Monday, 03 August
Yesterday afternoon, Premier Daniel Andrews announced that from 6pm on Sunday 2 August, a State of Disaster was being declared in Victoria. With that, Metro Melbourne was escalated to Stage 4 Restrictions until Sunday 13 September, with a curfew in place from 8pm-5am daily.
As well, from 11.59pm on Wednesday, Regional Victoria would move to Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ Restrictions, which means travel outside of the home is only permitted for one of the four approved reasons.
Our efforts to date in getting ahead of this virus has only seen us able to plateau the levels of new COVID cases, hovering around the 400 – 600 mark every day. Today’s figures were again above 400 with sadly 13 further deaths reported. Clearly, we cannot sustain this performance and we needed to take steps to curtail this – quickly. So, we all understand the need for action and indeed the need for all of us to do our part to flatten the curve and allow us to get back to some semblance of normalcy in this COVID-world we now live in.
With six weeks of further shutdown, however, Victoria now moves further behind the rest of the country in trying to map out some pathway to our recovery. It’s imperative that we see collaboration between the State and Federal Government in supporting Victorian businesses through this escalated period of lockdown. See our media statement released yesterday.
It was pleasing to hear the Premier say today that’s exactly what was happening and that he would have more to announce in the coming days on further support measures agreed between him and the Prime Minister.
Today, the Premier shed some light on what Stage 4 Restrictions will mean in Metro Melbourne and the three categories of workplaces that will need to either remain open, close completely or severely scale back their operations. See here the detailed descriptions of ‘Stage 4 Industries’ and what will be required to allow them to continue some form of operations.
The Premier also made it clear that, for those businesses that will be allowed to operate in some significantly scaled back form, they will be required to have ‘COVID-Safe’ Plans in place for all work environments. Please see fact sheets here with further information on Creating a COVID-Safe Workplace.
In looking to provide some immediate relief, the Premier announced today that the $5,000 Business Support Grants would be extended to affected operators in Regional Victoria. The $5,000 grants that were made available last month to affected businesses in Metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, will now be increased by a further $5,000 with the introduction of Stage 4 Restrictions.
It was pointed out in the press conference these grants will not help the sole traders who have largely been unable to qualify under the current eligibility guidelines.
The Premier did note they are aware a number of industries have been disproportionately affected during this crisis, like arts and entertainment, accommodation and hospitality. He signalled that targeted packages to provide unique support to some of these adversely affected sectors were under consideration and he would have more to say about that in coming days; including with reference to the moratorium on evictions, which VTIC has raised as a critical issue in many of our recent discussions.
The Premier’s media release can be found here.
Review your JobKeeper eligibility
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg also spoke today from Canberra and reminded businesses to review their eligibility for JobKeeper. Many who were not eligible under the performance criteria for the previous quarter, especially in Victoria, may well find that their revenues will have decreased sufficiently to meet the criteria in recent times.
Make sure that you have another look at this for your business to activate every possible avenue for support.
VTIC Insights Series tomorrow
In helping you through the current situation we’re facing, VTIC has dedicated our Insights Series over the next three weeks to looking at your financial management, crisis communications and navigating the challenges of insurance to manage risk.
Tomorrow, we’ll hear from experts on …..
What does the current economic outlook mean for your business? What financial management strategies do you need to be considering in the current environment? How can you best manage cashflow through this crisis? And what programs are there to support you through your bank?
In this session, we’ve partnered with Bank of Melbourne to welcome Chief Economist Besa Deda and Executive Manager for Small to Medium Enterprises Damian Brander. Make sure you register to attend this very special session.
In the weeks ahead
It was clear that additional measures and processes are still being developed and further announcements are planned to be delivered over the coming days. Of critical interest will be the support packages and relief measures that are established to assist Victorian businesses to survive this latest round of closures. We will continue to monitor the updates for you and provide you with further insight as information comes to hand.
This will be an incredibly difficult six weeks and will challenge each of us in different ways. Through it all, we need to rely on each other for strength and support.
VTIC will be here to support you and to work tirelessly to ensure your priorities are delivered to government.
This will be a long road to recovery, but we are on this path together – every step of the way.
Visit vtic.com.au/coronavirus for key information available including support and funding, and information specific to the tourism industry