Covid-19 Update

National Cabinet to reduce international arrivals by half, quarantine program under review

The Prime Minister announced in a press conference this afternoon that there would be a reduction in the number of returning citizens and residents over the next few weeks.There are no travellers returning to Victoria due to the COVID-19 spike, but various ports in other states will only receive 4,000 residents per week, down from the 8,000 currently received.

The Prime Minister said the National Cabinet decided the hotel quarantine program should move towards charging returning Australians for the two weeks of hotel accommodation as they isolate. It will be incumbent for states and territories to make their announcements. Where possible, the government will seek national uniformity across pricings.

Lastly, Mr Morrison announced there would be a national review of Australia’s hotel quarantine program, undertaken by the former Health Secretary Jay Holton. The review will work with states and territories to ensure procedures are working efficiently and the Government can have greater confidence in the quarantine arrangements put in place.

Victorians advised to wear masks

Victorians have been asked to wear masks while out in public, in a bid to reduce the risk of transmission if they are in a situation where they can’t follow social distancing rules.The advice from the Victorian Chief Health Minister, supported by the AHPPC, requests Victorians to wear masks when they are out of their home, relating principally to metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

Mr Andrews said even a homemade mask will help reduce the risk of transmission, and advised 2 million reusable masks and 1 million single-use masks had been ordered for distribution throughout the state at a later date.

“When you are out of your home for one of those four permitted reasons and when you can’t maintain that 1.5m social distance, so whether you are in an Uber or a taxi or if you are on public transport, many other examples, or even for the shopping on the basics you need when you need them, even a homemade mask or another mask, double come to that in a moment, it is our request of you,” he said.

“It’s not compulsory, we are simply asking that if you can wear a mask where you can’t distance, that is exactly what we would like you to do.”

$534 million Business Support Package for Victorian SME’s

The Victorian Government has launched a new $534 million Business Support Package, providing more support to help businesses and workers through to the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new package includes:

  • The expanded Business Support Fund providing more than 80,000 eligible businesses with a new $5,000 grant to support them through the renewed restrictions. This grant was previously made available to the 2 postcodes linked to outbreaks.  It will now apply to all areas under Stage 3 restrictions.
  • $30 million dedicated fund for Victoria’s night-time economy to support the hardest hit businesses in hospitality.
  • $26 million in mental health support will ensure Victorians dealing with the compounding challenges of running a small business can get the support they need as they navigate their way through the crisis.
  • $10 million business mentoring program, pairing small business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis.
  • $40 million capped fund for regional tourism businesses to cover the costs of refunds, as well as marketing campaigns to boost region to region visitation while Melbourne is locked down. Eligible operators will be able to claim up to $225 per night for up to five nights for each and every room cancelled due to the return of Stage 3 restrictions, provided they refund the booking in full.
  • $20 million fund to support small businesses in Melbourne’s CBD that are faced with a large and sustained shock to their trading environments.

Businesses will also benefit from an extended and expanded payroll tax deferral. Eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million can defer their liabilities for the first half of the 2020/21 financial year.

Please provide this information to your member networks.
For more information and for registrations of interest, please visit the Business Victoria website.

Further details on how to apply will be provided over the coming days.