We are keeping you in the loop with COVID-19 news, including restrictions and grant updates.


Details are subject to change due to fluctuating Coronavirus case numbers across Australia. So stay tuned for future updates, restrictions, and assistance packages available.  

Contents:

Victoria’s COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions

Restrictions are subject to change based on coronavirus case numbers and other factors. So make sure you get updates from trusted sources such as the Victorian Government website!

The Victorian Government DH Twitter page is also updated regularly.

Recent changes to COVID-19 rules and processes in Victoria

From 11:59pm Friday 22 April:

  • Patrons won’t be required to have two doses or show their vaccination status before entering any venue.
  • Staff and patrons of venues won’t need to check-in using the Service Victoria app, and operators will not be required to keep any attendance records or monitor check-ins.
  • Masks will no longer be required in primary schools, early childhood, hospitality and retail settings, or at events of any size.
  • Close contacts will no longer have to quarantine provided they wear a mask indoors out of the home, and avoid sensitive settings such as hospitals and care facilities.
    • They will also need to undertake at least five negative rapid tests over the seven days that would previously have been the self-quarantine period.
  • All visitor restrictions in hospitals will be removed except for mask requirements.
  • Events with more than 30,000 people will no longer require public health pre-approval.
  • International travellers who are symptom-free will be recommended but not required to get a PCR or rapid test on arrival.
  • Unvaccinated travellers will no longer complete 7 days’ quarantine and pre-departure tests for unvaccinated air crew will also be lifted.
  • People are exempt from testing or quarantine for 12 weeks if they’ve had COVID-19 (up from 8 weeks).
  • Workplaces won’t have to individually identify and notify each potentially exposed worker, instead individuals will be required to notify their workplace contacts, in addition to informing their social contacts.

Some settings will be retained, including:

  • Requirement to isolate for seven days following a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • Existing two-dose and three-dose vaccination mandates for workers.
  • Visitor restrictions in care facilities.
    • Residents can currently have up to five visitors per day if each show a negative rapid antigen test result – or two visitors if no test results are provided.
  • Face coverings will still be required on public transport and at airports – excluding airport workers who aren’t public facing – and in sensitive health, aged care and justice settings.
  • All workplaces will still require a COVIDSafe Plan.


Many rules which are no longer required will be recommended, including working from home if you’re a close
contact exempt from quarantine. Masks are strongly recommended when you can’t physically distance.

Click here to read the press announcement.

More rules are expected to ease in late February-early March. Stay tuned for updates!

Workplace COVID-Safe Plans

From 11:59pm on 13 September 2020, it is mandatory for every Victorian business to have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Random spot checks are underway in metropolitan Melbourne to ensure compliance.

Your COVID-Safe Plan must include:

  • Your actions to help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 in your workplace
  • The level of face mask or personal protective equipment (PPE) required for your workforce
  • How you will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace
  • Demonstrate how you will meet all the requirements set out by the Victorian Government.

There are plenty of apps and new software popping up to help businesses with this process. Do your research and find out what will work best for your business and effectively keep everyone safe.

Some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional requirements of employers and employees. Click here to see High-Risk COVID Safe Plan details.

Businesses must review and update their COVIDSafe Plans routinely, especially when restrictions or public health advice changes. For example, scarves, bandannas and face shields alone are no longer an acceptable face covering in Victoria, so any face covering requirements in your workplace (and therefore in your Covid-Safe Plan) must reflect that.

Organisations with multiple worksites must complete a COVIDSafe Plan for each worksite.

Click here for more information.

Lockdown Support Packages & Extensions

We recommend you regularly check the Business Victoria Grants & Programs page for schemes and funds. You can also subscribe to our mailing list to receive email updates on available schemes and other relevant business news.

Rent Relief for Tenants & Landlords

The Victorian Government has re-introduced the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme to alleviate the financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of continued lockdowns in the state.

Read about the process landlords and tenants need to follow here.

For Commercial Landlords:

Grants of up to $6,000 per tenancy are available to eligible small landlords who experience hardship because of waiving rent for their tenants under the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme.

In cases where landlords are experiencing acute hardship because of the rent waiver agreed with their tenants, the grant may be increased to a maximum of $10,000 per eligible tenancy.

Apply via the Business Victoria website.

For Commercial Tenants:

The Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme will be available to businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million that have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% due to COVID-19. 

Tenants are encouraged to reach out to the Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC), who will provide support to tenants and landlords through a free mediation service. 

Please get in touch with us if you require an accountant’s letter as part of your application.

See more information on the Business Victoria website. Applications for this scheme is due to close on 15 January 2022.

COVID-19 Disaster Payment

From 12 August 2021, the COVID-19 Disaster Payment is set at $450 for people who have lost from eight and up to 20 hours work or a full day of work (over seven days), and $750 for 20 hours or more of work lost.

The same applies for individuals who are sole-trader businesses who lose work and that do not qualify for Victorian Government support programs.

In most cases, the payment now applies from day 1 of a lockdown. In general, you need to be living in, or impacted by Commonwealth declared lockdown to receive the payment although some States have funded an extension of the payment beyond hotspot areas.

A special separate $200 a week ‘top-up’ payment has been added for those currently receiving an income support payment through social security, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay in addition to their existing payment, if they can demonstrate they have lost more than 8 hours of work and meet the other eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. The payment was put in place because people receiving income support payments are not eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster payment.

Eligibility: Eligible workers, micro-businesses and sole traders who lose work or income due to the lockdown may be eligible for the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is available via Services Australia. As of 1 November 2021, the scheme is still ongoing and payments are still available.

SME Recovery Loan Scheme

The Government’s SME Recovery Loan Scheme (the Scheme) provides eligible small and medium enterprises (SMEs) access to loans of up to $5 million over a term of up to 10 years.

Eligibility:

  • SMEs with a turnover of up to $250 million are eligible. 
  • This includes self-employed individuals and non-profit businesses.
  • SMEs are no longer required to have received JobKeeper during the March quarter of 2021, or to have been a flood affected business, to be eligible for the SME Recovery Loan Scheme.

Further information about the SME Recovery Loan Scheme can be found on the Treasury website. This scheme will close on 31 December 2021.

Worker Support Scheme & Extension

Under the current scheme, a one-off payment of $1,500 is available to workers who are unable to work during their isolation, have no income during this period, and are not entitled to any paid sick leave, special pandemic leave or other income support.

The Government will now extend the scheme to ensure that as soon as a person is tested, they will be eligible for a $300 support payment from the Victorian Government – as long as they meet the eligibility of the existing scheme.

This will ensure workers don’t have to pay the price for following health advice while they are waiting for their results – meaning they can afford to isolate immediately and avoid spreading the virus further through workplaces.

More information available on the DHHS website. 

Victorian COVIDSafe Deep Clean Rebate

The COVIDSafe Deep Cleaning Rebate is to help eligible Victorian businesses cover the cost of hiring professional cleaning services to conduct a ‘decontamination clean’ of their premises.

The rebate will cover up to 80% of the cleaning costs (per worksite), capped at a grant of $10,000.

It will be available for small and medium businesses where anyone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been on the premises when they may have been infectious.

Eligible businesses:

  • operate from a worksite or premises in Victoria where a person suspected or confirmed to have coronavirus (COVID-19) has been on site when they may have been infectious
  • have undertaken a ‘deep clean’ or ‘decontamination clean’ of the affected worksite by a professional cleaning service
  • have evidence of the expenditure incurred for the cost of the decontamination cleaning at the affected worksite and payment of the expenditure
  • hold a valid Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • have an annual payroll of less than $3 million in 2019-20 on an ungrouped basis
  • be registered with WorkSafe if employing people
  • be registered as a trading business with the responsible federal or state regulator.

Businesses that have received funding from other initiatives under the Victorian Government’s Economic Survival Package and Business Support Package are also eligible to apply for this program.

More information and business eligibility criteria is available on the Business Victoria website.

Minimum Pension Withdrawal Extended

As part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Government reduced the superannuation minimum drawdown rates by 50% for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years, due to end on 30 June 2021. This has now ben extended until 30 June 2022, and will apply for the 2021-22 income year.

AgeDefault minimum drawdown rates (%)Reduced rates by 50%
< 6542
65-7452.5
75-7963
80-8473.5
85-8994.5
90-94115.5
95 +147

Example from Government Fact Sheet:

Mike is a 66 year old retiree with a superannuation account-based pension.

The value of Mike’s account-based pension at 1 July 2019 was $200,000. Under current minimum drawdown requirements, Mike is required by legislation to drawdown 5 per cent of his account balance over the course of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years.

This means Mike has to drawdown $10,000 by 30 June 2020 to comply with the minimum drawdown requirements. Following the temporary reduction in minimum drawdown requirements, Mike will now only be required to drawdown 2.5 per cent of his account balance, that is, $5,000, by 30 June 2020.

If Mike has already withdrawn over $5,000 for 2019-20, he is not able to put the amount above $5,000 back into his superannuation account. 2 On 1 July 2020 the value of Mike’s account-based pension is $180,000 (after drawdowns and investment losses).

During 2020-21, Mike is required to drawdown 2.5 per cent of his account balance, which is $4,500, instead of $9,000. As a result of this change to minimum drawdown requirements, Mike is able to preserve his capital while still drawing an income from his superannuation. 


Please contact our Superannuation Administrator, Anne Burridge, with any questions or concerns regarding your superannuation.

Helpline for Businesses during Coronavirus

Call the business helpine: 13 28 46
The Morrison Government’s business hotline will give more support to SMEs impacted by the Coronavirus

pandemic.
The 13 28 46 Contact Centre opening hours will increase to seven days per week, answering calls from 7am to 11pm AEST. 

Other Financial Hardship Helplines

Click here for a detailed hardship guide broken down by lender.

Lender NameFinancial Hardship Phone Number  
Adelaide Bank1300 652 146
AMP1300 130 191
ANZ1800 252 845
Auswide Bank1300 138 831
Bank of China1800 095 566
Bank of Melbourne 1300 630 266
Bank of Sydney13 95 00
Bankfirst03 9834 8530
Bankwest1300 787 144
Better Choice1300 334 336
Beyond Bank13 25 85
Bluestone13 25 83
Choicelend1300 144 554
Citibank1800 722 879
Commonwealth Bank1300 720 814
Firstmac13 12 20
Heritage Bank1800 222 030
ING1300 349 166
LaTrobe Financial1800 620 639
Liberty13 11 33
Macquarie1300 363 330
ME Bank1300 500 520
MyState13 80 01
NAB1800 701 599
Pepper Money1800 356 383
RedZed1300 722 462
Resimac1800 701 599
St George1800 629 795
Suncorp1800 225 223
Virgin Money1800 701 997
Westpac1800 067 497

Mental Health Resources 

These are some tips from Beyond Blue for managing your mental health during this time of uncertainty. Please click here for their more detailed advice page.

Managing your mental health during Coronavirus lockdowns:

There are a number of ways to support your mental health during periods of lockdown, self-isolation or quarantine.

  • Remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation to slow the spread of the virus.
  • Remember that your effort is helping others in the community avoid contracting the virus.
  • Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, video conferencing or telephone.
  • Connect with others via the Beyond Blue forums thread: Coping during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
  • Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods.
  • Try to maintain physical activity.
  • Establish routines as best possible and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits.
  • For those working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establishing a dedicated work space.
  • Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing.

Seek support

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or stressed by the news of the Coronavirus outbreak. We encourage people who have experienced mental health issues in the past to:

  • activate your support network
  • acknowledge feelings of distress
  • seek professional support early if you’re having difficulties.

For those already managing mental health issues, continue with your treatment plan and monitor for any new symptoms. Acknowledge feelings of distress and seek further professional support if required.

The Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 1300 22 4636.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Coronavirus Jobs Hub

For those who have found themselves unexpectedly unemployeed due to the Coronavirus impact. 
There are some areas of the economy which have an increased demand for workers during this COVID-19 crisis, including health and care sectors, transport and logistics, some areas of retail, mining and mining services, manufacturing, agriculture and government sectors. 

The Jobs Hub is a Government website to help people find advertised vacancies.

Click here to find out more. 

Australia’s Vaccine Rollout

National Coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline

If you need information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or help with the COVIDSafe app, you can call the national helpline on: 1800 020 080.

Full details are on the Department of Health website.



We’ll bring you more details as soon as they become available. We recommend subscribing to our mailing list to stay in the loop.

You can also contact us at admin@aintreegroup.com.au. We encourage you to get in touch if you are concerned about the impact of Coronavirus on your business or personal affairs.

Click here to find out how we’re handling Coronavirus at Aintree Group.

Click here to see our specialist Coronavirus Consultation options.

Stay safe and well!