Employers have welcomed the Victorian government’s decision to allow close contacts of COVID-19 to come to work in more critical industries, including waste, but warn the measures will only be effective if a huge amount of rapid testing is done. available in a few days.

Victorian Australian Industry Group director Tim Piper said today’s changes to allow asymptomatic contacts who test negative to return to work would allow supermarket shelves to remain stocked.

“The number of workers forced into solitary confinement was getting ridiculous,” he says. “It’s part of the solution to improve our supply chain and allow essential services to be maintained. “

However, he says companies are still concerned about the unavailability of rapid antigen testing, which is required on a regular basis for isolation exemptions, and an additional requirement that workers have solo break areas.

“Currently, companies cannot comply with the requirement to have a RAT for all affected workers every day, for five days, because testing is not available,” he said.

The government has set January 19 as the start date of this system.

“It will take a deluge of RATs available before then to enable compliance and help companies use commands.”