On 2 August 2020 Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announced a state of disaster for Victoria along with stricter stay at home rules. This was followed on 3 August 2020 by further announcements regarding restrictions for businesses in Metropolitan Melbourne and Stage 3 restrictions for the rest of Victoria.
For full detail of the Premier’s announcements click here.
What does this mean for your business in Melbourne?
Under Stage 4 “Stay at Home” restrictions come into place over this week, physical workplaces are closed for on-site work unless they fall into one of the below categories as part of the permitted industry categories. All Victorians are required to work from home except where that is not practicable.
Some businesses can remain open under restricted rules and ensuring they have a COVID Safe Plan in place. Sole operators can continue if they don’t have contact with the public or with anyone outside their primary household. A full outline of the business directive of workplace closures from the Victorian Government is available here.
Businesses that are required to shut have until 11:59pm Wednesday 5 August unless they have specific circumstances.
We understand this may be devastating for many of our clients and their employees who run businesses that are impacted by these changes.
The shutdown has initially been announced to last six weeks and there will be severe penalties for businesses that do not comply. Below are some of the Government assistance initiatives available throughout this period.
JobKeeper for August and September
For those businesses that already qualified for JobKeeper during the first round, their payments will continue as normal until the end of September. They will then need to reassess under JobKeeper 2.0.
Those businesses that didn’t qualify for JobKeeper previously that must now shut could now be eligible under the current JobKeeper rules. If you project your business will suffer a decline in turnover more than the threshold (30% decline for businesses and 15% for NFPs) then your business may qualify for the months of August and September 2020.
For more information on JobKeeper and JobKeeper 2.0, see our FAQs here. If you would like assistance in determining your businesses eligibility, please contact your William Buck advisor.
State Government assistance
The Victorian Government announced further support for businesses affected by the new restrictions through the Business Support Fund – Expansion Program.
Under the Program, eligible businesses that employ staff can receive:
- $10,000 if based in metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire
- $5,000 if based in regional local government areas (except Mitchell Shire)
Those businesses that have already applied for compensation under the Business Support Fund will not need to reapply. Applications are extended until 14 September 2020. For more details, click here or contact your local Willam Buck advisor.
Businesses that previously couldn’t access rent relief due to not being eligible for JobKeeper or having the required decline in income, may now qualify.
For more information on rent relief, see the below resources or contact your local William Buck advisor.
- Victoria passes COVID-19 land tax relief and commercial tenancy obligations
- Federal Government releases commercial tenancies code of conduct
Pandemic leave disaster payment
The Federal Government has announced a $1,500 pandemic leave disaster payment for those that are required to self-isolate for 14 days with no more sick leave available to them.
The payment can be accessed multiple times for those required to self-isolate on more than one occasion.
At this stage, it’s only available in Victoria given it has been declared a state of disaster.
For more information regarding this worker support payment click here.