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Business support during COVID-19

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This page provides information on business support initiatives during COVID-19 and what Council is doing to support local businesses and creatives.

We're here to help

We know many businesses are doing it tough and are responding to rapidly changing restrictions in these unprecedented times.

We’re here to help support local business, tourism and creatives affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) and point you in the right direction to information and support packages.

To view the latest restrictions for how we live and work in Victoria the COVIDSafe settings page at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

Visit Council's Connect Mount Alexander website for more information on frequently asked questions about the current restrictions, grants and other business support initiatives.

Outdoor dining
To open up additional outdoor dining spaces, our free variation to outdoor dining permits allow hospitality businesses the opportunity to extend their existing footpath trading.

For local information and support call our COVID-19 support service on 1800 512 446 between 8.30am and 5.00pm (Monday to Friday) or send an email to covid19@mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

Our Environmental Health Officers are also available to answer any queries. They are still visiting premises and undertaking wastewater inspections. Contact them by phone or email environmentalhealth@mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

Current restrictions

From 11:59 pm on Thursday, 3 June 2021, if you live in regional Victoria there are no restrictions on the reasons to leave home, but staying COVIDSafe remains important.

• If you can work or study from home, you should continue to do so.
• Workplaces like offices can increase to 50 per cent or 20 people, whichever is greater.
• Face masks must be carried at all times and must be worn indoors. You do not need to wear a mask in your own home or if a lawful exception applies.
• Face masks are required outdoors where physical distancing of 1.5m cannot be maintained, for example, at a busy open-air market.

Goods and services
• Retail is open, with a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm. While shopping you need to respect the limit of allowed patrons in a retail setting. This limit on patrons is in place to ensure everyone in the shop can keep 1.5 metres distance from each other.
• Beauty and personal care services are open, with a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm. Only services where the customer can wear a face mask throughout the service can resume.
• Check in upon entry using the Service Victoria app, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

Hospitality
• Restaurants and cafes are open for dine-in service with a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm and a maximum of 50 people per venue.
• There is a maximum on group bookings of 10 people.
• The limit on customers for seated, dine-in service is in place to ensure everyone can keep 1.5 metres distance.
• Food courts can also re-open with the same limits on the number of customers.
• Regional businesses are required to check identification of their customers to ensure they live in regional Victoria. A permitted visitor from metropolitan Melbourne is not allowed to dine in unless they are a permitted worker.
• Check in upon entry using the Service Victoria app, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

Entertainment
• Indoor seated entertainment venues can open with a seated capacity of 25 per cent and a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm up to maximum of 50 people per venue.
• Check in upon entry using the Service Victoria app, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.


Important information for businesses
Cleaning, signage, record keeping, and other COVIDSafe requirements continue to apply for all venues and facilities with on-site operations.

All businesses are encouraged to use the Victorian Government QR Code Service and to ensure that customers check in. It is mandatory for some sectors to use the Victorian Government QR Code Service – a full list can be found here.

Your business must have an active, up-to-date COVIDSafe Plan. Businesses that fail to do the right thing face significant fines.

Vaccinations
From Friday 28 May all Victorians over the age of 40 will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Victorians aged 40-49 years will be able to access the Pfizer vaccine at state-run vaccination sites. People aged 40-49 years receiving the Pfizer vaccine must book an appointment by calling the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398. This is essential as not all vaccination centres will have the Pfizer vaccine available.

Victorians aged 50 years and over will continue to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, either through a state-run vaccination centre or a participating GP clinic. Find your nearest site.

Stay up to date
Stay up to date with the latest exposure sites. Anyone with symptoms should get tested immediately. The list of testing sites includes wait times.

For more information go to coronavirus.vic.gov.au or call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.

How Council is supporting local business

COVID-19 has changed the way we work and play. We have been working with businesses, community groups and food markets to meet new public health standards, and keep our local food supply and economy going.

As part of our response to coronavirus, we introduced some initial support measures to help reduce financial pressures on local business, and created a dedicated COVID-19 support service. We’ve also adopted a COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy to guide financial relief for those who need it, and have allocated funding for relief measures in the 2020/2021 Budget which Council adopted as the Ordinary Meeting of Council on Tuesday 18 August 2020.

The $45.9 million budget outlines the resources necessary to maintain and improve infrastructure, and deliver projects and services which are valued by our community. This year we incorporated a range of products to specifically help respond to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

This includes additional investment in tourism marketing, mental health training, the waiver of registrations and permits for some businesses, and our online platform for the creative industries.

We’ve been checking in on businesses, event organisers and accommodation providers who have been hit hard, and are working in partnership with our creative workforce to develop and launch Get Lost - a collaborative, online platform to help keep us culturally connected and support e-commerce opportunities.

Sign up to our business and creative community newsletter to stay informed on the local industry response to the pandemic, and finance and support.

Keeping you and your staff safe

It is recommended that employers implement the following practices to help keep workers safe and limit the spread of COVID-19:

  • Maintain physical distancing by keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres between people
  • Encourage all workers to frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser and to practise good hygiene
  • Be aware of how to spot COVID-19 symptoms and make sure workers do not come to work if they are unwell
  • Make sure your workplace is regularly cleaned and disinfected
  • Have signs and posters around the workplace to remind workers and others of the risks of COVID-19 and the measures that are necessary to stop its spread
  • Use touchless transaction systems such as online ordering and EFTPOS
  • Minimise the duration of exposure by splitting shifts and limit time spent traveling together
  • Look at the risks in your business and put processes in place to limit them

If you are struggling

If you or anyone you know needs help or mental health support visit our managing your health and wellbeing page for information on crisis and support services.

And do please reach out to the following services if you’re not feeling okay:

Free counselling is available to business

Council is encouraging local business owners who need some support right now, to access our free Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

The program is provided by Assure, and gives participants access to four confidential and free counselling sessions with an experienced psychologist.

It is designed to help participants resolve concerns arising at work or in their personal life, or even financial, legal and nutritional coaching.

Consultations are entirely confidential, and no information or names of participants are provided back to Council.
Call Assure on 1800 808 374 and let them know you’re a client of Mount Alexander Shire Council.

For more information on the service, or to make an appointment download the EAP brochure.

Read the full range of posters and signage for business

Further resources

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