The Victorian Government has stepped up to support its SMEs amid another gruelling lockdown. A $250.7 million Circuit Breaker Business Support Package has been announced to help up to 90,000 Victorian businesses that have been affected by the restrictions that will run until at least 11:59 pm on Thursday, 3 June.
The bailout includes $2,500 grants available for eligible small to medium-sized businesses and sole traders, including those in events and non-essential retailers. Hospitality venues with a liquor licence can apply for a $3,500 grant.
Minister for Employment and Small Businesses, Jaala Pulford stated the package also “includes targeted support for operators in the hospitality, retail, events, and creative industries.”
She said, “small businesses are crucial to our economy and beyond dollars and cents, important contributors to local communities – we’re proud to stand with them and their workers.”
Victoria endured one of the world’s strictest and longest lockdowns last year to suppress a second wave of COVID-19 that killed more than 800 people in the state, accounting for 90% of Australia’s total deaths since the pandemic began.
The latest lockdown sees a rise in cases of India’s more virulent strain. The swelling numbers have raised questions over whether the lockdown will be extended beyond the seven days announced initially.
“The challenge ahead of us is a very, very significant one,” Victorian acting Premier James Merlino stated. “We are seeing a small number of cases infecting a large number of contacts.”
Victorian Government’s Department of Treasury and Finance estimates that the economic impact of the fourth Victorian lockdown will be $750 million.
Acting Premier Merlino went on to say, “the circuit-breaker action will keep Victorians safe and protect businesses and jobs – but we know it’s not easy shutting your doors and putting your plans on hold. This support will help businesses pay the bills and maintain their workforce as best they can, as we work together to get through this challenge.”
Victorians and Victorian businesses are doing the hard thing, but the right thing – keeping their doors shut to keep all of us safe.