New COVID restrictions for bodies corporate

13 December 2021

On 17 December 2021 new covid-19 restrictions, linked to vaccination status, come into effect. Some of the restrictions will apply to bodies corporate, including restricting unvaccinated persons from accessing certain parts of scheme land.

Our previous view, which was published on lookupstrata, was that:

  1.  there was no ability for committees to restrict facilities based on vaccination status or to include such a restriction in a by-law; and
  2.  to restrict facilities based on vaccination status, there would need to be:

a. a public health order specifically distinguishing between vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons using a particular facility; and

b. new regulations introduced to facilitate the committee implementing such a restriction.

The new covid-19 restrictions that will take effect from 17 December 2021 provide that, in relation to short term rentals or short term accommodation:

  1. only persons that have been permitted under the booking are allowed to stay overnight in the short term accommodation;
  2. anyone attending the short term accommodation must check in once at the beginning of their stay (but not every time they enter the accommodation);
  3. must operate in accordance with the COVID safe checklist;
  4. restricted areas, such as cafes, dining rooms, pubs, nightclubs or restaurants within a scheme are unable to be accessed by unvaccinated persons (but unvaccinated persons are permitted elsewhere in the venue); and
  5. an occupancy density applies of one person per 2 square meters for indoor areas accessible by visitors and guests.

A copy of the health directive can be found here. Restrictions on short term accommodation are specifically covered off in “Schedule 1B – Unvaccinated persons may enter – other requirements apply to venue“.

The scope of these restrictions seemingly apply to the operator of the short term accommodation or the restricted area, such that bodies corporate (at the moment):

  1. will have little or no obligations in relation to these restrictions; and
  2. are not required to (and still cannot) impose their own restrictions on unvaccinated persons.

Common property pools are not caught by these restrictions as the restrictions only apply to indoor pools that are open to the public.

There may be ancillary obligations in relation to implementing the COVID safe checklist that the committee ought to at least be aware of.

Feel free to contact our dedicated body corporate team if you need help understanding how the restrictions impact on your body corporate.