$8.4m support for Melbourne businesses after some COVID-19 restrictions to stay

Image credit: Ben Garratt on Unsplash

The Victoria state authorities announced another support package worth $8.4 million for Melbourne businesses as it prepares to partially exit the two-week lockdown. The fresh injection of cash brings the total state support for SMEs to over $500 million in two weeks. 

“We are now in a place where we can continue to ease restrictions and reopen more businesses safely – but those businesses that will still be affected by restrictions will share a new injection of $8.4 million,” Victorian treasurer Timothy Pallas said.

The Government had earlier announced $492.2 million of support for SMEs and sole traders, including the Business Costs Assistance Program, Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund and Regional Tourism Support Package.

“This top-up payment will support businesses who will still be affected in the coming week, so they can be in the best position to recover once their doors reopen.” 

Exit strategy

Melbourne is set to exit the two-week lockdown on Thursday, June 10. However, travel to regional Victoria is still prohibited, and the limit on movement has been extended to a 25km radius (from 10km).

“From 11:59 pm Thursday, June 10, the five reasons to leave home will no longer apply in metro Melbourne, and the existing 10-kilometre limit will be increased to 25 kilometres,” Acting Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“Cafes, restaurants and pubs will open – with strict safety measures like density limits, seated service and QR codes in place.” 

“Remaining retail will also open. Hairdressing, beauty and personal care can resume, but only for services where masks can be kept on.” 

“There’ll also be increases to the capacity limits at places like restaurants, entertainment venues and community facilities.” 

“We’ll also look at what more can be done to ease restrictions for businesses without risking the gains we have made.”

Commenting on  the announcement, Tim Piper, the Victorian Head of the national employer association Ai Group, said: “The additional government support is welcome and the eased restrictions will enable many (businesses) to open.”

“However, turning a profit for those in the services sector will remain extremely difficult. The State Government should remove restrictions for Metro Melbourne people travelling to regional areas.”

“Government has made additional funding available to assist really hard hit businesses, which is very welcome, but the best support is to let them open,” he added.

Here’s the complete list of restrictions in Regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne from 11.59 pm Thursday, June, 10:

Via premier.vic.gov.au

Victoria recorded one new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, June 9, bringing the total tally of active cases to 83.

Here’s the timeline of Victoria’s response to COVID-19 this year: 

  • February 21 – Circuit Breaker Support Package worth $143 million announced following 5-day lockdown
  • May 30 – Support package worth $250.7 million for small and medium businesses (SMEs) after 7-day lockdown announced
  • June 1 – $209.3 million support package for SMEs after lockdown after extended for another week
  •  June 6 – $32.2 million support package for local tourism businesses ahead of the Queen’s Birthday weekend.
  •  June 9 – Extra Cash Support worth $8.4 million announced for Melbourne businesses 

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By Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.