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Coronavirus business support

Advice, updates and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus COVID-19

On this page

  • Economic Survival and Jobs Package
  • Business Support Fund applications open
  • Business restrictions
  • Develop business continuity and recovery plans
  • Australian Government Economic Stimulus Package business measures
  • What should you tell your staff?
  • Working for Victoria Fund
  • Can your business run events?
  • More information

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 the COVID-19 pandemic.

Download the 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.

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.

Apply now

Business restrictions

The list of restricted non-essential services has been significantly extended.

From 11.59pm on Monday, 30 March 2020, Stage 3 restrictions limit indoor and outdoor gatherings to two people only with some exemptions.

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

A limit of one person per four square metres applies to any gathering and people are urged to practice social distancing of 1.5 metres between people at all times.

Please read the full list of restricted non-essential activities here.

Please note: Victorians will still be able to go to the supermarket, the bank, the pharmacy and access other essential stores, like petrol stations and convenience stores.

For all businesses not subject to restricted trading, it is recommended that the DHHS Actions for organisations, workplaces and employers are followed to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you have any questions about your business’s ability to open under the 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 Department of Health and Human Services (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.

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

Register your interest

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 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 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 the Coronavirus.

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 the COVID-19 outbreak refer to: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.

Organisations and employers who are responsible for a workplace or venue should start to take actions now to reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus. This includes any venue, such as a school, university, office building or any workplace.

These actions should include:

  • Consider whether activities, such as ceremonies, assemblies or celebrations can be postponed, reduced in size/frequency or cancelled.
  • Cancel non-essential activities such as business travel, study visits, extra-curricular activities and sporting events.
  • Encourage flexible working arrangements including working from home and off-peak travel.
  • Purchase COVID-19 prevention supplies, for example alcohol sanitisers or soap.
  • Provide and promote 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 if possible.
  • 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 COVID-19?

  • Be prepared for staff calling in sick – estimates that up to 40% of population might call in sick at some stage over the coming months.
  • 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, be courteous and please advise them of your concern.
  • Encourage them to self-isolate, stay at home (self-quarantine) and contact the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

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.

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

Effective 11.59pm, Monday 30 March 2020, gatherings are restricted to no more than two people.

Keep up to date on the latest information at the DHHS COVID-19 transmission reduction measure webpage.

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

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

From Wednesday March 18 2020, a Level 4 ban has been put in place for the entire world.

Latest travel advice can be found on the Commonwealth Department of Health website and will be updated regularly. To make sure you have the latest information, please visit the Coronavirus health alert page on their 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 the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call the DHHS dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398.
  • National Coronavirus Health Information Line - 1800 020 080 (this number operates 24/7 - if you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450)
  • 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 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.

If your business has been affected by coronavirus, 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.