Helping businesses in Victoria rebuild
With small businesses returning in Victoria after a lifting of restrictions, Westpac is offering a range of support to helps SMEs get back on their feet.
Victoria has undoubtedly been the hardest hit state in Australia by the COVID-19 crisis. Now, after months of lockdown and heavy restrictions, the state’s small and medium businesses (SMBs) are finally re-emerging and beginning to reopen their doors.
The recovery is likely to be long and filled with uncertainty but there’s support on hand to help your business through this challenging time – and thrive again.
Here’s what you need to know about the easing of restrictions, what it means for your business, and the type of financial support you may be able to receive.
Melbourne businesses have started to reopen after 15 weeks of tight lockdown restrictions. Shops and other retail outlets can now get back to business, as can personal care and beauty services, provided customers wear face masks. Hospitality businesses, including pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants, can also open but with limitations to the number of patrons and groups in indoor and outdoor venues.
Shane Delia, Director at Delia Group in Melbourne, hopes to have all four of his venues up and running again soon, and that the wider public will act responsibly. "We don’t want people back out in droves because that’s the road back to hard lockdown and heartache, for business owners and individuals."
So with the COVID-19 health threat still very much present, there are some guidelines you must follow as a business owner if you want to reopen your business. For example, all businesses in Victoria with onsite operations must have a COVIDSafe plan in place. The Victorian Government offers information and resources to help you prepare one.
To help businesses create a safe workplace for employees and customers, the Victorian Government has six COVIDSafe principles for business that must be followed. They include:
Stay up to date on potential changes to these government requirements to give your business the best chance of a smooth and safe return.
After months of government enforced closures, quick access to funding is likely to be crucial for reviving the Victorian economy. For example, to re-employ staff, purchase extra stock for your restaurant or retail business in time for Christmas or simply to tide you over as your business starts to recover.
So if you’ve been unable to operate your business or your revenue has reduced due to restrictions, the Victorian Government is offering help. You might qualify for assistance including the Business Support Package, to pay your energy bills and an expanded payroll tax deferral.
The Australian Government also has a range of support measures in place for small businesses, including early access to superannuation and part-guaranteed loans under Phase 2 of the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme.
As part of the scheme, we’re offering new and existing eligible business customer loans of up to $1 million, which can be used for a variety of purposes, including financing business assets, such as equipment and technology imperative to growing your business.
The return of small businesses is great news for Victorians and the hundreds of thousands of small business owners in the state. If your business can reopen, make sure you and your staff understand and follow the remaining restrictions and follow the recommended guidelines. The challenge of the pandemic is still not over, and the road to recovery could be long, but you’re not alone on that journey.
This article is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting.