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Business support during COVID-19

People sitting at desks in a workshop.

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 11:59pm Thursday 15 July restrictions across Victoria changed. New changes have been introduced to slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people leaving their homes and moving around Victoria.

This means that you cannot leave your home other than for one of the five following reasons:
• shopping for necessary goods and services
• care and caregiving, including medical care and getting a COVID-19 test
• exercise
• authorised work and permitted study
• to get a COVID-19 vaccination
For a full breakdown of the latest restrictions please visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings.

For business and creative industry financial support packages 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

Support for Businesses from the Victorian Government

The Victorian Government will provide new cash grants for businesses affected by the short lockdown necessary to get ahead of the Delta strain, so they can have a strong recovery on the other side of the public health restrictions.

Automatic payments will be made to eligible businesses and sole traders across the state to minimise delays and swiftly get money into the pockets of businesses who need it most.

Up to 90,000 businesses that have and will receive payments through the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund and Business Costs Assistance Program relating to the May-June lockdown will receive the Victorian Government’s new support payments of $3,000 and $2,000 respectively.

Payments are due to commence over the course of next week – with total funding of $201.8 million. Eligible businesses will include restaurants, cafes bars, event suppliers, tourism and accommodation providers and non-essential retailers.

All applications can be made through the Services Australia at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au.

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