The Geelong Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to inform local businesses about current updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This page was last updated on the 15/09/2020 at 2:49pm.

Navigate to:

  1. Member Support
  2. Financial Support
  3. Mental Health Support
  4. Business Organisation Support
  5. Health & Restrictions Information

 

1. Member Support

Geelong Chamber Webinars 

We have put together a variety of Expert Panel Webinars to discuss business measures to take during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure ongoing business. Watch all Webinars here. 
Please register for upcoming Webinars on our Event page

Help from Members for Members 

We're proud to be a part of such a unique network of local businesses. In times of crisis it is outstanding to see that our members have provided insight into their field to support other businesses. 
Worksafe has put together a COVID-19 Worksafe page to answer all your workplace related safety questions around managing exposure and support for employees. 
Wondering how to get back to business? St John has put togetherthis guide to opening up workplaces safely during COVID-19.  
As a member you have access to our Helping Hands offers page where members have offered their expertise worth $100 and more for free. See here for more information
The advisors at Business Depot have put together their insight into what a business owner should do if your business is being affected by Coronavirus directly, or indirectly through reduced consumer or business confidence. You can read the article here. 
Moore Stephens has put together a management plan discussing cash flow and economic outlook amongst other topics. 

If you have an article that is relevant for our business community, please reach out to the Geelong Chamber at reception@geelongchamber.com.auand we will look into posting it on this page. 

2. Financial Support: 

Federal Government Support 

Five Steps to take during COVID-19 

With so much information out there on what to do to keep your business running during this time, it can be tough to navigate actionable steps. 
We've put together a guide with five steps for you to take now to keep your business going and to look after your staff: 

  1. Register for the Jobkeeper Subsidy on the ATO website 
  2. Apply for up to $10,000 in Business Support through Business Victoria 
  3. Keep up to date with all ATO Business Support 
  4. Learn about the SME Capital Guarantee Scheme  
  5. Keep up to date with Fair Work changes when dealing with employees  

JobKeeper Payment (wage subsidy) 

Announced by the Prime Minister, the JobKeeper 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. 

  • Once passed by the Government, 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Eligible businesses can begin distributing the JobKeeper payment immediately and will be reimbursed from the first week of May. 
  • Where a business has stood down employees since 1 March, the payment will help them maintain connection with their employees. 

To register to receive further updates visit the ATO JobKeeper page here 

(As of 7/08/20 there has been changing to Job Keeper eligibility, allowing more small business owners to access the government support please check the above links for details) 

City of Geelong Support Measures 

City of Geelong has announced immediate Coronavirus support measures
These include: 

  • Development of a Council COVID-19 financial hardship policy including consideration of rates; 
  • Waiver of rent/fees for community and sporting groups within City owned land/grounds and buildings for six months from 1 March 2020; 
  • Reduction of rent by 50 per cent for eligible commercial tenants in City buildings or on City land for six months from 1 March 2020; 
  • Refund of Alfresco Dining permit fees for 12 months; 
  • Refund of A frame permit fees for 12 months; 
  • Refund of food premises registration fees for three months of the 2019-20 financial year; 
  • Refund of health premises fees for three months of the 2019-20 financial year; 
  • Development of Business Support Portal for local businesses; 
  • Development of Small Business Expert Support Program utilising local businesses; 
  • Geelong Business Concierge Service Expansion to support business program development;

Further Council updates July 1st 

Victorian State Government Support Package 

As announced on 10 July, the $534 million Business Support Package will provide more support to help businesses and workers through to the other side of the coronavirus pandemic. 

This includes: 

  • The Business Support Fund - Expansion providing more than 80,000 eligible businesses with a new $5,000 grant to support them through the renewed restrictions. 
  • A $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. 
  • A $10 million business mentoring program, pairing small business owners with experienced professionals who can help them navigate their way through the crisis. 
  • A $40 million capped fund for regional tourism businesses to cover the costs of refunds. 
  • A $20 million fund to support small businesses in Melbourne’s CBD that are faced with a large and sustained shock to their trading environments. 

For more information visit the Business Support Package page

Victorian Small Business Commission 

Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme 

The Victorian Government has introduced a Commercial Tenancy Relief Schemeto alleviate financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Victorian Small Business Commission has put together a Commercial Tenancy Toolkit with leasing advice
This information includes: 

  • the steps we recommend tenants and landlords take  

  • a proforma letter tenants can use to start the conversation with their landlord 

  • how to access free mediation with our office to support fair tenancy negotiations under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme  

  • scenarios showing how our office can help tenants and landlords that do and do not fall under the Scheme.  

For more information, read VSBC'sresponses to frequently asked questions about the Scheme

3. Mental Health Support

Mental Health Plan 

The VSBC has put together a small business owner's guide to creating a mental health plan in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).   
With many small business owners focused on trying to get their businesses through COVID-19 as well as looking after family and staff, their own mental health might not have been prioritised. 
To develop a mental health guide, VSBC consulted with stakeholders including Beyond Blue, the outcome of which is a user-friendly guide that helps business owners:  

  • identify stressors that might come up  
  • recognise changes in themselves that signal when they might need extra support   
  • plan actions they can take in response like getting accurate information about supports, including help to resolve a small business disputeor a rent dispute between a commercial tenant and landlord.  

The mental health plan comes with an easy to use template for small business owners to build their own tailored plan and anexample plan to use as a guide point.  

4. Business Organisation Support

The outbreak of the Coronavirus is causing economic disruption in many sectors. The Victorian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (VCCI) has put together a Coronavirus Resource for Business page.If you are an employer and need more information, please have a look at the VCCI employer guidehere

Business Victoria 

Business Victoria has put together a Coronavirus Business Support page to give advice, updates and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus COVID-19. 

Roadmap for Regional Victoria

Get more information on the roadmap to How we work Regional Victoria and the How we live Victoria Roadmap.

For information on the Victorian Economic Survival Package visit this link.  

Australian Chamber Employer Guide

What should employers do to manage through the COVID-19 outbreak? The focus of theEmployer Guide by the Australian Chamber is on managing and protecting your employees and your workplace and answering some of the workplace relations and work health and safety. 

Economic Response 

The treasury has brought out an economic response to the Coronavirus withsupport for businesses
This includes: 

  • Boosting cash flow for employers 
  • Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses 
  • Increasing the instant asset write-off 
  • Backing business investment 
  • Supporting apprentices and trainees 

The government has released an Emergency Management page which looks into information and support for businesses  

5. Health & Restrictions Infomation 

If you have any health questions around the novel coronavirus please refer to the Department of Health COVID-19 page

COVID-19 App 

The Department of Health has issued the COVIDSafe App, which you can download here. The app helps support and protect you, your friends and family by locating your device when you come close to someone else, while out in the park, in the supermarket etc. If someone you have been in proximity to is later identified as having COVID-19 the department can easily connect with you and let you know. It is entirely voluntary and encrypted.  

Step Three, Easing of Restrictions: 

Regional Victoria will move to Step 3 easing of restrictions effective Thursday 17/09/20 

  • "Household bubbles": a household can choose one other household to be in a bubble. You can visit them in their home. They can visit you in your home – with up to a total of 5 visitors.
  • Catch up outside: Gather in groups of 10 in outdoor public places
  • Outdoor contact and non-contact sport will begin for regional Victorians aged 18 and under, as well as outdoor non-contact sport for adults.
  • Staged return to onsite learning for all regional students in the first two weeks of Term Four.
  • The numbers for weddings and funerals will increase, and religious gatherings can happen outdoors with up to ten people.
  • Hospitality businesses will be able to serve patrons outdoors, with a cap of 50 seated patrons per venue, and an updated ‘two square metre’ density limit in place.
  • Indoors, venues can open with a cap of 10 seated customers per space – with up to 2 spaces per venue – and in line with the existing 4sqm rule
  • Tables must be spaced at least 1.5m apart, cleaned after every customer and the details of all patrons must be kept.
  • Beauty and personal care services will also be available with a face covering.
  • Outdoor events like a play in the park or an open-air cinema can take place, in accordance with other restrictions.
  • Regional real estate agents will be able to hold auctions outdoors with up to ten people.
  • Travel can resume for regional Victorians holidaying anywhere in regional Victoria.
  • All businesses across Victoria – regional and in Melbourne – will also be required to have a COVIDSafe Plan, enforceable from 28 September.

Read the full statement from the Premier on easing restrictions here.