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COVID-19 Q&A's

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Questions

Domestic and International Travel

  • Can I still travel within the Territory?
  • All non-essential travel is strongly discouraged. The Territory is not open for tourism at this point in time. 
  • There are designated biosecurity areas in the Territory. You cannot enter designated biosecurity areas unless you are an approved remote essential worker. There are no restrictions on leaving a designated biosecurity area, however, anyone wishing to re-enter must also quarantine for 14 days in an excluded area within the Northern Territory prior to re-entering or demonstrate they are an approved remote essential worker. For more information, go to https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel/designated-areas-and-remote-communities
  • Everyone is strongly urged to stay home. If for some reason you must travel, you can do so if you are not going to a designated biosecurity area.
  • Can I still travel domestically?
  • All non-essential travel is strongly discouraged.
  • From 11.59pm on Wednesday 1 April, all arrivals in the NT, including Territory residents, will be required to spend 14 days in forced quarantine at a hotel nominated and paid for by the Northern Territory Government. 
  • From 11.59pm on Friday 3 April, all arrivals, including Territory residents, will be required to spend 14 days in forced quarantine at a hotel nominated by the Northern Territory Government, paid for by the traveller. 
  • Can I travel internationally?
  • There is a ban on Australians travelling overseas, implemented on 25 March.

Biosecurity Act

  • What does the Biosecurity Act mean?
  • There are designated biosecurity areas in the Territory to protect remote communities from the spread of COVID-19.
  • You cannot enter designated biosecurity areas unless you are an approved remote essential worker. 
  • There are no restrictions on leaving a designated biosecurity area, however, anyone wishing to re-enter must also quarantine for 14 days in an excluded area within the Northern Territory prior to re-entering, or demonstrate they are an approved remote essential worker. 
  • For more information, go to https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel/designated-areas-and-remote-communities
  • How can I be listed as an approved remote essential worker?
  • Only approved remote essential workers can now visit remote communities. Exemptions will be granted to those requiring entry to provide an essential service.
  • An exemption must be sought and approved prior to travel.
  • Aboriginal land councils will be involved in the permissions process.
  • If you are required to deliver essential services in Northern Territory designated areas, each employee in your organisation will need to apply for an Approved Remote Essential Worker ID card. To do this you must follow the process outlined on https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/travel/designated-areas-and-remote-communities/approved-remote-essential-workers

Self-quarantine, Self-isolation or Forced quarantine

  • What is the difference between self-isolation, self-quarantine and forced quarantine?
  • Self-isolation is if the person has potentially been in contact with someone who has been identified as COVID-19 positive, or has recently returned from overseas. Isolation is used when the guest has been diagnosed as being infected, and is in compulsory isolation for infection control reasons either in a medical facility or another supervised location such as a hotel.
  • Self-quarantine is if the person has arrived in the Territory and are well – they must self-quarantine for 14 days as a precaution. This is only applicable for arrivals BEFORE 11.59pm Wednesday 1 April. 
  • Forced quarantine is if the person has arrived in the Territory:
    • After midnight on Wednesday 1 April – they must spend 14 days in a hotel nominated and paid for by the Northern Territory Government. 
    • After midnight on Friday 3 April – they must spend 14 days in a hotel nominated by the Northern Territory Government, paid for by the traveller. 
  • Who needs to quarantine? 
  • All non-exempt persons including Territory residents who arrive in the Northern Territory after 11.59pm on Wednesday 1 April 2020, are required to spend 14 days in forced quarantine at a hotel nominated and paid for by the Northern Territory Government.
  • All non-exempt persons including Territory residents who arrive in the Northern Territory after 11.59pm on Friday 3 April 2020, are required to spend 14 days in forced quarantine at a hotel nominated by the Northern Territory Government, paid for by the traveller.
  • I’m a Territorian returning to the Territory – can I quarantine at my home?
  • No. 
  • What should people do if they believe someone is not self-quarantining when they are required to do so?
  • Call 131 444 to report non-compliance.

Forced quarantine - Advice for Accommodation Providers

  • How can my hotel be selected as a forced quarantine location?
  • Self-quarantine requirements have changed due to the Northern Territory Government's decision to move any and all arrivals into a 14 day forced quarantine at an NT Government chosen hotel. 
  • Hotels providing accommodation for forced quarantine were selected through an ‘Expressions of Interest’ process by the Northern Territory Government. At this stage, there is no ability to nominate your hotel.
  • I nominated my hotel as a self-isolation location, do I need to renominate?
  • Self-quarantine requirements have changed due to the Northern Territory Government's decision to move any and all arrivals into a 14 day forced quarantine at an NT Government chosen hotel. 
  • We thank all hotel operators who confirmed their availability to host self-isolating patrons and wish to advise that a centralised listing of available operators is no longer required. 
  • What to do if my hotel is selected as a forced quarantine location? 
  • If selected as a forced quarantine location, it is important that staff follow all precautions.  
  • Patrons who are in forced quarantine are not to leave the room. Shared facilities like swimming pools or gym facilities are not to be used. 
  • Patrons who are in forced quarantine will need to arrange for meals to be delivered by room service or food delivery services. Staff must not enter the room and must leave the meal outside the door.
  • Staff must not enter the room to clean – linen, towels and other items should be left outside the door. Once the patron has finished the 14 days of forced quarantine, the room should be thoroughly cleaned.
  • The hotel will be guarded.
  • What if a patron becomes ill?
  • If a person who is under forced quarantine develops symptoms, the Public Health authority should be contacted on 08 8922 8044 and they should be seen urgently by a doctor at a hospital. It is important to phone ahead to the hospital or doctor to get advice. 

Business Advice and Support

  • What support is available for businesses?
  • For information and resources to help you manage your small business, go to https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/community-advice/business
  • A list of available support services to help businesses and operators navigate the impacts of COVID-19 can also be found here
  • Will businesses be advised when we can reopen, or will it be up to individuals to decide?
  • Revoking the bans on mass gatherings, border control and measures introduced under the Biosecurity Act will be taken by the State/Territory and Australian governments. It will be up to individual businesses when they reopen when things are back to normal.
  • Should we be closing offices and working from home if able?
  • This is a decision for individual business owners.
  • What to do if a guest or visitor develops symptoms at your business?
  • You should ask the guest or visitor to self-isolate and call the COVID-19 hotline: 1800 008 002.
     
  • Can I refuse service to guests / customers if they appear to be sick?
  • You have the right to ask visitors, guests and customers to provide information in advance about whether they have flu-like symptoms, have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or have travelled internationally in the last 14 days.
     
  • What is the notification process for tourism and hospitality operators?
  • Public health measures are required in establishments found to have hosted a confirmed case.
  • The Public Health Unit will:
    • Liaise directly with the business
    • Handle all clinical requirements for your staff and/or customers (if necessary)
    • Provide information for staff and management including cleaning and how to manage the issue ongoing
    • Ordinarily businesses will not be named in the media unless in it is in the public’s best interest to track people down
       
  • How can I manage cancellations?
  • Be pro-active in reaching out to existing bookings to provide them with information
  • Check your current cancellation policy
  • Ensure you’re clear about your refund strategy
  • Provide advice for new bookings
  • Ask guests/customers to check their insurance policy.
     
  • What mental health support is there available for me or other operators? 
  • Northern Territory Mental Health Line 1800 682 288 
  • Lifeline 13 11 14 
  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36 
  • Head to Health 
  • Mensline Australia 1300 789 978 
  • EASA Counselling, Training, Mediation and Consulting 1800 193 123 
  • Catholic Care NT 8944 2000 

Visas

  • Can I temporarily move a sponsored employee to work in a different occupation or make changes to the work duties during COVID-19?
  • Temporary sponsored employees (i.e. holders of subclass 457 and Temporary Skill Shortage Visa subclass 482) have conditions on their visas requiring them to be employed with their sponsoring employer in the nominated occupation. 
  • Breach of these conditions can lead to visa cancellation, and can also place the business in breach of its sponsorship obligations. 
  • However, taking adverse actions against visa holders and/or employers for breach is discretionary on the Department of Home Affairs, and all circumstances will be taken into account in making such decisions. 
  • My sponsored overseas employees cannot return to work due to travel restrictions, what are my obligations? 
  • If you opt to keep the positions for your employees open, you can do so. The employees will not be in breach of conditions if they are on approved paid or unpaid leave, provided that any such leave does not exceed 12 months.
  • If the visa holders are no longer employed by your business, you should notify the Department of Home Affairs in writing. 
     
  • I have had to lay off sponsored employees due to the COVID-19 crisis. What will happen to their visas?
  • Temporary sponsored visa holders will technically be in breach of visa conditions if they are not employed with their sponsoring business for more than 60 days and this can lead to visa cancellation. However, if they are on approved leave with or without pay, they will generally not be in breach, provided that the leave does not exceed 12 months. Cancelling visas for breach is discretionary on the Department of Home Affairs and all circumstances will be taken into account in making such decisions.
  • Are visa holders who have lost jobs due eligible for any welfare support?
  • Visa holders who are on permanent visas (e.g. holders of Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme subclass 187, permanent skilled Nominated Visa subclass 190) are eligible for Centrelink payments such as the Job Seeker Allowance. The normal waiting period of 4 years to qualify will be waived for some payments. 
  • Unfortunately at this stage, there is no welfare support available for temporary visa holders. 
  • Visa holders who wish to seek alternative employment can register themselves on the Territory Jobs Hub, which can be accessed via https://cited.com.au/territory-jobs-hub/. 
  • For specific migration queries in relation to your migrant workforce, please contact the MigrationNT team direct on either Tel: 89995264 or email [email protected]

Physical Distancing

  • Can we accept bookings from local Territorians seeking leisure stays?
  • The direction from the Prime Minister is that people should stay home and not undertake any non-essential travel.
  • The Chief Minister is encouraging Territorians to stay home if they can.
  • We understand you may have existing bookings from Territorians. Current requirements are:
    • Swimming pools can remain open but guests must abide by physical distancing requirements in the pool. Mass gatherings requirements should be adhered to around the pool (maximum two people unless from the same family/household)
    • Takeaway food and drink only
    • No playgrounds
    • No spas 
    • No gyms or fitness centres
    • No shared indoor facilities
    • No shared indoor cooking facilities
    • Shared outdoor cooking facilities such as outdoor bbqs can stay open but guests must abide by the mass gatherings requirements (maximum two people unless from the same family/household) 
    • Shared bathrooms must adhere to physical distancing measures (maximum two people unless from the same family/household) and follow hygiene requirements (facility must be cleaned between uses)
    • Any camping must adhere to physical distancing requirements (tents should be placed minimum 1.5 metres apart)
  • Will the limit on outdoor gatherings be policed in the NT?
  • The Prime Minister has advised that no more than two people may gather in public unless they’re from the same family/household. 
  • The Chief Minister is calling on all Territorians to do the right thing. NT Police is enforcing the 10 person rule and encouraging people to adopt the two person rule.
  • If people see others not adopting the physical distancing requirements they can report on 131 444.
     
  • Can we still go for bushwalks and bike rides? 
  • People can still leave their homes to exercise as long as they observe the physical distancing measures i.e. stay 1.5 meters apart and in groups of no more than two persons. 
  • Family groups can bushwalk/bike ride together.
     
  • What should people do if they believe someone is not abiding by physical distancing?
  • Call 131 444 to report non-compliance.
     
  • Are fishing operators able to take a guests / guests on a boat with appropriate physical distancing?    
  • The Prime Minister has announced that no more than two people should gather in public unless from the same family or household. In addition, the direction from the Prime Minister is that people should stay home and not undertake any non-essential travel.  
  • A fishing tour operator is required to operate under the prescribed rules outlined at https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/community-advice/gatherings 

NT Parks and Reserves

  • Are NT Parks and Reserves open?
  • From 5pm Thursday 26 March 2020, the following are closed:
    • High-use day use areas
    • Multiday walks
    • All campgrounds
  • Some National Parks will be entirely closed to protect nearby remote communities. 
  • To check if a Park or Reserve is open, go to https://nt.gov.au/leisure/parks-reserves/plan-your-visit
  • Are Uluru and Kakadu open?
  • From 24 March 2020, Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks will be temporarily closed to visitors and other non-essential travellers for a minimum of two weeks.

Events and Mass Gatherings

  • I have questions about an event or mass gathering
  • Call the mass gatherings hotline on 1800 518 055

What is Tourism NT doing?

  • What is Tourism NT doing?
  • The most important thing we can do right now, is to assist our industry to access the range of business support packages made available for them. We are in the process of calling each and every tourism operator in the NT making sure you know what support is available to you.
  • We are also working hard in coordination with Tourism Australia, the domestic travel trade, our interstate media and international trade partners to ensure the Territory is ready for the recovery phase, by continuing to build demand and then be back in market driving crucial bookings as soon as we're able.
  • Our thoughts are with all of our NT operators during this difficult time.
  • What about the business events sector? PCOs, event management, exhibition?
  • Northern Territory Business Events (NTBE) is actively working with domestic and international business events planners to encourage postponement of confirmed business events, rather than cancel, to ensure the NT business events sector will benefit, once the market recovers. Whilst the situation is continually evolving, this forms a critical part of NTBE’s forward planning to ensure volume visitation into the Territory, at a time when it will be most needed by the local business events sector.

Contacts

  • I have questions about the support available for my business
  • Call the Business Enterprise Centre NT on 08 8923 6133
  • Call the Chamber of Commerce hotline on 08 8982 8188
  • I have questions about mass gatherings
  • Call the mass gatherings hotline on 1800 518 055
  • I have questions about travelling and border restrictions
  • Call the travel hotline on 1800 518 189.
  • I need to arrange COVID-19 testing
  • Call the NT hotline on 1800 008 002.
  • If you live in Darwin and need to arrange testing, call the Public Health Unit on 8922 8044.
  • I have a question relating to COVID-19 
  • Call the national hotline on 1800 020 080.
  • I want to report someone for non-compliance 
  • Call 131 444

Tourism NT Industry Updates

Below is a collection of the Industry Update newsletters since the COVID-19 global outbreak.

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Page last updated on 06 April 2020