Support for businesses impacted by COVID-19
The Australian and NSW Governments have announced a number of stimulus packages, initiatives, programs and resources to support businesses through the impacts of COVID-19. Information regarding COVID-19 is constantly evolving, and Council will make every effort to keep this information updated. To ensure that you are receiving the most updated information, we recommend that you go straight to the sources provided.
For general assistance regarding support for businesses impacted by COVID-19, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 4654 7614
Restrictions on non-essential activities and businesses are constantly evolving. To get up-to-date information regarding this matter, visit the NSW Government Public Health Orders page.
As of 31 March, these are the businesses that must close, can remain open, or are restricted:
Businesses and places that must close
Community facilities and cultural buildings
- Community halls
- Galleries, museums and libraries
- Historic Houses Trust of NSW
- National Trust properties
Entertainment and events
- Betting agencies and gaming lounges
- Cinemas, theatres
- Concert halls, music halls, dance halls
- Amusement centres (for billiards, pool, pinball machines or video games)
- Massage parlours
- Nail, beauty, waxing and tanning salons
- Spas (including where they are part of a hotel)
- Tattoo parlours
- Strip clubs and sex services premises
Real estate and auction houses
- Auction houses
Sport and recreation
- Indoor sporting events
- Local sporting competitions
- Public swimming pools
- Indoor recreation facilities (squash courts, indoor swimming pools, gyms, table tennis centres, health studios, bowling alleys and ice rinks)
- Outside gym equipment in public places
- Outdoor playgrounds
- Skate parks
Businesses and places that may remain open
- Crisis and temporary accommodation
- Disability or aged care facilities
- Hotels, motels or other accommodation
- Youth hostels
Education and childcare
- Childcare facilities are not required to close, so if your centre is open you can still take your children.
- Schools remain open, however parents are encouraged to keep their children home where possible. No child will be turned away from a school in NSW.
- TAFE and educational colleges
Food and beverages
- Bottle shops
- Doctors and medical centres
- Shopping centres
- Supermarkets and convenience stores
- Foodbanks and homeless shelters have not been closed under the Orders.
- Construction sites
- Office buildings
Businesses and places that are restricted
- Caravan parks and camping grounds: closed to the public, except for people who are permanent residents or those who have no other permanent residence. If you were staying at a caravan park or camping ground before 26 March 2020 under a booking you can continue to stay until the end of that booking. Bookings cannot be extended.
- Casinos: open for accommodation only. Food and beverages can only be served to guests in their rooms.
Pubs and registered clubs
- Open for accommodation only. Food and beverages can only be served to guests in their rooms.
Food and beverages: takeaway food must be consumed off the premises.
- Cafes and restaurants
- Food courts within shopping centres
- Pubs and registered clubs
- Micro-breweries, small distilleries, cellar door premises
- Dentists: the Australian Dental Association has provided advice to members on restrictions.
- Caring for others: It is reasonable to leave your home or visit a home to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, following the social distancing and personal hygiene advice from NSW Health.
- Dinner parties and house parties: It is not a reasonable excuse for leaving your home or having visitors to your home.
Legal and justice
- Court or tribunals: proceedings will be conducted without the need for attending where possible.
- Prisons, correctional facilitties, youth justice centres or other places of custody: all social visits in NSW prisons have been temporarily suspended.
- Community corrections: arrangements are in place for people reporting to Community Corrections offices.
Lifts / elevators
- Stay 1.5 metres away from others and wait for the next lift when you need to avoid overcrowding
- Outdoor thoroughfares: social distancing applies
- Hairdressers and barbers: the 4 square metre rule applies within the premises and personal contact with the customer should be minimised. Either go to the hairdresser or barber alone or with one other person.
Places of public worship
- Weddings: maximum of 5 people: the couple, celebrant and 2 witnesses
- Funderals: maximum of 10 people unless the Minister grants an exemption
Real estate and auction houses
- Open house inspections: private viewings by appointment only
- Markets: food markets are open
- Retail stores: 4 square metre rule applies in the store and you must comply with the gatherings rule and only travel to and enter the store with one other person or with members of your household
Sport and recreation
- Exercising outdoors: you may only exercise with one other person however all members of the same household may exercise together, even when more than two people. Follow the social distancing and personal hygiene advice from NSW Health.
Travel and transport
- You should postpone or cancel any travel plans. See detailed transport and travel advice including regional, interstate and international travel, and public transport.
For places and businesses that can remain open
In a place that may remain open to the public, occupiers and operators of the premises must not:
- allow persons to enter or stay on the premises (whether outdoor or indoor) if the size of the premises is insufficient to allow for 4 square metres of space for each person (the 4 square metre rule)
- allow 100 or more people to enter and stay on indoor premises at the same time (the 100 person rule), and
- allow 500 or more people to enter and stay on outdoor premises at the same time (the 500 person rule).
The 4 square metre rule and the 100 person and 500 person rules do not apply to an essential gathering.
Certain retail stores (including those in shopping centres) are required to follow the 4 square metre rule. Retail stores are not subject to the 100 person rule.
The Australian Government is providing cash flow support to businesses and temporary measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses. Visit this website to find out about:
- JobKeeper payment
- Boosting cash flow for employers
- Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
- Increasing the instant asset write-off
- Backing business investment
- Supporting apprentices and trainees
The Australian Government is supporting sole traders with instant asset write-offs, increased and accelerated income support, and more. If you are a sole trader and do not employ any staff, visit this website to find out about:
- JobKeeper Payment for sole traders
- Increased instant asset write-of
- Backing business investment
- Increased and accelerated income support
- Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries
- SME Guarantee Scheme
- Early access to superannuation
The Australian Government will guarantee loans to SMEs and cut red tape by providing a temporary exemption from responsible lending obligations for lenders. This will provide businesses with accelerated funding to meet cash flow needs. Visit this website to find out about:
- Government guarantee of loans
- Temporary exemptions from responsible lending obligations
Visit this website to find out how the ATO is supporting businesses. Information includes:
- Assistance measures available
- We will work with you
- Temporary shopfronts
- Frequently asked questions for employers, payments and reporting, interest and penalties, cancelled supplies and events
National Cabinet agreed to a moratorium on evictions over the next six months for commercial and residential tenancies in financial distress who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of coronavirus. Commercial tenants, landlords and financial institutions are encouraged to sit down together to find a way through to ensure that businesses can survive and be there on the other side. As part of this, National Cabinet agreed to a common set of principles, endorsed by Treasurers, to underpin and govern intervention to aid commercial tenancies as follows:
- a short term, temporary moratorium on eviction for non-payment of rent to be applied across commercial tenancies impacted by severe rental distress due to coronavirus;
- tenants and landlords are encouraged to agree on rent relief or temporary amendments to the lease;
- the reduction or waiver of rental payment for a defined period for impacted tenants;
- the ability for tenants to terminate leases and/or seek mediation or conciliation on the grounds of financial distress;
- commercial property owners should ensure that any benefits received in respect of their properties should also benefit their tenants in proportion to the economic impact caused by coronavirus;
- landlords and tenants not significantly affected by coronavirus are expected to honour their lease and rental agreements; and
- cost-sharing or deferral of losses between landlords and tenants, with Commonwealth, state and territory governments, local government and financial institutions to consider mechanisms to provide assistance.
On 17 March 2020, the NSW Government announced a package to support businesses by lowering costs through tax cuts and fee reductions. These include:
- Waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for the remainder of the 2019/20 financial year
- Bringing forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020/2121 financial year
- Waiving a range of fees and charges for small businesses, including bars, cafés restaurants and tradies
On 27 March 2020, the NSW Government announced further measures to support jobs and businesses in the fact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:
- The creation of a Working for NSW fund to sustain bsuiness, create new jobs and retrain employees
- Deferral of payroll tax for business with payrolls over $10 million for six months. Businesses with payrolls of $10 million or less receive a three-month waiver on payroll tax in the NSW Government's first package. These businesses will now get an additional three-month deferral as well. Check the website for the eligibility criteria
- Deferral of gaming machine tax for clubs, pubs and hotels for six months
- Deferral of duty on lotteries and keno for six months
- Deferral of the parking space levy for six months
- Deferral of rents for six months for commercial and not-for-profit tenants with less than 20 employees in all Government properties
On 25 March 2020, the NSW Parliament passed changes to long service leave, which will create greater flexibility for employers and employees to access leave during the COVID-19 crisis. The legislation will have effect for six months, with the possibility of an extension to one year. Key amendments are:
- waiving the one-month notice period for taking leave (by mutual agreement between employee and employer)
- greater flexibility for employees to take this leave in shorter blocks if they wish (rather than traditional monthly blocks)
The Black Summer Innovation Program is a fund designed to help small and medium business who have been affected by events of national natural catastrophe or global outbreaks in 2019 or 2020. Grants of up to $25,000 are available to Australian food and agribusinesses that are affected by drought, flood, fire, African Swine Flu and coronavirus epidemic. Funding is designed to support these businesses to innovate to create commercial products, processes or services.
The NSW Small Business Commissioner has provided tips and resources to help you manage your small business during the crisis and into the recovery phase. Visit this website if you have the following questions:
- My business is expecting lost trade and cashflow problems – can I get help with my bills?
- What financial support is available from the government?
- I’m struggling with my rent.
- I need business advice.
- I need advice on consumer rights (e.g. event cancellations, refunds, delayed orders)
- How can I prepare my business if I get sick?
- What are my employer obligations?
- I need advice on managing employee leave.
- How can I protect myself, my employees and my customers?
- I’m having a dispute.
- What businesses are restricted from trading?
- Who can I speak to about other issues such as red tape?
- I need mental health support.
Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell talks about some of the things small businesses can do now to help their business stay afloat during this difficult time.
My Business Health is an initiative of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman. It provides easy access to tools, templates and tips to manage stress and proactively engage with running your business.
Business Connect is a free service that will provide business advice and support on any matter. Advice is provided in six different languages, including English, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese.
Webinars & Workshops
The Western Sydney Business Centre has a range of low cost and free online workshops on fundamental topics for running a small business. There are also specific free seminars related to coping with the COVID-19 crisis. Visit the website for a full calendar of workshops and seminars.
Business Connect has a range of free webinars regarding general business operations, as well as a special series regarding the COVID-19 crisis. These webinar topics include:
- Café Survival
- Business Disruption
- COVID-19 Business Ready Master Planning
- COVID-19 Business Support
- COVID-19 Digital Marketing Strategies for Survival
- What's your COVID-19 business continency plan and recovery plan?
- COVID-19 Restaurant/Café Top Tips for Survival
Visit the website for full calendar of workshops and seminars.
This 30-minute online training module is for health care workers in all settings. It covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19.
This guide from the NSW Small Business Commissioner outlines a five-step plan to prepare your business for disasters.
This guide from the NSW Small Business Commissioner contains five phases of disaster recovery you would generally expect - from the moment the disaster has hit, to the actions you could take over the days, weeks and months ahead.
Brilliant Digital's Deb Croucher shares some digital marketing tips for SME's during this uncertain time.
Deloitte have pooled the insights of their leaders in affected areas around the world to provide practical insights for chief executives and their leadership teams in taking appropriate action.
As a business owner and employer, you have obligations to keep your place of business, employees and yourself safe during the COVID-19 crisis.
This website contains an information sheet which answers the following FAQs:
- Can staff go to work?
- What should I tell my staff?
- What precautions should I take when cleaning?
- Can food and water spread coronavirus?
- How can we help prevent the spread of coronavirus?
Fair Work Australia answers frequently asked questions about workplace obligations and entitlements for both employers and employees. It includes information about:
- Arranging flexible work hours
- Using paid leave
- Using unpaid leave
- Standing down employees
- Ending employment
- Business bankruptcy and insolvency
- Business closures during coronavirus
- Alternative work arrangements during coronavirus
- Ending employment during coronavirus
- Health and safety in the in the workplace during coronavirus
- Pay and leave during coronavirus
This page provides continually updated advice from the NSW Government for businesses and employees in managing the impact of COVID-19. Visit this website to find out about:
- Help for small businesses
- SafeWork NSW guidance for workplaces, which includes information regarding:
- Answers for common questions on managing COVID-19 at work
- Examples of how to manage COVID-19 at work
- Pandemic planning in your workplace
- Mental health at work during COVID-19
- Non-essential activities and businesses
- Organisations, workplaces and employers
- Health and community service providers
- Hotels and other accommodation facilities
Some consumer and business rights have changed under COVID-19. Visit this NSW Fair Trading website to find out about consumer and business rights relating to:
- Property: real estate auctions and open homes, renting, rental issues for overseas students, strata schemes, retirement villages, Residential Land Lease Communities
- Travel cancellations
- Event cancellations
- Subscription services (gyms and food delivery)
- Shopping: pricing increaes, stock availability, payment methods
- Business NSW has created a Business Conditions Survey to understand the impacts of COVID-19. The survey aims to provide an honest and comprehensive analysis of economic trends, opportunities and challenges for businesses in NSW. They are offering a prize draw of gift cards to encourage people to complete the survey.