Logo
Skip Links

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.

Visit Council's Connect website page for more information on current restrictions, grants and other business support initiatives.

Increasing your outdoor dining numbers
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, Sunday 17 January 2021, face masks will no longer be mandatory in all public indoor settings.

These requirements are in line with settings that were in place at Christmas time.

Face masks continue to be mandatory in the following locations:

  • On public transport
  • When riding in a ride share or taxi
  • Inside shopping centres, including the retail stores inside shopping centres, such as clothing stores
  • Inside indoor markets
  • In large retail stores (over 2000 sqm), such as department stores, electronics stores, furniture stores, hardware stores or supermarkets
  • On domestic flights to and from Victoria
  • At airports
  • In hospitals

From 5:00pm on 31 December, some changes were made to the COVIDSafe Summer restrictions, including the number of people allowed at social gatherings in the home.

This means that:

  • Wearing a face mask is strongly recommended outdoors when you can’t keep 1.5 metres distance from other people
  • You can have up to 15 visitors to your home per day. There is no limit on the number of households those people come from. Front and backyards are considered part of the home
  • Up to 100 people can meet outdoors in a public place. There is no limit on the number of households those people come from
  • Record keeping continues to be an important tool for helping Victoria to stay safe and stay open. Businesses that are required to record the details of visitors should use electronic record keeping or QR codes. The Victorian Government has a free QR code service
  • Restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs can open for seated and unseated service. They must use electronic record keeping and apply the two square metre rule to ensure that customers have enough room to keep 1.5 metres between themselves and others. There are no other limits on the number of customers. Venues can have up to 25 people before the two square metre rule needs to be applied
  • Weddings, funerals and religious gatherings can occur with no limits on the number of guests or attendees. To ensure people can keep 1.5 metres distance the venue must apply the two square metre rule. If a service is conducted in a private home, the private gathering limit applies (15 visitors)
  • Dance floors can reopen in bars and pubs as well as at weddings. The four-square metre rule must be applied to limit the number of people on the dance floor and there can only be up to 50 people on the dancefloor at one time, if space allows
  • There are also changes to the number of people allowed at community facilities such as libraries, sporting facilities (such as gyms), and entertainment facilities (such as cinemas)

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.

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.

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:

  • Allow staff to work from home where possible
  • 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:

Read the full range of posters and signage for business

Further resources

Powered by