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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 6pm, Friday 26 March 2021, face masks will no longer be required in retail settings but Victorians will still need to carry one with them at all times and wear it:

  • on public transport
  • when riding in a rideshare vehicles or taxi
  • in sensitive settings such as aged care facilities

From 6pm, Friday March 26 2021, the following restrictions will also be eased:

  • Victorians will be able to host up to 100 people in their home per day. Outdoor gatherings in public places – the beach, the park – can also increase to 200 people.
  • Density limits in venues still operating under more restrictive settings – like casinos, karaoke venues and nightclubs – will move from 1 person per 4sqm to 1 person per 2sqm. This is in line with cafes, pubs and restaurants.
  • Additional people will also be allowed in indoor non-seated entertainment venues with an increase from 50 per cent to 75 per cent capacity however, the limit of 1000 people per space remains. Dancefloors will move to the same density limit of the venue and the 50 patron cap will also be removed.
  • There will no longer be limits on class sizes for outdoor and indoor physical recreation or fitness classes – and unstaffed gyms will be moving from a density limit of 1 person to 8sqm to 1 person per 4sqm.
  • The 75 per cent cap on private and public offices workers will also be removed, which coincides with a revised flexible work policy for the Victorian Public Service (VPS) released on March 23. While all workplaces are still required to ensure people can work from the office in a COVIDSafe way – with a density limit of 1 person per 2sqm – they will no longer be required to permit workers to work from home.

For more information on the new coronavirus settings visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au

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

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.

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:

Read the full range of posters and signage for business

Further resources

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