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Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support

Business support, advice and information to help your business deal with coronavirus (COVID-19).

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Note on easing of restrictions

The Victorian Government has announced the gradual easing of restrictions throughout the state from 11.59pm Sunday 31 May 2020.

From 1 June gradual easing of business restrictions is planned for:

  • cafes, restaurants and other food and drink facilities
  • outdoor boot camps and personal training
  • beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, spas, tattoo parlours and non-therapeutic massage
  • auctions and open house inspections

From 22 June a further easing of restrictions is planned.

All eased restrictions and the proposed dates are subject to the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer and the continued and effective management of the spread of COVID-19.

For more information on what the easing of restrictions means for your business and for sector-specific guidance and practical advice on hygiene and cleaning, patron numbers, staff and training, compliance and enforcement visit the Department of Human Services (DHHS) website.

On 26 May 2020 the Victorian Government released the Hospitality Industry Guidelines for Coronavirus (COVID-19) to assist cafes, restaurants and other food and drink facilities to resume serving meals via table service for up to 20 patrons from 1 June.

Economic Survival Package Fact Sheet

The Victorian Government has established an economic survival package to support Victorian businesses and workers through the devastating impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Download the fact sheet

Business Support Fund grants

The Victorian Government launched the Business Support Fund to support small businesses in the sectors hit hardest by coronavirus (COVID-19) so they can survive and keep people in work.

Eligible businesses can apply for a one-off $10,000 grant which can be used towards costs such as utilities, rent and salaries, and activities to support business continuity planning.

Applications close at 11.59pm on 1 June.

Apply now

Reopening cafes, restaurant and other food and drink facilities

In line with advice from the Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has announced its plan to cautiously and carefully reopen our state’s cafes, restaurants and other food and drink facilities, helping to restore jobs and rebuild our economy.

Under the proposed plan, cafes and restaurants will be able to resume dine-in service:

  • From 1 June with up to 20 patrons per enclosed space
  • From 22 June with up to 50 patrons per enclosed space
  • With up to 100 patrons per enclosed space during the second half of July.

Each of the above reopening dates is subject to the advice of the Chief Health Officer, broader compliance with restrictions, the rate of testing and the movement of coronavirus within our community, including the number of cases, outbreaks and community transmission.

As always, any future decisions relating to the easing of restrictions will be made based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer and in line with the evidence.

On 26 May 2020 the Victorian Government released the Hospitality Industry Guidelines for Coronavirus (COVID-19) to assist cafes, restaurants and other food and drink facilities to resume serving meals via table service for up to 20 patrons from 1 June.

Visit our Hospitality Industry Guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19) page to download a copy of the Guidelines along with checklists, fact sheets, signage and posters to help your business safely reopen.

View the Reopening of cafes, restaurants and other food and drink facilities FAQs.

Business restrictions

As of 11.59pm on Tuesday 12 May 2020, new restrictions are in place. Please visit the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) website for more details.

A number of existing restrictions remain in place and any information on this page should be read in conjunction with directions issued by the Chief Health Officer including Restricted Activity Directions (No 7) and Stay at home restrictions.

Shopping, retail and food restictions remain in place with cafes, restaurants and other food and drink facilities due to reopen from 1 June.

Sport, cultural and recreational activities restrictions have been eased allowing outdoor gatherings up of to 10 people.

Outdoor fitness activities including boot camp, personal training, tai chi and yoga can be undertaken outdoors as long as:

  • no more than 10 people participate at one time in addition to the minimum number of people required to run the session (e.g. coach, trainer)
  • social distancing of 1.5m between participants is maintained.

Restrictions remain in place for indoor physical training facilities.

Under the new directions, golf can be played in groups of no more than 10 people.

Golf clubhouses remain subject to restrictions.

These restrictions are enforceable with on-the-spot fines of $1,652 for individuals and $9,913 for businesses.

For all businesses not subject to restricted trading, the DHHS Actions for organisations, workplaces and employers  should be undertaken to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you have any questions about your business’s ability to open under current restrictions you can contact the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline by calling 13 22 15 or using our Contact Us form.

For the latest advice and resources on coronavirus (COVID-19), see the Victorian Government DHHS coronavirus page.

This web page will be updated as new information becomes available. Please check back regularly to stay up-to-date with the latest advice for your business.

Payroll tax exemption for additional payments made under the JobKeeper program

As we face coronavirus, the Victorian Government has recently announced new payroll tax exemptions to help ensure more money in the pockets of businesses, and greater incentive to keep workers on.

Download the fact sheet

Coronavirus (COVID-19) business support and financial assistance finder

A range of assistance is available from the Australian and Victorian governments and other entities to support businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Our new finder will ask you a series of questions to help you find the assistance available to you based on your circumstances.

Launch finder

Gatherings of up to 10 people, including members of different households, are allowed as of 11:59pm on Tuesday 12 May 2020. You should not organise a gathering of more than 10 people.

Our advice to Victorians also remains the same: if you can stay home, you must stay home.

Further details on restrictions are available at the DHHS website.

For information on physical distancing and other transmission reduction measures, please read the DHHS Physical distancing and other transmission reduction measures - coronavirus (COVID-19 webpage).

Travel is allowed only for permitted activities and includes day trips but no overnight stays.

Non-essential travel such as holidays, business trips and short breaks away need to be postponed to a later date or cancelled.

A ban on overseas travel is currently in place. You are not able to depart Australia to travel overseas, with few exceptions.

More information on the ban on overseas travel is available at the Smarttraveller website. You can also contact the Commonwealth Government’s National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

As part of a $1.7 billion economic survival package, the Victorian Government has established a $500 million Business Support Fund to assist small to medium businesses most impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Small businesses are eligible if they:

Applications close at 11.59pm on 1 June.

Apply now

Best practice for businesses is to have a continuity plan. Our site has information to help your business evaluate risk and prepare a risk management plan.

Once the initial damage assessment has been done on your business, you need to think about what you'll do long term and how you might respond and recover.

Small Business Victoria  provides low cost mentoring services to help you work through or develop a recovery plan. You can book an appointment with a mentor here.

CPA Australia has developed some high-level tips to help businesses respond to coronavirus (COVID-19), including staying up-to-date with information, considering the potential impacts on your business, putting a contingency plan in place and seeking professional advice if required.

You can a detailed summary of potential actions and more resources for business on the CPA Australia website. These include Disaster Recovery Toolkits and tax information for businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please note: This information has been updated to include the new JobKeeper payment announced on Monday, 30 March 2020.

The Australian Government has announced a $320 billion economic plan in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Support for businesses includes:

Cash flow assistances for businesses

  • providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not‑for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000.
  • Providing 50 per cent wage subsidies to eligible employers of apprentices and trainees for up to nine months from 1 January to 30 September 2020.
  • Up to $125 billion in support for credit to flow through $20 billion of loan guarantees for small businesses, and actions announced on Thursday 20 March to support $90 billion of business lending.

Regulatory protection and financial support for businesses to stay in business

  • A Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme which will support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to get access to working capital to help them get them through the impact of the coronavirus.
  • A temporary increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company and the time companies have to respond to statutory demands they receive.

Delivering support for business investment

  • An increase the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expand access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020.
  • a time limited 15-month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions.

Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme

The Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme will provide small and medium sized business with timely access to working capital to help them get through the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:

  • SMEs, including sole traders, with a turnover of up to $50 million.
  • Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower.
  • Loans will be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday.
  • Unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will not have to provide an asset as security for the loan.

JobKeeper Payment

  • The JobKeeper Payment is a subsidy to businesses, which will keep more Australians in jobs through the course of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The payment will be paid to employers, for up to six months, for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020 and is retained or continues to be engaged by that employer.
  • Where a business has stood down employees since 1 March, the payment will help them maintain connection with their employees.
  • Employers will receive a payment of $1,500 per fortnight per eligible employee. Every eligible employee must receive at least $1,500 per fortnight from this business, before tax.
  • The program will commence 30 March 2020, with the first payments to be received by eligible businesses in the first week of May as monthly arrears from the Australian Taxation Office. Eligible businesses can begin distributing the JobKeeper payment immediately and will be reimbursed from the first week of May.

Support for workers and households

  • temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight
  • allow individuals in financial stress as a result of the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

For information on the Australian Government’s economic response to coronavirus (COVID-19) refer to: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.

Sustaining Creative Workers delivers quick-response funding to professional independent creative practitioners, sole traders, freelancers, collectives and micro-organisations/businesses whose work and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by coronavirus.

Funding available includes:

  • Up to $5,000 for individuals, sole traders and freelancers
  • Up to $10,000 for collectives, micro-organisations and businesses
  • Up to $2,500 in additional access funding for applications from Deaf and Disabled creatives, artists, arts workers and disability-led organisations/businesses.

Applications close 1 June 2020.

Visit the Creative Victoria website for more details and to apply

Our pubs, clubs and restaurants are integral to our economy and our identity.

In order to support these licenced businesses through coronavirus (COVID-19), the Victorian Government has announced a new package of support.

This Initiative recognises that these venues, unlike many other commercial tenants, have complex licencing and leasing arrangements.

That’s why the Victorian Government has announced $40 million from the Business Support Fund will be made available to provide rent relief for licenced venues with an individual annual turnover of up to $50 million, but who are not covered by the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme.

The Government will form an Industry Steering Committee drawing membership from bodies including the Australian Hotels Association, Community Clubs Victoria, Music Victoria, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Restaurant and Catering Association Victoria to advise on the operation of the fund.

Free mediation services through the Victorian Small Business Commission will be extended to all businesses on tenanted premesis that hold a liquor licence, helping tenants reach agreement with their landlord regarding rent relief.

Register your interest

Read the full media release on the Premier's website

Victoria is home to a vibrant and hard-working live music community. Our live music scene means so much to so many Victorians – and it’s a big part of who we are.

That’s why the Victorian Government has introduced a range of support to protect and provide relief for live music venues across the state,  during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Read the a Support for music venues fact sheet (DOCX 114.67 KB)DOCX icon.

Organisations and employers who are responsible for a workplace should take actions to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus.

These actions should include:

  • Encourage flexible working arrangements including working from home and off-peak travel. If your staff can work from home, they should work from home.
  • Ensure you have adequate hygiene and sanitation supplies such as bleach, alcohol sanitisers and hand soap
  • Provide and encouraging the use of hand sanitisers for use on entering buildings
  • Ensure high standards of routine environmental cleaning
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly, including desks and keyboards
  • Open windows, enhance airflow, adjust air conditioning
  • Promote preventive actions amongst your staff - lead by example.
  • Avoid large indoor meetings and lunchrooms and use outdoor venues
  • Plan for increased levels of staff absences
  • Plan for what to do if staff arrive sick at work.

What do I do if a staff member or customer exhibits signs of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

If your staff can't work from home and must attend the workplace:

  • Be prepared for staff calling in sick
  • If staff exhibit any cold or flu-like symptoms, they must stay home, no matter how mild those symptoms might be.
  • If a staff member becomes sick, have a plan in place for where you can take them until they can be medically examined.
  • If you are concerned that one of your patrons has contracted coronavirus (COVID-19), be courteous and please advise them of your concern.
  • Encourage them to get tested, self-isolate, stay at home (self-quarantine) and contact the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

COVID Safe app

If you have staff who must attend the workplace, encourage the use of the Australian Government's COVID Safe app which speeds up contacting people exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19) as a measure to protect your staff and customers.

Employee entitlements

The Fair Work Act does not have specific rules where employees are delayed overseas or in quarantine, so employees and employers need to come to their own arrangement. This may include:

  • taking sick leave if the employee is sick
  • taking annual leave
  • taking any other leave available to them (such as long service leave or any other leave available under an award, enterprise agreement or contract of employment)
  • arranging any other paid or unpaid leave by agreement between the employee and the employer.

You can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman on 13 13 94 for further information.

Commercial tenancies relief scheme

As announced on 15 April 2020, the Victorian Government will immediately introduce a commercial tenancy relief scheme to alleviate the financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of COVID-19.

Find out more about the commercial tenancies relief scheme

Mandatory Code of Conduct on commercial leasing

For information about the mandatory Code of Conduct on commercial leasing, visit Business Victoria’s web page on coronavirus (COVID-19) business support.

Under the Working for Victoria Fund, displaced workers will be eligible to apply for different types of work. This presents opportunities for paid work and an opportunity to contribute to Victoria’s ability to manage this event and support the community.

Register your interest here

The Victorian Government recognises the importance of the agricultural sector and is committed to providing support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Agriculture Victoria provides information for agricultural businesses employing seasonal workers to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes information on commuting to, from and around work and accomodating workers.

Visit the Agriculture Victoria website for more information.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the primary resource for updates on coronavirus (COVID-19).

For a full suite of Federal Government resources, please visit the Department of Health website.

For the latest advice, information and resources, see the DHHS coronavirus page.

  • If you suspect you, your staff or a regular customer may have coronavirus (COVID-19) call the DHHS dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398.
  • National coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Information Line - 1800 020 080 (this number operates 24/7 - if you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450)
  • If you need information on the operation of your business or access to assistance relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) you can call the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15 or Contact Us.
  • WorkSafe Victoria has information and advice to help you minimise the exposure of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace and help manage working from home arrangements.
  • Chartered Accountants Australia provides information on business and tax impacts.
  • The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry provides resources for businesses and it offering free annual membership up to $700 value so all Victorian businesses can access its services.
  • The Australian Banking Association recommends contacting your bank to access any assistance on offer due to the financial impact of coronavirus on your business. This could include deferred loan payments, waiving fees and restructuring loans. If you’re not sure who to contact, the ABA’s website has a list of hardship contact details.
  • The ATO can provide tailored support to businesses feeling the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or getting behind with your tax and super obligations, contact the ATO (on 1800 806 218) or speak to your tax professional.
  • The Fair Work Ombudsman provides information on coronavirus and Australian workplace laws or you can call on 13 13 94.
  • Advice for exporters can be found on the AusTrade website.
  • City of Melbourne is offering grants to businesses within the municipality to invest in online and e-commerce activites, training and developent and capital works to adapt to changing conditions.
  • The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudman's My Business Health website has advice and a Business Toolbox to help you run a healthy business with a healthy mind.

If your business has been affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), it is important to look after your mental health as well as your physical wellbeing. Please visit our Stress savvy in business page for information on how to identify the signs of stress and the support services that are available if you and those around you need someone to talk to.