Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

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Market News & Notifications

Coronavirus Customer Update

6 August 2020, 5.30pm

Construction guidelines for tradies under Melbourne’s Stage 4 Restrictions

The government has released guidelines for businesses impacted by Melbourne’s Stage 4 restrictions. These include specific guidelines for construction businesses—including tradies, site managers and business owners.

The latest updates can be found via Business Victoria here.

The guidelines detail everything from rules around carpooling to specific guidelines for small-scale and large-scale construction projects, across residential and commercial sectors.

If you are working onsite or managing a project, it’s vital that you read through these guidelines carefully. As a reminder, every site needs the appropriate COVID Safe Plan in place by 11:59pm Friday 7th August.

While we’re working to keep you informed, you should reach out to your relevant Industry Association to find out what today’s announcement means for you.

You can find additional links to regularly updated information below:

During times like these, supporting each other and checking in on our mates is really important.

At Reece, we offer counselling services, mental health and wellbeing support via our Employee Assistance Program. Our customers can call 1800 808 374 to chat to qualified experts who are here to listen and help us all navigate this challenging time.

In the meantime, all Reece trade branches are currently open to support you, with click and collect options available so you can keep essential jobs moving.

Stay safe.


5 August 2020, 9.00am

Permitted Worker Scheme has been introduced

The Victorian Government has outlined the process for the ‘permitted worker scheme’. You’ll need to carry a permit with you all the time in Metropolitan Melbourne area, from midnight tonight, so you can continue your essential work.

Employers need to complete the permit process on behalf of people who work for them, and the government have put in significant fines for any false information and working without a permit.

So, it’s important you get on to this today.

Here’s the what you need to do:

  • Download the template and complete it.
    • You can download the permit from the Department of Justice here
    • Employers must use this template for all worker permits issued under this scheme.
  • Sign the worker permit. You can print and sign or sign it electronically.
    • Businesses must get an authorised person to sign the worker permit. This person might be the CEO, a HR manager, an operations manager or anyone else that is suitable.
    • They must be accountable for the details they provide.
    • They may be contacted by Victoria Police or other enforcement agencies to confirm the details.
  • Ask the employee to sign the worker permit. They can print and sign or sign electronically.
    • You can email or text the worker permit to your employee.
    • An employee may travel to work without a worker permit just one time, to get their first permit.

We’ll continue to keep you up to date over the next 6 weeks of Stage 4 restrictions.

Don’t forget, our stores continue to remain open for trade customers, our product supply is unaffected, and you can place orders on maX and organise contactless delivery.


4 August 2020, 11.00am

What Stage 4 Restrictions Mean For You And Your Business

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews yesterday announced that masks must be worn, from midnight this Sunday, across the entire state of Victoria.

Yesterday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced what Stage 4 restrictions will look like for industries across Metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, effective 11:59pm Wednesday 5th August, for six weeks.

While providing essential services during this period is challenging, tradies remain a vital cog to the health and safety of our community and are the lifeblood of the economy.

We’re here to support you and your business. We will be remaining open to support the essential work you do, and will keep you updated so that you can operate safely and remain on the tools.

What you need to know right now

  1. Our trade stores will remain open and supply will not be impacted.
    Our trade stores will remain open to support the essential work that you do. Our online platform maX is open too, and we’re providing contactless delivery and click and collect

  2. Only essential maintenance work can be carried out at homes and businesses.
    From 11.59pm Wednesday 5th August, only essential maintenance work that keeps communities safe and healthy can be carried out at homes and businesses.
    This includes working to keep food cold in supermarkets, providing running water and heating, and ensuring sanitation. Non-essentials include cosmetic repairs or property updates.

  3. All construction sites must have a COVID Safe Plan.
    A COVID safe plan includes regular cleaning, one worker per four square metres of enclosed workspace or in shared areas and records of all personnel on site for more than 15 minutes. Sites must also prove that there is no blending or crossover of shifts.
    There are two types of COVID Safe Plans; High Risk COVID Safe Plans for large-scale construction, state and civil projects, and Universal COVID Safe Plans for small-scale construction.
    To make sure that your business is operating lawfully, with the correct plan, visit Business Victoria.

  4. Small-scale construction projects can only have 5 crew onsite at any one time.
    Construction projects under three storeys can continue with a maximum of 5 people onsite. Sites must have a Universal COVID Safe Plan to keep all workers safe.

  5. Large-scale construction projects can continue with 25% of the usual working team.
    For large scale construction (projects over three storeys excluding basements), a maximum of 25% of the normal working crew, including supervisors, are allowed onsite. Each site must have a High Risk COVID Safe plan.

  6. State and state civil construction projects will go ahead without crew reductions.
    Critical construction projects including state and state civil construction will go ahead, however sites will need to have a High Risk COVID safe Plan.

  7. If you are currently working at a construction site, you cannot start working at any new sites over the next six weeks.
    Where you are working on Thursday is the only site you can work on during this restriction period. However, we know that industry bodies have voiced concerns about this restriction — watch this space for updates.

  8. Financial support packages are coming.
    The Victorian and Federal Governments have announced financial support for businesses impacted by these new restrictions. We will keep you informed of updates as they happen.

We’ll be in touch with more information to support you and your business during these restrictions.


3 August 2020, 9.00am

It’s essential that plumbers continue to help prevent disease

As the state of Victoria faces one of its toughest challenges yet, we’re doing everything we can to support tradies in keeping the community healthy and safe.

Following the announcement of Level 4 restrictions across Victoria, we have moved quickly to ensure we continue to provide the level of service our customers demand, and the community expects.

“The heart of our business is supporting the repair and maintenance plumber, the small local tradie. Providing clean water and sanitation is critical, particularly during a health crisis such as this,” says Peter Wilson, Group CEO, Reece Group.

In 1919, when the Spanish flu ravaged the world, the plumber became essential to society – ensuring people had access to clean water and sanitation in their homes, to stop the acceleration of the virus – coining the phase, “Doctors Cure, Plumbers Prevent”.

“Our current crisis is no different – plumbers play a key role in preventing disease, we must do everything we can to enable our plumbers to support the Victorian Community”, Mr Wilson said.

Since the pandemic began, Reece has continued to keep our people and the community safe. Since March, the Reece Group has taken significant steps to achieve this:

  • Our social distancing approach was an industry first, successfully keeping our people and customers well.
  • Our 450 Melbourne based head office team have been working from home – supporting our 5000 people and 640 branches across the country remotely.

“Our network also has the experience required to navigate the new normal across Victoria, as we have been through the lockdown in New Zealand. In NZ, we supported the community with the provision of essential services during Stage 4 restrictions,” says Mr Wilson.

Overnight, the Reece Group held discussions with Government and industry, as the next stage of restrictions are being worked through. Our aim is to support all sectors in finding the right balance of keeping the community healthy and well, while keeping the economy moving.

Here is a little more about the role plumbers, and Reece, play in keeping the community safe across Victoria.


31 July 2020, 9.00am

Masks mandatory across Victoria

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews yesterday announced that masks must be worn, from midnight this Sunday, across the entire state of Victoria.

We’re asking our people, and our customers, to wear masks when visiting us in branch.

Our priority is to keep our people and customers safe and well while supporting you to carry out essential services for our community.

You’ll continue to receive the same level of customised service. Don’t forget that maX is a great tool if you’d like to make an order online or arrange a click-and-collect.

As always, if you have any questions, please speak to your branch manager.


9 July 2020, 12.00pm

Restrictions reintroduced across Metro Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire

Today metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire entered stage three restrictions which are expected to last for six weeks.

As an essential service, we are keeping our doors open to support our customers who have an important job to do, to keep the community comfortable and well in their homes.

We have extensive social distancing and hygiene protocols in place across all our branches to ensure our people and customers are safe and healthy.

In regional Victoria we will be complying with the government direction to request identification from all non-account customers who visit our stores, for record-keeping purposes. We have an obligation to refuse service to non-account customers who live in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire.

Our account customers, who are tradespeople, are considered an essential service therefore are able to travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria for work, and we maintain electronic records of these transactions.

If you are not an account customer and you plan on visiting one of our showrooms or branches in regional Victoria, please bring your identification and help us keep each other safe by complying with our record-keeping and health and safety protocols.


9th April 2020

Australian Government Support

The times might be uncertain, but what is clear is that the work tradespeople do to create healthy environments through clean water, sanitation, and home comfort, has never been more important. To help you to continue to provide these essential services, here’s a round up of the support available to small businesses during this time.

National Support

A multi-billion-dollar package is being implemented by the Australian Government to keep the economy moving during the COVID-19 outbreak. It includes:

Business management advice

The Government is introducing a subsidy program to support employees and businesses. The JobKeeper Payment is designed to help businesses affected by the Coronavirus to cover the costs of their employees’ wages, so that more employees can retain their job and continue to earn an income.

Keeping Australians in work, and businesses in business, will lay the foundations for a stronger economic recovery once the Coronavirus crisis is behind us.

In short, the JobKeeper Payment provides impacted employees with a $1500 payment, per fortnight, to keep them connected to the business.

Employers will be eligible for the subsidy if their business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and their turnover has fallen by more than 30%, read more.

If you are a business and would like to declare your interest in the initiative, click here

Support for apprentices

You can apply for a wage subsidy for 50 per cent of apprentices’ wages for the nine months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Read more

Increasing instant asset write-off

The instant asset write-off has been increased from $30K to $150K. This will apply to both new and second-hand assets, used or installed, before 30 June 2020. Read more

Boosting your cash flow

Through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Government will provide tax-free cash flow boosts of between $20,000 and $100,000 to eligible businesses, delivered through credits in the activity statement system, when eligible businesses lodge their activity statements. Read more

Casual employee income support

Casual employees who can’t work because they are sick or need to self-isolate will have waiting periods waived to access income support payments. Read more

State Based Support

Every state across Australia has its own initiatives in place to support small and medium businesses and their employees through the coronavirus crisis. We have provided quick links to each of the relevant websites below:

VIC - NSW - QLD - NT - SA - WA - ACT TAS


3rd April 2020

Keeping you and our people safe

 

New Social Distancing protocol

In continuing to help keep you and our people safe we’ve introduced some new protocols in our stores and with our onsite deliveries.

 

In store:

To allow for the required social distancing of 1.5m, we’ve calculated how many customers we can accommodate in each store at any one time.

In the event the store you’re visiting is at capacity, you’ll be asked to stand in the marked waiting area until there’s space to serve you.

 

Delivery:

As a result of the 1.5m social distancing, we are no longer able to have 2 people in our delivery vehicles. In response, we’ve updated where and what we deliver.

 

Delivery car icon

Pipe & products longer than 1.5m

We’ll continue to deliver pipe and other products longer than 1.5m as we can maintain social distance.

 

Forklift icon

Machinery required for unload

When items in Reece vehicles are to be unloaded by machinery onsite, e.g. crane, forklift, we will require our driver to exit the vehicle and find a safe standing zone with 1.5m social distancing in practice.

 

Contactless Delivery Zone

All other orders: contactless delivery zone

We’ll be asking you to provide a contactless delivery zone for drivers to drop-off product. If a contactless delivery zone isn't made available, the driver may elect to unload off the back of the vehicle - it will then be a requirement for the customer to move the goods into their required area.

e.g. large products such as HWU or baths where 1.5m social distancing can take place our driver will be able to unload products with the assistance of another person onsite required.

For products where 1.5m social distancing can’t be maintained, e.g. vanity units less than 1500mm, air conditioning units, condensing units etc, 2 people from the site will be required to unload the product other than our driver.

 

Thanks for your cooperation.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact your Branch Manager.


23rd March 2020

We’re open for business

Last night the Government made a series of announcements to further slow the spread of the Coronavirus, our business services are considered “essential services” so we’re open and operating.

While we have social distancing in place, you can expect the same friendly faces serving behind the counter or over the phone.

 

We will continue to support you and the community in providing essential services, so you can:

  • Continue to visit us in store - please respect the measures in place for your safety
  • Place orders and make enquiries over the phone
  • Order on maX

 

We’re encouraging you to:

  • Be conscious of personal space, maintain 1.5 metres distance where possible, and avoid handshaking
  • Ensure all your team members who are on the road are practising healthy habits, e.g. washing hands once in branch, access to sanitisers, tissues, etc.
  • Be respectful of the measures we’ve put in place in our branches, they are in the best interests of everyone
  •  Let your Home Branch Manager or local rep know if you are presenting symptoms, and please refrain from ‘visiting’ if you feel sick

 

We’re here to support you in keeping up the important work you do for the community.

If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your Branch Manager or local rep.


Are you taking advantage of Government stimulus to protect your business?

We understand the coronavirus is having an impact on some of our customers, so we’ve created some hints and tips on how you may benefit from the Government’s offer of support.

This includes wage subsidies for apprentices, credit on your BAS statement to help with cash flow and increasing the instant asset write-off to $150K.

For detailed information and to check on your eligibility, visit: www.business.gov.au

Coronavirus Customer Update


18th March 2020

 

We’re taking our responsibility to keep our doors open throughout the Coronavirus outbreak seriously and putting the health of our customers, our people and community first.

Earlier today our Prime Minister shared that 'social distancing' is one of the best ways we can all protect ourselves, and the community, from the spread of Coronavirus.

You’ll notice when you come to visit that we’ve implemented 'social distancing' measures, including:

  • Bollards – these are in place to make sure we maintain a distance of 1.5m at all times
  • We’re moving to contactless product handover so designated pick up zones have been created. We’ll place your order in the zones so you can collect it without coming into contact
  • We’ve upped our cleaning in our branches to make sure we’re disinfecting shared areas like the café bar, counters and bathrooms

Thank you for working with us to keep our branches clean and safe, so that you can get on with the important work you do, to keep the community healthy and well.


17th March 2020

 

The health, safety and well-being of our customers, our people and the community are our top priority, and we’re continuing to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic very closely.

Our supply chain is functioning well and, to date, has not been impacted. We‘ll continue to share updates at relevant times. We have business continuity plans in place to ensure we can maintain supply and operations.

We’re keeping our teams up to date on how we can do our bit to slow the spread of the virus and have taken additional precautions which include:
 

Restrictions and containment – we’ve stopped all non-essential work travel and minimised the broader movement of our people to focus on business critical travel
Self-reporting – anyone who has travelled outside of Australia, and/or is presenting with symptoms is required to self-quarantine
Healthy Habits – we‘ve been running a ‘Healthy Habits’ campaign encouraging our people, customers and our suppliers to practice appropriate hygiene practices
Formal reporting – In the event a team member does test positive for COVID-19 we have measures in place to support our people to seek treatment and self-isolate and to communicate with people they have been in contact with recently


What we’re encouraging you to do:

  • When you come to visit us be conscious of personal space, maintain 1.5 metres distance where possible, and avoid handshaking
  • Ensure all your team members who are on the road are practising healthy habits, e.g. washing hands once in branch, access to sanitisers, tissues, etc.
  • Please be respectful of the measures we’ve put in place in our branches, they are in the best interests of everyone
  • If you are presenting with symptoms, and have visited us in the last fortnight, please let your Home Branch Manager know, and please refrain from ‘visiting’ if you feel sick. maX is a great way to place an online order.

If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your Branch Manager.