Updated 30 March 2020, 4.30pm
If your business is being affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) there are resources that can help. Please choose from the links below:
This web page will be updated as new information becomes available. Please check back regularly to stay up-to-date with the latest advice for your business.
Businesses can now call a Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 for the latest information on the COVID-19 response, how this affects businesses, how to keep their workplace safe and advice on how to plan for dealing with the current situation and anticipate likely developments. The hotline can also provide information about support services and what financial assistance might be available.
COVID-19 Shutdown. What must close in Victoria?
COVID-19 restrictions on non-essential venues and activities as of 30 March 2020.
If your business is not included in the descriptions on this list, you may continue operating at this time, but businesses in operation must observe:
- Physical distancing to reduce in-person contact. A limit of one person per four square metres applies and distancing of 1.5 metres between people at all times. Retailers must display a sign showing the maximum number of people permitted on the premises based on the occupancy rule of no more than 1 person for every 4 square metres of floorspace. Retailers must also manage the entry and exit of customers to maintain a total occupancy of no more than 1 person for every 4 square metres of floorspace.
- Stricter hygiene and cleaning practices throughout opening hours, especially for frequently touched surfaces. These include fixtures such as benchtops, counters, door handles, touch screens and EFTPOS equipment. Cleaning and disinfecting to reduce COVID-19 transmission - tips for non-healthcare settings guide (Word) has advice on cleaning and disinfecting to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in all non-healthcare settings in Victoria.
- Other Actions for organisations, workplaces and employers recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
If you have specific questions about your business’s ability to continue operating, or how to apply the recommended actions in your setting, contact the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15 or use this Contact form.
- Exceptions: All Victorians only permitted to leave their homes for four reasons:
- to purchase food and necessary supplies
- for medical or health care needs
- for personal exercise in compliance with ban on public gatherings
- to attend work or education where they are not able to work or lean remotely
No gathering in public places, no more than two people together at any one time
National Cabinet’s strong advice is for self-isolation at home to the maximum extent practicable for Australians:
- over 70 years of age;
- over 60 years of age who have existing health conditions or comorbidities;
- indigenous Australians over the age of 50 who have existing health conditions or comorbidities.
- These groups should limit contact with others as much as possible when they travel outside.
Food and drink
Restaurants and cafes must stop providing table service
- Exceptions: Takeaway and/or home delivery
- Exceptions:Cafés or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens;
- Exceptions:Food services for the homeless
- Exceptions:Workplace canteens can provide takeaway only
Food courts must stop providing table service
- Exceptions: May continue to offer delivery and takeaway
Real estate auctions and open house inspections
- Exceptions: Private appointments for inspection, physical distancing of 1.5 metres between people and only one person per four square metres
Outdoor and indoor market stalls
- Exceptions: Those that provide food and drink for consumption off the premises of the market. A limit of one person per four square metres applies
Beauty and personal care services
Hairdressers and barber shops
- Exceptions: Must observe 1 person per 4 square metre rule in the premises
Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons, tattoo parlours
Spas and massage parlours
- Exceptions: Allied health services, such as physiotherapy and podiatry are not required to close.
Pubs, registered and licenced clubs and hotels
- Exceptions: Bottle shops attached to these venues
Concert venues, theatre, arenas, auditoriums, stadiums
- Exceptions: Live streaming of a performance by a small group could be permissible with social distancing observed
Casinos, gaming or gambling venues
Strip clubs, brothels and sex on premises venues
Cinemas, entertainment venues and night clubs
Amusement parks, arcades and children’s play centres (indoor and outdoor)
Leisure and recreation
Gyms, fitness centres and sporting venues, including outdoor gyms in public places
Community and recreation centres
- Exceptions: Facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services.
Health clubs, yoga, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres
- Exceptions: Allied health services, such as physiotherapy and podiatry are not required to close.
Personal training facilities both indoor and outdoor and boot camps
- Exceptions: Outside personal training is limited to two people, including the trainer and physical distancing must be observed.
Social sporting-based activities
Playgrounds and skate parks
Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses will be a decision for each state and territory
- Exceptions: Excluding permanent residents and workers.
Access to residential aged care facilities has been restricted
- Exceptions: Regular staff, visiting clinical staff, up to two family or personal visitors per resident for for up to 2 hours per day
- Exceptions: Essential visitors will need to: visit only the resident, wear personal protective equipment as directed by staff, enter and leave the facility directly without spending time in communal areas and perform hand hygiene before entering and after leaving the resident’s room.
Caravan parks and camping grounds
- Exceptions: Where people live permanently in caravan parks or are staying in caravan parks as interim abodes where their primary residence is not available, they may continue to do so.
- Exceptions: Where the accommodation is for the purposes of respite, for victims of family violence, other vulnerable groups or for care purposes.
Zoos, petting zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks
- Exceptions: The maintenance, care or rescue of animals
Galleries, museums, national institutions and historic sites
Libraries, community centres, and youth centres
Local government non-essential facilities and services (such as libraries and pools)
Community facilities (such as community halls, clubs, RSLs, PCYCs)
- Exceptions: These facilities may remain open for the purposes of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services
Places of worship, religious gatherings or ceremonies
- Exceptions: Weddings may be held in places of worship (or other venues), but only with the couple, celebrant and maximum of two witnesses in attendance.
- Exceptions: Funerals may be held in places of worship, funeral parlours or other venues, with a maximum of ten mourners in attendance.
For all businesses that are still allowed to operate and trade, the Department of Health and Human Services has information on Actions for organisations, workplaces and employers to help reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Up to date health information and guidance
Visit the Australian Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert.
Visit Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services or for simplified Chinese translations visit the information page for the Chinese community. For other languages please call the Translating and Interpreting Services on 131 450.
The Victorian Chamber’s advice on protecting your employees.
You can also find a collection of coronavirus (COVID-19) resources in both English and Simplified Chinese at the Australian Government Department of Health. For example:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) – what you need to know
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources in Simplified Chinese
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) - For travel, transport and hotel industries.
For current travel advice check the Smart Traveller website.
We encourage employees and employers to work together to find appropriate solutions that suit the needs of individual workplaces and staff.
For information and assistance on any aspect of your employment obligations, the Victorian Chamber Workplace Relations Advice Line (03) 8662 5222 can help.
Working from home
A working from home assessment doesn’t just stop at the workstation set up. It should also include the general home layout and functions such as entry and exit points, first aid and emergency management. Our Health Safety and Wellbeing consultants can perform home workstation assessments for your employees to ensure that their home set up is set up correctly to reduce the risk of injury, ensure they have the correct equipment to work comfortably. When employees work from home, this becomes their workplace – and employers must manage hazards and risks at their home as if they are on site.
If you have any questions around ergonomics and workstation assessments or procedures contact us online or call 03 8662 5333.
WorkSafe Victoria are working as part of a whole-of-government approach to mitigate the risk of Coronavirus in Victoria.
As part of this approach, WorkSafe Victoria have produced guidance to ensure that employers understand their obligations in relation to protecting employees from risks to their health, and that employees know what controls should be in place.
Where there is a risk to health and is identified at the workplace, employers must, so far as reasonably practicable, eliminate the risks or minimise the risks. The type of control measure required depends on the level of risk and as well as the availability and suitability of controls for each workplace.
This may include providing adequate facilities or products such as hand sanitizers to allow employees to maintain good hygiene practices, advise employees to self-isolate at home for 14 days if they have been in contact with confirmed cases of novel coronavirus.
The following information includes links regarding Coronavirus:
- Worksafe Victoria - Safety alert – Exposure to Coronavirus in workplaces factsheet
- Worksafe Victoria - Guide for Employers - preparing for pandemic, which includes information on managing the direct risks of infection.
- Incorporate OHS Risk Controls measures in Business Continuity Plans
- Hygiene and Cleaning – such as additional workplace cleaning, hand hygiene,
- Australian Institute of Health and Safety – Safe Work Australia underscores PCBU responsibilities with COVID-19
- Safe Work Australia – Information from WHS Regulators and Workers Compensation Authorities
If the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) are causing financial hardship for your business or for you personally, your bank has practical ways they can help. Australian banks have agreed to defer repayments on loans to small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak for six months. They also have hardship teams ready to assist you with your business and personal financial arrangements, depending on your circumstances. Visit the Australian Banking Association website for more information.
The ATO will provide administrative relief for certain tax obligations (similar to relief provided following the bushfires) for taxpayers affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis. Contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 or visit the ATO website at ato.gov.au for more information.
The Chamber is also calling on commercial landlords to reduce rent and defer payments for affected businesses. Some landlords have been willing to make such arrangements so talk to yours about this. The Victorian Small Business Commission can potentially help you negotiate an agreement or settle a dispute.
People unable to attend work because they have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, need to self-isolate, or whose income has been impacted by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, may be eligible for income support payments. The Government is making these payments quicker to access by waiving the usual waiting period in certain circumstances. Visit the Services Australia website for more information or to apply.
It’s important to look after yourself during this stressful time. Stress savvy in business and Beyond Blue’s Heads Up offer resources to help you look after your own mental health and manage mental health issues in the workplace, including advice specifically for small business owners.
Government economic rescue measures
The Federal, Victorian and some local governments have announced measures to help business continue operating. Information on what these mean for members can be found on our dedicated webpage.
Trade and export assistance
The Australian Government’s Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) provide Australian businesses with export finance solutions and may be able to assist. They provide export loans, guarantees, bonds and buyer finance solutions help businesses access finance.
The Victorian Chamber’s international consulting services can guide you through the global marketplace, providing support, strategies and practical advice.
The Small Business Mentoring Service offers low-cost sessions with a diverse range of mentors that can help you to navigate difficult business decisions, prepare business continuity plans, review your business strategy or revise your business plans. Or a free 45-minute session with an experienced business adviser is available via the Small Business Bus.
See your local Victorian Government Business Office (VGBO) - staffed with Business Development Managers (BDMs) who are specialists in business and industry, they can support you and help you navigate any relevant government services, programs and regulations.