- Corporate News
COVID-19 CEO Update - 31 March
As a state, we continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of coronavirus.
As we do, we acknowledge it is a difficult time for many sectors, including the tourism industry, with Victoria moving into Stage 3 restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Under the Stage 3 restrictions, what was previously advice about staying home has become enforceable. The message is clear: stay home.
As we deal with this health crisis, we know for many of you this is an economic crisis as well. Visit Victoria is continuing to work closely with Government to help support those who need it. We have also updated our website with key information for industry on coronavirus (COVID-19).
Today, one of the key programs in the Victorian Government’s $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package, the $500 million Business Support Fund, is officially open. The Business Support Fund will help small businesses hardest hit by the pandemic, including tourism. Those businesses can apply for a $10,000 grant towards operational costs and to help keep people in work. To be eligible, businesses must already employ staff, have payroll of less than $650,000 and a turnover of more than $75,000. Full details on eligibility and how to apply are set out on the Business Support Fund webpage.
In addition, the Victorian Government announced payroll tax refunds for thousands of small and medium businesses to support them and protect local jobs. More than 21,000 small businesses have been contacted about their refund, with all eligible businesses who have provided their bank details to get their money from the Victorian Government by the end of next week.
It has also been announced that a moratorium on evictions will be introduced for the next six months for residential and commercial tenants who are experiencing financial distress due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). This will apply across all states and territories.
Hotel and accommodation update
On 27 March 2020 the National Cabinet took another important step to combat coronavirus (COVID-19) with enforced quarantine for 14 days for returned overseas travellers. This will see returned travellers housed in hotels, motels, caravan parks, and student accommodation for their 14-day self-isolation period from 11.59pm on Saturday 28 March.
The costs of accommodation, public health and security will be covered by the relevant state or territory government, and there will be reciprocal arrangements in place to house the residents of other states and territories.
Key industry associations and hotel providers, including the Australian Hotels Association, have been working together with the government on this new measure.
- Victorians are being told to stay at home. This includes non-essential travel. There are only four reasons to be out:
- Shopping for what you need - food and essential supplies
- Medical, care or compassionate needs
- Exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements
- Work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.
- For the latest health information, please visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au
- If accommodation providers are concerned that one of their guests has contracted the virus whilst in isolation, they can encourage the guest to contact the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398. For languages other than English call 131 450.
- Accommodation providers seeking specific advice around cancellations and their entitlements can contact Consumer Affairs or visit their online factsheet.
- The Australian Government Department of Health provides specific advice for hotels that remain open for essential accommodation.
- As directed by the Chief Health Officer, all campsites, camping grounds and caravan parks are closed.
- People can only continue to live in a closed caravan park or camping ground if it is registered as their primary place of residence, or if they are staying in caravan parks as interim accommodation where their primary residence is not available.
- For more information, visit our frequently asked questions.
The Victorian Government is providing support to help tourism businesses manage risks and uncertainty about coronavirus (COVID-19). The Victorian Government announced a $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package to help Victorian businesses and workers. Businesses seeking advice and more information are encouraged to visit the Business Victoria website or call Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15.
The Commonwealth Government has also announced a range of support measures. Business Victoria can also provide advice.
We understand this is a very difficult time for those who have lost their jobs as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Victorian Government is encouraging these people to register interest in the Working for Victoria Fund to help them find new job opportunities.
Visit Victoria's response
Visit Victoria is now working remotely and we are in the early stages of the response phase. We are in daily contact with the industry, health authorities and government bodies to ensure the industry is supported through this time.
I’d also like to acknowledge the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) who have been supporting industry and managing high volumes of concerns and questions throughout this time. The VTIC website has been updated to be a key resource with information for tourism businesses.
Our marketing and event teams are currently planning recovery efforts for when it’s appropriate to reactivate activity, and we have some teams who are at the forefront daily supporting our partners and industry.
This is a difficult time for many businesses, families, and communities. Please take care of yourselves and look after each other during this challenging time – we’re in this together.
CEO, Visit Victoria