Covid-19 Update

NSW tightens COVID-19 restrictions on “higher risk” activities

Premier Gladys Berejiklian today announced that restrictions on certain activities would be put into place as more venues in Sydney have been identified as hot spots. From 12:01am Friday, 24 July 2020 the following rules will be in force as NSW enters a state of ‘COVID normal’.

  • Compliance measures introduced to pubs will be extended to restaurants, bars, cafés and clubs. This includes:
    1. limiting group bookings to a maximum of 10 people
    2. mandatory COVID-Safe plans and registration as a COVID-Safe business
    3. a digital record must be created within 24 hours.
  • Weddings and corporate events will be limited to 150 people subject to the four square metre rule and registration as a COVID-Safe business. Strict COVID-Safe plans must be in place and high-risk activities including choirs and dancing must not occur.
  • Funerals and places of worship will be limited to 100 people, subject to the one person per four square metre rule and a COVID-Safe business registration.

The rules on gatherings remain the same: 20 guests inside the home and 20 for gatherings in a public place. However, as the home is a high transmission area, the NSW Chief Health Officer strongly recommends a COVID-Safe precautionary approach of limiting visitors to the home to 10 people as a general principle.

NRA welcomes $2 billion JobTrainer skills package announced yesterday

The National Retail Association, as a Registered Training Organisation, welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister yesterday of a $2 billion investment in upskilling. The new $1 billion JobTrainer fund will provide up to an additional 340,700 training places to help school leavers and job seekers access short courses to develop new skills in growth sectors and create a pathway to more qualifications. Courses will be free or low cost in areas of identified need, with the Federal Government providing $500 million with matched contributions from State and Territory governments.

The Morrison Government will work cooperatively with States and Territories to develop a list of qualifications and skill sets that will provide job seekers with the skills that are in demand by employers and are critical to the economic recovery. The National Skills Commission will play a critical role in identifying current and future skills needed in a challenging and changing labour market. The NRA will be vocal in advocating for investment in skills for the retail industry, and getting career pathways for school leavers and job seekers.

The Government has also announced an additional $1.5 billion to expand the wage subsidy to help keep apprentices and trainees in work. It builds on the $1.3 billion package announced in March. In addition to small businesses already covered, the wage subsidy will be expanded to medium sized businesses with less than 200 employees for apprentices employed as at 1 July 2020. Around 180,000 apprentices and the 90,000 small and medium businesses that employ them will now be supported, with the program extended by six months to the end of March 2021.

$1 million support to assist recovery of businesses in regional SA

The Australian Government has committed a further $1 million to provide small regional businesses in South Australia with access to free and confidential financial counselling through the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS). The investment will help businesses understand their financial position, identify options and implement plans to improve their long-term financial viability. Small business financial counselling and recovery support services will be made available to June 2021.

Small businesses can register their interest now by calling 1300 771 741.

Northern Territory opens borders today

NT has today opened its borders, allowing most interstate arrivals to move freely around the Territory for the first time in nearly four months.

It also means most people currently in self-isolation in the NT will be able to leave and start exploring the Territory.

But there will be stricter conditions placed on travellers who have spent time in COVID-19 hotspots (which the NT Government classifies as anywhere in Victoria or Greater Sydney), in a bid to minimise any potential spread of the virus. Anyone coming from a COVID-19 hotspot will need to go straight into 14 days forced, Government-managed quarantine and will need to pay the $2,500 fee themselves.

If you’re planning on travelling to the Northern Territory, you need to fill in an online border entry form about 72 hours before you leave home.