Impact International is one of the packaging businesses in the NSW Fairfield LGA affected by the latest round of state government Covid-19 restrictions. PKN spoke to MD Aleks Lajovic.
Packaging staff who live in NSW's Fairfield local government area and travel to work in packaging businesses outside it, need to be tested every three days from now on, if they have no symptoms.
However, residents who live and work in Fairfield LGA do not need to be tested to come to work, unless they are showing symptoms. Staff who live outside Fairfield LGA and work inside also do not need to be tested, unless they have symptoms.
Testing can take place near the workplace, it does not have to be in Fairfield, providing the worker has no symptoms.
The outbreak is having a major impact on packaging businesses, with high rates of absenteeism as staff get tested, and wait at home for the results of those tests, and stay away from work if they have a cough or sniffle.
Aleks Lajovic, managing director of Impact International, which is in the Fairfield LGA said, “The government, which up to now has done a pretty good job, has got this wrong. How can staff who don’t live in the infected area come to work in that infected area then go home without testing? They could be taking the virus to their home area.”
Lajovic is also frustrated by the government’s lack of clarity on what constitutes essential work, he said, “Cafes are closed, but I drove past a car wash that was open today, how can that be essential work?”
NSW continues to battle the new Delta variant of Covid, with the first deaths this year recorded this week, and numbers infected bouncing around the 80-100 marker, however the numbers of people infectious in the community remains around the 25-30 marker, and this is the number that needs to get close to zero before restrictions end. Both numbers signal that the lockdown is halting the march of Covid.
Some 199,000 people live in Fairfield, with another 230,000 in neighbouring Liverpool, and 380,000 in Canterbury Bankstown, both of which are also areas of concern for the health authorities.
There are plenty of packaging staff who live in the Fairfield LGA, and in the neighbouring LGAs. Under the current lockdown across metro Sydney, packaging businesses are staying open, providing they adhere to the five main criteria for doing so.
Apart from Sydney other states and cities are now out of lockdown, though Victoria has just seen its first cases, and Queensland has a handful, but says they are contained. NSW on the other hand is battling continuing outbreaks. Most state borders are closed to Sydney and NSW residents, while WA has just closed its border to Victoria.
Packaging companies in Sydney have been allowed to continue operating under the latest outbreak, under five main caveats.
Those caveats include allowing staff who can work from home to do just that, so admin and sales staff should where possible not be coming into the workplace.
It also means staff at work need to wear masks at all times. Social distancing needs to be maintained, which includes the 1.5m rule, and maximum one person for every four sqm inside.
A Covid-safe plan needs to be implemented, communicated and understood by staff, and details of any visitors need to be registered.
Visiting clients in their workplace is a grey area, but caution is urged in all respects.