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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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If you can work from home, you must work from home

In light of new evidence indicating increased activity, the obligation for employers to keep their staff working from home will now be included in the Chief Health Officer’s directions. For employees, that means an obligation to keep working from home. And for employers, an obligation to support them in doing so.

Read the statement from the Premier

Economic Survival Package Fact Sheet

The Victorian Government has established an economic survival package to support Victorian businesses and workers impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Download the fact sheet

Reopening cafes, restaurants 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, subject to the four square metre rule:

  • 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 (COVID-19) 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, posters and a short free online training module to help your business safely reopen.

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

Reopening beauty and personal care facilities

In line with advice from the Chief Health Officer, the Victorian Government has announced its plan to cautiously and carefully reopen beauty and personal care facilities from 1 June.

On 31 May 2020 the Government released the Beauty and Personal Care Facilities Guidelines to assist spas, beauty therapists, waxing, nail salons and other personal care providers to reopen safely.

Visit our Beauty and Personal Care Facility 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 beauty and personal care facilities FAQs

Reopening of the tourism sector

From 1 June, restrictions on travel will begin to ease.

The Victorian Government has developed the Tourism Industry Guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19) to support tourism operators safely resume operations from 1 June.

Visit our Tourism 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 tourism businesses FAQs

Business restrictions

From 1 June an easing of restrictions is in place for a number of businesses and industries.

A number of existing restrictions remain in place and any information on this page should be read in conjunction with Victoria's Restriction Levels on the DHHS website including Restricted Activity Directions (No 9) and Stay safe directions.

Restrictions on shopping, retail and personal services are:

  • Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, spas, tattoo parlours and massage parlours can now open with up to 20 patrons – the four square metre rule applies to the publicly accessible parts of the venue, and a distance of 1.5 metres should be maintained between customers. See the Beauty and Personal Care Facility Guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Market stalls may open – the four square metre rule applies to indoor markets and a distance of 1.5 metres should be maintained between people who do not live in the same household.
  • Other retail outlets may continue to operate; the four square metre rule applies to customers, and a distance of 1.5 metres should be maintained between people who do not live in the same household.

Cafes, restaurants and other food and drink facilities can reopen in line with the Hospitality Industry Guidelines found on this website. A short free online module to support the Guidelines is available here. It is the Government’s expectation that at least one staff member at every venue will have completed the training.

Tourism business can reopen in line with the Tourism Industry Guidlines for coronavirus (COVID-19).

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

  • Up to 20 people can participate in outdoor group sport and exercise activities, provided you can keep your distance (at least 1.5 metres apart) and they are not competitive.
  • Indoor and outdoor swimming pools can be opened to a maximum of 20 patrons per separate enclosed space and a limit of three persons per lane in each pool.

Restrictions remain in place for indoor physical training facilities for now.

As always though, Victorians are being asked to be considered and use common sense when it comes to these activities.

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 and subscribe to the Business Victoria Update.

Payroll tax exemption for additional payments made under the JobKeeper program

As we face coronavirus (COVID-19), 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

From 1 June, public gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed. Physical distancing and good hygene practices should be followed at any event.

Further details on restrictions are available at the DHHS website.

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

From 1 June, overnight stays are permitted in a holiday home or private residence. Staying overnight at tourist accomodation, including caravan parks and camping grounds where there are no shared communal facilites is also permitted.

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.

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 find 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.

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 must 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.

Guidelines and staff checkilists have been published for the following businesses and industries to help with safe reopening from 1 June.

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.

The Victorian Government is calling on local manufacturers of medical equipment and personal and protective equipment (PPE) to help meet increasing demand for these critical supplies due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

To help easily identify local manufacturing capacity and capability in the production of PPE and medical equipment a Manufacturing Suppliers Portal has been created by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

Register here

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.