Earlier this week Melbourne reverted back to Stage 3 restrictions, after Victoria recorded 191 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday morning which brought the number of active cases in the state to 772 – a number that has since risen and continues to rise.
Currently residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire (encompassing Broadford, Kilmore, Seymour, Tallarook, Pyalong and Wallan) are unable to leave their home for the next six week for any reasons except for exercise, shopping for food or essential items, to provide caregiving or to seek medical treatment, or for work or study if you are unable to do so from home.
While regional Victoria is currently safe, many of us have friends, families, and businesses in the city who are not. The real concern though is the local pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants and other hospitality venues that just ordered their next run of stock in readiness for a weekend that would have ordinarily allowed 20 people to dine in one space, and were given less only 34 hours notice before they had to close up again.
Today the Victorian Government has announced $534 million support package for businesses hit by coronavirus lockdown, the latest support measures on top of the $6 billion in economic relief already invested since the pandemic began.
The latest measures include cash grants for struggling businesses, mental health support for business owners, relief for tourism operators who can no longer welcome Melbourne-based visitors for holidays, and tailored and targeted advice for businesses to adapt, stay afloat and then bounce back on the other side.
The package includes:
A $30 million fund for hospitality businesses
A $26 million mental health support package for small business
A $40 million fund to help regional tourism businesses to cover refunds and marketing
$20 million for small businesses in Melbourne’s CBD
$5,000 grants to be made available for 80,000 eligible businesses in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire.
“This is a blow for the Victorian economy and our hard-working businesses, but our economy is robust enough to help us get through to the other side,” says Treasurer Tim Pallas.
The package has been designed in close consultation with industry, including the Australian Hotels Association and the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Within this, the package also provides a $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.
For more information, you can go here.