is committed to keep you and your business up to date with all the information that we can provide, in the hope it will help you, your business, your team and your community to get through this crisis.
We will be pulling information from State and Federal Government along with the ATO, NRA as well as you our members.
– President, Mainstreet Australia
Businesses can now call a Business Victoria hotline
13 22 15
For the latest information on the COVID-19 response, how this affects businesses, how to keep their workplace safe and advice on how to plan for dealing with the current situation and anticipate likely developments. The hotline can also provide information about support services and what financial assistance might be available
Energy network relief package announced
Energy networks across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have announced a suite of measures to provide support to customers enduring hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The electricity and gas network relief package complements other initiatives across the gas and electricity sector and will take effect from 1 April.
Energy Networks Australia CEO Andrew Dillon said the comprehensive package was aimed at small business and residential customers and would help ensure energy retailers can better assist those facing hardship.
“Networks understand these are extraordinarily tough times for small business and energy bill relief will really help,” Mr Dillon said.
“For small businesses that are mothballed, electricity and gas network charges will not be applied from the start of April to the end of June 2020, if their consumption is less than a quarter what it was in 2019.
“Networks know it is in everyone’s interest to support small businesses through what is an extremely challenging period.” Fact Sheet
The Government has announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus.
Around 6 million workers will receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 (before tax) through their employer.
The payment ensures eligible employers remain connected to their workforce and will help businesses restart quickly when the crisis is over. Fact Sheet
Information for employers
If your business has been significantly impacted by the Coronavirus you will be able to access a wages subsidy to continue paying your employees. Under the JobKeeper program, you will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of six months. This assistance will help you keep staff and will help you restart when the crisis is over Fact Sheet
Information for employees
The JobKeeper payment helps businesses significantly impacted by the Coronavirus cover the costs of their employees’ wages, so more Australians can retain their jobs and continue to earn an income. Your employer will notify you if they intend to claim the fortnightly payment of $1,500 on your behalf. Fact Sheet
Business Support Fund Applications Open
The Victorian Government has launched the $500 million Business Support Fund to support small businesses in the sectors hit hardest by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic so they can survive and keep people in work.
$10,000 grants are available to eligible small businesses that:
- employ staff
- have been subject to closure or are highly impacted by Victoria’s shutdown restrictions announced to-dateExternal link (opens in same window)
- have a turnover of more than $75,000
- have payroll of less than $650,000.
Economic Survival Package
The Victorian Government has established an economic survival package to support Victorian businesses and workers through the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If your business is being affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) there are resources that can help. Please choose from the links below:
COVID-19 What must close in Victoria
COVID-19 restrictions on non-essential venues and activities as of 30 March 2020.
If your business is not included in the descriptions on this list, you may continue operating at this time, but businesses in operation must observe:
- Physical distancing to reduce in-person contact. A limit of one person per four square metres applies and distancing of 1.5 metres between people at all times. Retailers must display a sign showing the maximum number of people permitted on the premises based on the occupancy rule of no more than 1 person for every 4 square metres of floorspace. Retailers must also manage the entry and exit of customers to maintain a total occupancy of no more than 1 person for every 4 square metres of floorspace.
- Stricter hygiene and cleaning practices throughout opening hours, especially for frequently touched surfaces. These include fixtures such as benchtops, counters, door handles, touch screens and EFTPOS equipment. Cleaning and disinfecting to reduce COVID-19 transmission – tips for non-healthcare settings guide (Word) has advice on cleaning and disinfecting to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in all non-healthcare settings in Victoria.
- Other Actions for organisations, workplaces and employers recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
If you have specific questions about your business’s ability to continue operating, or how to apply the recommended actions in your setting, contact the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15 or use this Contact form.
- Exceptions: All Victorians only permitted to leave their homes for four reasons:
- to purchase food and necessary supplies
- for medical or health care needs
- for personal exercise in compliance with ban on public gatherings
- to attend work or education where they are not able to work or lean remotely
No gathering in public places, no more than two people together at any one time
National Cabinet’s strong advice is for self-isolation at home to the maximum extent practicable for Australians:
- over 70 years of age;
- over 60 years of age who have existing health conditions or comorbidities;
- indigenous Australians over the age of 50 who have existing health conditions or comorbidities.
- These groups should limit contact with others as much as possible when they travel outside.
Food and drink
Restaurants and cafes must stop providing table service
- Exceptions: Takeaway and/or home delivery
- Exceptions:Cafés or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens;
- Exceptions:Food services for the homeless
- Exceptions:Workplace canteens can provide takeaway only
Food courts must stop providing table service
- Exceptions: May continue to offer delivery and takeaway
Real estate auctions and open house inspections
- Exceptions: Private appointments for inspection, physical distancing of 1.5 metres between people and only one person per four square metres
Outdoor and indoor market stalls
- Exceptions: Those that provide food and drink for consumption off the premises of the market. A limit of one person per four square metres applies
Beauty and personal care services
Hairdressers and barber shops
- Exceptions: Must observe 1 person per 4 square metre rule in the premises
Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours
Spas and massage parlours
- Exceptions: Allied health services, such as physiotherapy and podiatry are not required to close.
Pubs, registered and licenced clubs and hotels
- Exceptions: Bottle shops attached to these venues
Concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums
- Exceptions: Live streaming of a performance by a small group could be permissible with social distancing observed
Casinos, gaming or gambling venues
Strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues
Cinemas, entertainment venues and night clubs
Amusement parks, arcades and children’s play centres (indoor and outdoor)
Leisure and recreation
Gyms, fitness centres and sporting venues, including outdoor gyms in public places
Community and recreation centres
- Exceptions: Facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services.
Health clubs, yoga, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres
- Exceptions: Allied health services, such as physiotherapy and podiatry are not required to close.
Personal training facilities both indoor and outdoor and boot camps
- Exceptions: Outside personal training is limited to two people, including the trainer and physical distancing must be observed.
Social sporting-based activities
Playgrounds and skate parks
Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses will be a decision for each state and territory
- Exceptions: Excluding permanent residents and workers.
Access to residential aged care facilities has been restricted
- Exceptions: Regular staff, visiting clinical staff, up to two family or personal visitors per resident for for up to 2 hours per day
- Exceptions: Essential visitors will need to: visit only the resident, wear personal protective equipment as directed by staff, enter and leave the facility directly without spending time in communal areas and perform hand hygiene before entering and after leaving the resident’s room.
Caravan parks and camping grounds
- Exceptions: Where people live permanently in caravan parks or are staying in caravan parks as interim abodes where their primary residence is not available, they may continue to do so.
- Exceptions: Where the accommodation is for the purposes of respite, for victims of family violence, other vulnerable groups or for care purposes.
Zoos, petting zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks
- Exceptions: The maintenance, care or rescue of animals
Galleries, museums, national institutions and historic sites
Libraries, community centres, and youth centres
Local government non-essential facilities and services (such as libraries and pools)
Community facilities (such as community halls, clubs, RSLs, PCYCs)
- Exceptions: These facilities may remain open for the purposes of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services
Places of worship, religious gatherings or ceremonies
- Exceptions: Weddings may be held in places of worship (or other venues), but only with the couple, celebrant and maximum of two witnesses in attendance.
- Exceptions: Funerals may be held in places of worship, funeral parlours or other venues, with a maximum of ten mourners in attendance.
For all businesses that are still allowed to operate and trade, the Department of Health and Human Services has information on Actions for organisations, workplaces and employers to help reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Government economic survival packages
The Morrison Government’s plan to keep business in business and Australians in jobs provides direct support for business including payments for business, wage subsidies for apprentices and trainees, supporting the flow of credit and expanded income support:
- Tax-free cashflow boost for employers. The Government is enhancing the measure it previously announced. Small to medium businesses and not for-profits (NFPs) with aggregated annual turnover under $50 million that pay salary and wages will automatically receive a minimum payment of $10,000, or payment equalling 100% of the amount withheld in tax on employee salary and wages, up to maximum of $50,000. An additional payment equal to the total of all the previous payments will be made in the July – October 2020 period, meaning eligible entities will receive at least $20,000 up to a total of $100,000. Payments will be delivered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) upon lodgement of business activity statements. Read the Fact sheet
- Supporting the flow of credit. The Government will provide a guarantee of 50% to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans, providing businesses with funding to meet cash flow needs. Temporary exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders providing credit to existing small business customers is also in place to help small businesses get access to credit quickly and efficiently. Read the Fact sheet
- Apprentice wage subsidy. Small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time workers will receive 50% of an apprentice or trainee’s wage. For each apprentice or trainee, the Government will provide up to $7,000 in wage assistance per quarter up to a maximum of $21,000. The wage subsidy will be open to businesses with fewer than 20 full-time workers and employers of any size that re-employ someone who loses their position as a result of the coronavirus downturn. Read the Fact sheet
- Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses. The Government is lessening the threat of actions that could unnecessarily push otherwise profitable and viable businesses into insolvency to help ensure businesses can resume normal operations when the crisis has passed. This includes temporarily:
- increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand and the time companies have to respond
- relieving directors from personal liability for trading while insolvent
- providing flexibility in the Corporations Act 2001 to deal with unforeseen events that arise as a result of the Coronavirus health crisis.
- Help from the ATO. The ATO will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus, including deferring payments, varying pay as you go instalment amounts and refunding past instalments, withholding enforcement actions including Director Penalty Notices and wind-ups. Contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 or visit the ATO website at ato.gov.au for more information.
- Boosted instant asset write-off. Businesses with turnover of less than $500 million are eligible for an expanded instant asset write-off for asset investments of up to $150,000. The threshold applies on per asset basis, so businesses can immediately write-off multiple assets. Read the Fact sheet
- Accelerated depreciation. Businesses with turnover less than $500 million will be able to access a 15 month investment incentive by accelerating depreciation deductions. Read the Fact sheet
- Income support. People unable to attend work because of coronavirus or whose income has been impacted by the economic downturn may be eligible for income support payments. The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility, establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight and making it quicker to access by waiving the usual waiting period. Visit the Services Australia website for more information or to apply.
- Temporary early release of superannuation. The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect income support payments. Read the Fact sheet
The Andrew’s government economic survival and jobs package complements the Federal Government support.
- Payroll tax refund and deferral. Small and medium-sized businesses with total payroll of less than $3 million will be refunded payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year. Payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year will be deferred until 1 January 2021. For more information visit sro.vic.gov.au
- Licensing, land tax and rent relief. Liquor licensing fees for 2020 will be waived for affected venues and small businesses. Visit vcglr.vic.gov.au. Commercial tenants in government buildings can apply for rent relief and 2020 land tax payments will be deferred for eligible small businesses. For more information visit sro.vic.gov.au
- Government payment times. Government will pay all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days
- Business Support Fund. A $500 million Business Support Fund will assist small to medium businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Register your interest to receive more details as they become available.
- Working for Victoria Fund. Displaced workers will be eligible to apply for different opportunities for paid work and to contribute to Victoria’s ability to manage this event and support the community. Register your interest to receive more details as they become available.
Financial Impacts of COVID-19
If the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are causing financial hardship for your business or for you personally, your bank, ATO and other groups have practical ways they can help.
Australian banks have agreed to defer repayments on loans to small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak for six months. They also have hardship teams ready to assist you with your business and personal financial arrangements, depending on your circumstances. Visit the Australian Banking Association website for more information.
The ATO will provide administrative relief for certain tax obligations (similar to relief provided following the bushfires) for taxpayers affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. Contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 or visit the ATO website at ato.gov.au for more information.
The Chamber is also calling on commercial landlords to reduce rent and defer payments for affected businesses. Some landlords have been willing to make such arrangements so talk to yours about this. The Victorian Small Business Commission can potentially help you negotiate an agreement or settle a dispute.
Managing the workplace in the face of the outbreak – Victorian Chamber of Commerce.
The Australian Retailers Association have a wide range of recoursed from posters to FAQ and more
We encourage employees and employers to work together to find the most beneficial and workable solutions that suit their individual workplaces and circumstances. Working together, there are various options to help business and employment continuity through this time.
Continuity of business is a significant issue for employers and their employees during this unprecedented and difficult time. Our interactive graphic below outlines the options available to businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the implications for employees. Click on each section below for information and links to relevant information.
Businesses and people affected by the coronavirus outbreak may also be eligible for government financial support. See Fair Work Ombudsman COVID19 information for further information.
Health Information and guidance
Visit the Australian Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert.
Visit Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services or for simplified Chinese translations visit the information page for the Chinese community. For other languages please call the Translating and Interpreting Services on 131 450
The Department of Health and Human Services offer all information in all languages – Translated resources coronavirus disease (COVID19)
The Victorian Chamber’s advice on protecting your employees.
You can also find a collection of coronavirus (COVID-19) resources in both English and Simplified Chinese at the Australian Government Department of Health.