CODE 2, VOL 35, NO 7 : 29 March 2021
Immediate 3 day COVID-19 lockdown affecting your region
You’re no doubt aware that earlier this morning (MONDAY 29 March 2021), Premier Palaszczuk announced changes to the state’s COVID-19 response, and the changes affect the entire state. The changes take effect from 1700 Monday 29 March 2021.
This Code 2 summarises important information for all members in every QFRS region and contains information from the Queensland Health website. You can find the source information here.
Please take the time to review this information.
1. Mandatory mask wearing for ALL OF QUEENSLAND
The changes that take effect include a mandatory requirement for all Queenslanders in all locations to wear masks in almost all situations outside your home.
This mandatory requirement includes the following wording –
‘You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to.’,
‘You must wear a mask in indoor spaces, such as…indoor workplaces (where safe to weak a mask and you can’t physically distance’.
This mandatory mask requirement applies to every QFRS work location where you might be rostered to work during this period of altered restrictions and that means you will all likely be required by QFRS to wear a mask when on station. The same PPE requirements you applied during 2020’s restrictions when attending emergency calls will also apply again. QFRS have informed me that there is a good stock of masks and should not be any issue.
I suggest to avoid any potential liability being placed upon you or your colleagues, that you and your on shift crew work together to have a plan to address this issue for each shift during the period of altered restrictions.
2. A 3 day lockdown for the ‘Greater Brisbane Area’
The changes that take effect also include another ‘lockdown’ of the greater Brisbane area, which includes the local government areas of –
• City of Brisbane
• City of Ipswich
• City of Logan
• Moreton Bay Region, and
• Redland City.
This means all Brisbane Region stations are covered by this lockdown, and QFRS has made the decision that all South East Region stations will also adopt the lockdown.
The QFES Commissioner has sent an email to all employees this afternoon (you may have already received it). This email includes the QFRS rules for firefighters and fire communication officers for the period of the altered restrictions. On this occasion, it is important that you seek out the information being provided by QFRS to work out how the lockdown will affect your work location.
The Commissioner’s email advises that Brisbane Region and South East Region are moving to PPL4 at 1700 Monday 29 March, and the remainder of the state remains on PPL2. That email also provides a link to the PPL documentation, which QFRS have updated today.
There is also email communications specifically for those currently returning from NSW deployment so if this is you, I again ask that you check your emails to obtain that information from QFRS.
3. UFUQ advice
For your benefit, I wanted to make a few simple points regarding the way this will play out.
1. The mandatory requirements about masks need to be considered at your station of communications centre, and you and your colleagues need to work out how you’ll comply.
2. I strongly recommend you take your own food with you for all shifts during the period of altered restrictions and lockdown, as management will be restricting movement of crews to fire calls only.
As with all of you, I hope these altered restrictions and lockdown requirements end as quickly as possible. I will report back if there are any changes to these restrictions and I will also update you on any further announcements from the Premier or changes to the rules that QFRS intend to apply.
Finally, the UFUQ state office is closed, but administration and industrial officers are all working normal hours from home this week and the phones are diverted, so your contact with your union ought not be affected by these changes, but for a little bit of extra time before someone can respond to your call or email.
John Oliver - General Secretary
Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD