Victoria unveils $250m support package for lockdown-hit businesses

Victoria unveils $250m support package for lockdown-hit businesses

As Victoria remains in lockdown affected businesses will receive some monetary assistance from the state government in the form of a $250 million support package to help up to 90,000 companies.

Announced over the weekend, the 'Circuit Breaker Support Package' features initiatives for small-to-medium-sized businesses and sole traders, as well as targeted support for the hospitality and events industries.

It comes as Victoria reports 11 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 today including six cases that came through after the midnight cutoff. 

These include cases relating to an emerging outbreak in the private residential aged care sector, with one of the new cases being the son of the intial infected person who worked at the Arcare facility in Maidstone.

In addition, one new case is a staff member at that facility who worked alongside the initial case but also worked at another centre - the Blue Cross ACG Sunshine facility - on 26, 27 and 28 May.

A third case linked to the Arcare outbreak is a resident of the Maidstone facility - a woman in her 90s who is asymptomatic but has now been transferred to a separate hospital. 

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 exposure sites in Victoria has balooned to more than 270 locations, and now includes Brighton Beach Hotel, several shops in DFO Uni Hill, retail and food outlets across Craigieburn, Epping, Cranbourne, Doreen, Footscray, Lalor, Chadstone, Mill Park, St Kilda, Point Cook, Port Melbourne, South Melbourne, Preston, Broadway Reservoir, Thomastown, Yarraville, South Yarra, a German Sheperd Dog Club in Keilor Downs, Metricon display homes in Kalkallo and Mickleham.

The full list of exposure sites can be found here.

As part of the support package, $190.01 million will form a second round of the Business Costs Assistance Program which will offer grants of $2,500 for eligible businesses directly affected by the circuit breaker restrictions, including restaurants and cafes, event suppliers, accommodation providers and non-essential retailers.

A $40.7 million new round of the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will provide businesses holding an eligible liquor licence and food certificate with a $3,500 grant per premises.

Finally, $20 million will be dedicated to supporting operators in the events industry who have incurred losses due to the circuit breaker restrictions. Details of this part of the package will be unveiled later this week.

"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," VIC Acting Premier James Merlino said.

"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."

Businesses can register their interest in the Business Costs Assistance Program at business.vic.gov.au, so they can be notified when applications open this week. Operators eligible for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund payment will be contacted directly by email in coming days.

Updated at 9.53am AEST on

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