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COVID-19 Update 24 March 2020

The response to COVID-19 continues to be dynamic and fluid, with Government regulations and stimulus packages announced almost daily.  Australian Grape & Wine continues to provide our members and the greater Australian wine sector with as much information that comes to hand on our dedicated COVID-19 Webpage.

The objective of this website is to provide as much up to date information as possible, on a single website, to grape and wine businesses. We will do our best to update this page as soon as information changes, but given the rapidly evolving nature of government responses at the Federal, State and Territory levels, we cannot ensure all information is up to date at all times. Therefore, we urge businesses to refer to the official government advice when making commercial decisions (links are provided on the webpage and below). 

 

Federal Government update

In addition to the information provided yesterday, the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, the Hon. David Littleproud MP, has appointed Mark Tucker, a former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, as Senior Agriculture Industry Engagement Officer. Mr Tucker will act as a single point of contact for agriculture industry stakeholders who wish to contact the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and will work with state and territory governments, and other Federal Government agencies to inform decision making.


State Government update

With the assistance of our colleagues in the State Wine Associations around Australia, we have collated some information for our members across the country for each state:

 

Australian Capital Territory
At the time of writing, grape and wine businesses in the ACT can observe the following:

  • All Winery operations can remain working
  • All Vineyard operations can remain working
  • All DTC (Wine Club) operations can remain in operation
  • All Freight of wine and grapes can continue
  • Cellar Doors can remain open but only for the sale of packaged wine (and take away food) for consumption off-premise

 Grape and wine businesses in the ACT can access further information specific to their business at the following territory government websites:

ACT Health Updates for COVID-19

 

New South Wales
In New South Wales, the Public Health Covid -19 Places of Social Gathering Order 2020, dated 23 March 2020 has been enacted.  The Order states food and drink can be purchased for consumption off-premises, including cellar door premises.

At the time of writing, grape and wine businesses in NSW can observe the following:

  • All Winery operations can remain working
  • All Vineyard operations can remain working
  • All DTC (Wine Club) operations can remain in operation
  • All Freight of wine and grapes can continue
  • Cellar Doors can remain open but only for the sale of packaged wine (and take away food) for consumption off-premise


Grape and wine businesses in NSW can access further information specific to their business at the following state government websites: 


Queensland
In Queensland, under the National Cabinet agreement to implement new rules for places where Australians gather to stop the spread of COVID-19, as of 12.00pm on 23 March 2020, the following types of businesses were closed:

  • all liquor licensees including clubs, hotels and bars (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues) and hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • restaurants, cafes, (though takeaways, home deliveries or room service may still be offered)

Cellar doors, therefore, can continue to operate at this stage, however tastings are not allowed, but takeaway sales of wine and other food/beverages can be sold for consumption off-premises.

For further information for Queensland grape and wine businesses, read the Queensland Health’s Chief Health Officer’s announcement.

Additional requirements for the provision of takeaway in Queensland are as follows:

  • Personal distancing, including keeping 1.5 metres between people must be accommodated, implemented and monitored by employees or contractors of the retail foodservice provider;
  • Gathering for the purposes of ordering or collecting must not exceed one person per 4 square metres; and
  • The retail foodservice provider may only operate to the extent they are not promoting or facilitating persons consuming takeaway food or drink on or adjacent to their premises.

    Example: tables and chairs should be removed and all reasonable steps taken by the retail foodservice to direct persons from gathering to consume takeaway food or drink on or adjacent to, the relevant premise.

 
Grape and wine businesses in Queensland can access further information specific to their business at the following state government websites:

  

South Australia
In South Australia, the Emergency Management Act 2004 – Non-essential business (and other gatherings) closure direction has been enacted.  The Direction includes production and sales licenses including outdoor spaces associated with venues where the outdoor space is licensed (Cellar doors and associated dining/gathering areas).  Public access is prohibited. The Direction requires these licensed premises to prohibit access to the members of the public and no member of the public is to enter the licensed premises.

Wine sales can continue (e.g. on-line or postal sales). Beverages can be provided to be consumed away from the licensed premises. Takeaway beverages ie, coffee and wine sales are allowed according to your license, but no tastings or gatherings within the licensed premises are allowed.

Penalties for not following the Direction are $75,000 for a body corporate and $20,000 for a natural person.

Grape and wine businesses in South Australia can access further information specific to their business at the following state government websites:

Tasmania
In Tasmania, cellar doors can continue to operate for now, with due consideration to personal distancing and hygiene procedures to sell wine for takeaway. With the most recent announcement by the Prime Minister, cellar doors should only offer wine (and food/coffee, if appropriate) for takeaway and not onsite consumption. It is still unclear in Tasmania if wine tastings are permitted or recommended, and we are awaiting advice from the Tasmanian Health Department. However, given the circumstances, it would be wise to heed advice from other jurisdictions and minimise contact - in cellar doors as well as in vineyards and wineries, applying social distancing and hygiene procedures in all areas.

Grape and wine businesses in Tasmania can access further information specific to their business at the following state government websites:

Victoria
In Victoria, the Victorian Premier’s statement on non-essential activity confirms the following:

Vintage: continue as normal using best practice hygiene measures. Only those businesses listed in the stage 1 shutdown need to close – other businesses can continue until advised otherwise.

Cellar doors can continue to operate as a takeaway venue only for the service of food and drink/wine consumed off-premises, observing the Chief Health Officer’s advice. People cannot consume food or wine on-site.

Grape and wine businesses in Victoria can access further information specific to their business at the following state government websites:

Western Australia
In Western Australia, on Sunday, 22 March - Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed to implement, through state and territory laws, new Stage 1 restrictions on social gatherings.

Western Australians should expect these measures to be in place for at least 6 months.

The following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

  • Pubs, registered and licensed clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery 

Cellar doors therefore can continue to operate at this stage, however tastings are not allowed, but takeaway sales of wine and other food/beverages can be sold for consumption off-premises. 

Grape and wine businesses in Western Australia can access further information specific to their business at the following state government websites: