Transitioning out of COVID-19 restrictions

Operating a business during the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges. Unfortunately, many businesses closed for a period of time while others worked on reduced hours. And for others, staying open meant finding new ways of doing so, such as by providing virtual services. As the world starts to consider how to move out of pandemic restrictions, it’s important for all business owners to carefully consider the approach they’ll take and the associated risks. The fallout of COVID-19 is likely to be with us for some time, so we all need to be careful to not become complacent and make changes too quickly.

Government requirements

Firstly, all business owners need to be sure they’re keeping up to date with and adhering to government requirements and regulations. This can at times be challenging as the federal government is making recommendations, yet all state and territory governments are moving at different paces in terms of lifting restrictions. All business owners need to take responsibility for being sure they understand what they can and can’t yet do regarding their operations. Information about this can be found on the following websites:

Australian Federal Government - 


New South Wales -

Northern Territory -

Queensland -

South Australia -

Tasmania -

Victoria -

Western Australia -

Business owners may also wish to seek guidance and clarification from their professional association.

Gradual changes

While it’s understandable that business owners want to get back to how things were pre-pandemic, it’s advisable that changes aren’t made too quickly. Rushing could see changes being made which aren’t allowed or aren’t safe if they haven’t been carefully considered. It could also result in staff not understanding the changes and not adhering to them as they should. It’s important to remember we may not continue transitioning out of restrictions. Unfortunately restrictions could at any time be wound back which is another reason why a planned and measured approach is ideal.

All changes should be communicated to clients. This means they’ll feel reassured and trust that your business is continuing to operate safely. It also helps your clients understand what you expect from them to maintain this safety. This communication can be done in a variety of ways, such as by simply posting notices around the premises or sending email updates.

What works for you?

Not all businesses and business owners are the same and therefore how they provide services during the period of restrictions and how they transition out of these will, and should, differ. You should consider the following when planning to transition out of restrictions:

> Is the current way of working successful? If the changes you’ve made to the business during the restriction period have worked well for you, you may feel less urgency than others to move away from these.t of

> Does the service you provide require contact with others? The services provided by some professionals requires them to come into close contact with their clients, whereas other services can be offered from more of a distance. When thinking about making changes to your services, you need to carefully consider how close this will require you to be to your clients and if this is something you think you can do safely.

> Are your clients high risk in relation to COVID-19? If your clients are at an increased risk, possibly due to their age or health condition, this should be seriously considered when assessing how the business provides its services.

> Are you, or someone you live with, high risk? It’s not just the health of your clients you need to consider when making decisions about how to run your business. You also need to consider your health and that of those you live with. Remember, this is a highly contagious virus which can have devastating consequences; please don’t risk your or another person’s health.

Insurance cover

All business owners and professionals need to be sure they have insurance to cover them for what they do. During the period of restrictions, when some professionals changed the way they were working this led to changes in their insurance cover. Therefore, as you come out of restrictions and again change the way you provide services, you need to be sure your insurance covers those services as well as the hours you’ll be operating and the estimated income.

Trust your instinct

There are unfortunately cases of clients pleading with business owners to open when they aren’t ready and even when in breach of government restrictions. This puts unfair pressure on business owners to do the wrong thing to keep their clients happy. Of course one of the core functions of running a business is to keep clients happy and satisfied, after all they keep you in business. However this can’t be done when it’s potentially detrimental to the health of you or others. When making changes to come out of restrictions, ensure these are planned, well thought through and explained to your clients. If they do try to convince you otherwise, reiterate your reasons to them and don’t allow yourself to be convinced to do something you know isn’t appropriate.

In summary…

As more and more businesses are coming out of their restrictions and returning to their usual services, it can be very tempting to follow suit. However, please be sure no changes are made without careful consideration and planning, as the risks are too great.

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