The Department of Home Affairs has closed its Canberra offices and ordered non-essential staff to stay home as businesses and workplaces across the ACT assess the impact of thick bushfire smoke on workplace safety.
In a message to staff on Sunday, senior Home Affairs executives advised the department's ACT offices would be closed until Wednesday and directed essential staff to work from home.
"Due to air quality issues affecting federal and territory government offices in the Australian Capital Territory, the department and ABF [Australian Border Force] made the decision yesterday to temporarily direct non-essential staff not to attend the workplace for a 48 hour period, pending earlier remediation," the department said, though essential services, such as emergency management, would not be affected.
Critical and operational frontline personnel were being advised alternative arrangements, including relocation to other sites areas where the air quality is better, or working remotely from home, where safe, the department said.
"Staff who perform non-essential roles have been advised to not attend their usual place of work during this period, returning to regular duties on the morning of Wednesday 8 January 2020, unless otherwise advised," it said.
The federal Department of Health has also closed its Symonston offices and shifted operations to its Woden office.
"Due to current bushfire related conditions, the Therapeutic Goods Administration office in Symonston ACT will be offline on Monday, 6 January," the department said.
"Symonston staff will instead work from the Department of Health's Woden locations."
Other departments including Prime Minster and Cabinet, Defence, Agriculture and Communications said they would operate as normal on Monday, though Communications said it would "continue to discuss the situation with staff and enact flexible work arrangements where they are appropriate".
The federal Education Department said its offices at 50 Marcus Clarke Street were open on Monday but it would monitor air quality.
The department said flexible working arrangements for its staff were put in place last week and "we continue to encourage uptake of this as an option for ACT-based staff".
The Attorney-General's Department was open Monday, but it advised staff to consider working from home if they were being adversely affected by the smoke.
"Building air conditioning units have been adjusted to minimise intake of external air and the air quality will continue to be monitored closely. Staff will be kept informed of any developments," the department said.
As of noon, the rolling 24-hour average air quality index in Civic was 1173, in Monash it was 1937 and in Florey it was 1483. Anything above 200 is hazardous.
Australia Post has resumed deliveries but said its Canberra University and North Canberra Business Hub branches would remain closed until further notice.
The University of Canberra has joined the Australian National University in closing its campus because of air quality concerns, but ACT government departments opened on Monday morning.
In a message to staff, ANU Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Mike Calford said that although there was no immediate threat to the university's Acton, Mount Stromlo and Kioloa campuses, the hazardous smoke conditions, intermittent power outages and ongoing fire risk meant facilities were being closed until Wednesday as a precautionary measure.
The closure would not affect essential staff and those living on campus, Professor Calford said.
Questacon announced it was closed for a second straight day on Monday because of the health threat posed by the smoke.
The National Gallery of Australia is also closed. In a statement, it said that "closing our doors allows us to mitigate any risk to the public, staff and works of art on display".
Tickets for the Matisse & Picasso exhibition could be used until the show closed on April 13, and those unable to attend on an alternate date could email for a refund.
ACT Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones told ABC radio there had been a lot of discussion over the weekend about whether departments should open on Monday, but with clearer conditions the decision had been taken to begin operating as normal and reassess.
"Most people, as they turn up for work today, will be advised on how their workplace is affected," Mr Jones said.
"There may be a need to purge the building or run air conditioning at a higher rate."
Meanwhile, the Selwyn Snow Resort has reported it has suffered extensive damage as a result of the recent fires.
"We are working closely with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and relevant agencies to arrange access to the resort, so we can fully assess the damage that has occurred," the resort said.
It said all staff had been safely evacuated before the fire struck.
"While we know the Selwyn community will be saddened by this news, it is important to remember that the fire situation is still active in the wider region," it said.