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Business support during COVID-19

People sitting at desks in a workshop.

This page provides information on business support initiatives during COVID-19 and what Council is doing to support local businesses and creatives.

We're here to help

We know many businesses are doing it tough and are responding to rapidly changing restrictions in these unprecedented times.

We’re here to help support local business, tourism and creatives affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) and point you in the right direction to information and support packages.

To view the latest restrictions for how we live and work in Victoria the COVIDSafe settings page at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

Visit Council's Connect Mount Alexander website for more information on frequently asked questions about the current restrictions, grants and other business support initiatives.

Outdoor dining
To open up additional outdoor dining spaces, our free variation to outdoor dining permits allow hospitality businesses the opportunity to extend their existing footpath trading.

For local information and support call our COVID-19 support service on 1800 512 446 between 8.30am and 5.00pm (Monday to Friday) or send an email to covid19@mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

Our Environmental Health Officers are also available to answer any queries. They are still visiting premises and undertaking wastewater inspections. Contact them by phone or email environmentalhealth@mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

Current restrictions

From 11.59pm, Friday 26 February 2021, face masks will be only be required in the following locations:

  • on public transport
  • when riding in a ride share or taxi
  • in sensitive settings such as aged care facilities
  • in some larger retail settings including indoor shopping centres, supermarkets, department stores, indoor markets.

From 11.59pm, Friday February 26 2021, the following restrictions will also be eased:

  • Victorians will be able to host up to 30 people in their home per day. Outdoor gatherings in public places – the beach, the park – can increase to 100 people.
  • The planned increase for office workers to return to work can go ahead at 75 per cent across both public and private sectors from 11.59pm on February 26. For most workers, this will mean returning to the office from Monday 1 March.
  • Density limits in pubs, restaurants and cafes will remain at 1 person per 2sq metres for both indoors and outdoors with no other cap, so long as electronic record keeping – a QR code – is used. For small operations, there'll be no density limits if the patron number is under 25 and they will still be required to keep records.
  • For beauty services, businesses remain at 1 person per 2sq metres – if they also introduce electronic record keeping. For businesses where that's not possible, density limits of 1 person per 4 sq metres will apply.
  • Retail businesses also remain at 1 person per 2sq metres and electronic record-keeping is recommended where practical.
  • Funerals and weddings are subject to a density limit of 1 person per 2sq metres. The same rules will apply to nightclubs and our community facilities, like our libraries, RSLs, and community halls.
  • In gyms, the density limit remains 1 per 4sq metres – with exercise classes limited to 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.
  • The State of Emergency – which needs to be declared so the Chief Health Officer can issue directions to respond to the pandemic and keep Victorians safe – will be extended to 11:59pm, 15 March 2021.

How Council is supporting local business

COVID-19 has changed the way we work and play. We have been working with businesses, community groups and food markets to meet new public health standards, and keep our local food supply and economy going.

As part of our response to coronavirus, we introduced some initial support measures to help reduce financial pressures on local business, and created a dedicated COVID-19 support service. We’ve also adopted a COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy to guide financial relief for those who need it, and have allocated funding for relief measures in the 2020/2021 Budget which Council adopted as the Ordinary Meeting of Council on Tuesday 18 August 2020.

The $45.9 million budget outlines the resources necessary to maintain and improve infrastructure, and deliver projects and services which are valued by our community. This year we incorporated a range of products to specifically help respond to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

This includes additional investment in tourism marketing, mental health training, the waiver of registrations and permits for some businesses, and our online platform for the creative industries.

We’ve been checking in on businesses, event organisers and accommodation providers who have been hit hard, and are working in partnership with our creative workforce to develop and launch Get Lost - a collaborative, online platform to help keep us culturally connected and support e-commerce opportunities.

Sign up to our business and creative community newsletter to stay informed on the local industry response to the pandemic, and finance and support.

Free counselling is available to business

Council is encouraging local business owners who need some support right now, to access our free Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

The program is provided by Assure, and gives participants access to four confidential and free counselling sessions with an experienced psychologist.

It is designed to help participants resolve concerns arising at work or in their personal life, or even financial, legal and nutritional coaching.

Consultations are entirely confidential, and no information or names of participants are provided back to Council.
Call Assure on 1800 808 374 and let them know you’re a client of Mount Alexander Shire Council.

For more information on the service, or to make an appointment download the EAP brochure.

Keeping you and your staff safe

It is recommended that employers implement the following practices to help keep workers safe and limit the spread of COVID-19:

If you are struggling

If you or anyone you know needs help or mental health support visit our managing your health and wellbeing page for information on crisis and support services.

And do please reach out to the following services if you’re not feeling okay:

  • Allow staff to work from home where possible
  • Maintain physical distancing by keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres between people
  • Encourage all workers to frequently wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or by using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser and to practise good hygiene
  • Be aware of how to spot COVID-19 symptoms and make sure workers do not come to work if they are unwell
  • Make sure your workplace is regularly cleaned and disinfected
  • Have signs and posters around the workplace to remind workers and others of the risks of COVID-19 and the measures that are necessary to stop its spread
  • Use touchless transaction systems such as online ordering and EFTPOS
  • Minimise the duration of exposure by splitting shifts and limit time spent traveling together
  • Look at the risks in your business and put processes in place to limit them

Read the full range of posters and signage for business

Further resources

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