In the press conference held today (2nd of March 2021) by Victoria’s Acting Premier, James Merlino, several announcements were made that will impact businesses in both regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne quite differently.
For regional Victoria, restaurants can open for seated service capped at 50 people per venue as long as it can adhere to the density requirement of one person per four square meters. Weddings can now have up to 10 people; retail and personal services such as beauty and tattooing can open but masks must be worn at all times; outdoor entertainment venues can operate but will have a patron cap of 50 people or 50% of venue capacity, whichever is lower.
Additional funding was also announced to be included in the Circuit Breaker Business Support Package for metropolitan businesses to help them through the lockdown restrictions which has been extended for another 7-days. An extra $209 million will be added to the package on top of the $250 Million that was announced initially. $181 million will go to the Business Costs Assistance Program whilst the remaining $28 million will be added to the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund.
No changes were mentioned for the Victorian Events Support Package.
Business Costs Assistance Program changes:
The program initially provided $2500 for businesses in sectors most impacted by the lockdown such as restaurants, gyms, events venues and retail shops. The new boost will see this figure double to $5000 for the businesses that will have to remain closed for two weeks instead of one due to the lockdown extension.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund changes:
It was initially announced this fund would provide a $3500 grant to businesses holding an eligible liquor license and food certificate. This figure will now increase to $7000 for venues that will have to remain closed for two weeks instead of one due to the lockdown extension.
To ensure businesses only need to apply once and that their support is received in a single payment the application will open on the 3rd of June rather than the 2nd of June.
The Acting Premier also revealed that a package of support for regional tourism operators and accommodation providers will be announced in detail in coming days to account for businesses which are uniquely impacted by the difference in lockdown restrictions between regional and metropolitan Victoria.