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, beauty salons, play centres and other public places must be closed. There are restrictions on attendance at weddings, funerals and outdoor fitness classes. Restaurants and cafes may only serve takeaway. Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open.


Alcohol retail outlets, except for bottle shops, and stores for takeaway, and on-line have now been closed across the country. The boom in on-line sales continues and Endeavour Drinks have contacted us about trying to work to get more small wineries into their Dan Murphy’s on-line platform, and to help them provide to local Woolworths liquor retail outlets to help meet the on-line demand.


Risk management procedures
If Australia proceeds with further restrictions (which they will), and businesses are formally designated as ‘essential’, then it is highly likely we will need to have procedures in place for vineyards and wineries to continue to operate. New Zealand has already gone down this route. We are currently preparing a guide to help wineries establish their own risk management processes within the winery which should be released tomorrow. Safe Work Australia have also prepared some very useful material.


Wine industry update

With grape and wine production classified as an essential service, the 2020 vintage can continue. However, for wine to maintain this classification, we are urging wineries to implement rigorous hygiene and social distancing protocols. 

SA Health has advised that a COVID-19 testing station and other voluntary measures will be established in Barossa Valley, to slow the rate of spread of transmission from the cluster identified in the region. This testing station is being set up specifically for people who have been asked to self-isolate and are displaying COVID-19 symptoms.

See the Barossa Valley Update Information COVID-19 Facebook page for up to date information.


The West Australian director for Liquor Licensing on Friday issued an amendment to the previous restrictions to the sales of alcohol, that will now allow WA wine producers to sell one carton of 12 x 750 ml bottles per week (or 2 cartons of 6 x 750ml bottles per week) to each customer via mail order or online. Additionally, they can fulfil all wholesale orders as required. The notice was published in the Government Gazette and came into effect at 12.30pm today.  It revokes the previous notice.


The AWRI has provided the wine industry with information on sanitisation practices for grape and wine businesses.  While the coronavirus is mainly spread from person to person, via respiratory droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze, these droplets containing the virus can land on surfaces, and transmission may be possible through contact with contaminated surfaces. It is believed that human coronaviruses can remain viable for hours to days on metal, glass or plastic surfaces.  To ensure you are practicing correct hygene procedures in your business, please read the AWRI’s eBulletin on Winery Sanitation and COVID-19. Further guidance along these lines will be provided to members in tomorrow’s update.

Finlaysons Lawyers have a dedicated COVID-19 Webpage on their website, illustrating a range of potential issues regarding coronavirus in businesses.  For the wine sector in particular, Force Majeure Clause Answers for the Wine Industry.


Australian Grape & Wine are maintaining and updating our COVID-19 Website on a daily basis.  Please refer to this for wine industry related information relating to COVID-19.  You can also keep on top of regular updates through our social media channels:






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