Hospitality groups have agreed to support some paid pandemic leave in discussions with unions to gain their support to open the sector more widely.
United Workers Union ACT spokeswoman Lyndal Ryan said significantly lifting the number of patrons allowed in pubs, cafés and restaurants had to be safe for workers and the public.
"That means some pandemic leave for workers, including casuals," she said.
She said the Australian Hotels Association ACT had agreed to support two days' paid pandemic leave for workers. The main disagreement in the past has concerned the number of days offered. The union is also in discussions with other industry groups.
The association's ACT president, Anthony Brierley, said it supported paid pandemic leave for workers receiving JobKeeper payments, if restrictions were lifted "very soon" to a level that made opening viable for businesses.
He said he was not sure how it would be implemented, but the organisation would support any mechanism to do so.
Ms Ryan said workers needed to feel able to call in sick for work if they were ill to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
"There have been situations across the country where people have not wanted to disclose they've had symptoms, or where the employer has pressured them into coming to work because they don't have replacement staff," she said.
The union also wants venues to agree to workplace rights training.
"We could reopen with a compliant, safe industry - wouldn't that be cool," Ms Ryan said.
Employment Minister Suzanne Orr said it was important workers were able to take time off work if they needed to during the pandemic.
"The ACT government encourages all businesses to support their workers and, where possible, offer paid pandemic leave to their workforce," she said.
"Ministers across the country are considering the proposal put forward by the ACTU and the ACT government will continue to advocate for a strong national workplace relations system."