COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information and Resources

**Last updated 26/5/2020**

Fast-tracking Step 2 of SA’s Roadmap for Recovery

Yesterday Premier Steven Marshall announced that pubs, gyms, cinemas, places of worship, beauty salons and other sites will now be permitted to have up to 80 people on their premises from June 1 as long as they comply with appropriate safeguards.  You can read the Premier’s announcement here.

For more details on Step 2, please visit the State’s COVID-19 website here.

 

SA Government’s Roadmap for Easing COVID-19 Restrictions

The South Australian government released a Roadmap for Easing COVID-19 Restrictions, starting Monday 11 May. Step 1 of the roadmap to recovery has been revised after consultation with health and industry experts, and from Friday 22 May any business which in their normal course of operations sell food and beverages can now open. Those businesses with a liquor licence are permitted to sell alcohol in conjunction with a meal. Patrons must be seated when being served the food and alcohol. These businesses can offer indoor and outdoor dining, with a maximum of 10 people in each area (20 total). More information on dining is available here.

While the Prime Minister and National Cabinet have released a national framework, state and territory governments have developed their own plans for moving towards a COVID safe society and economy. This roadmap is South Australia’s plan and you can read it in full here or view a summary here

Frequently asked questions about step one of the SA Roadmap are available here.

 

3-Step Framework for a COVIDSafe Australia

The Prime Minister has announced the 3-step framework to create a COVIDSafe society with new ways of living and working. You can view the infographic here.

 

australia.gov.au

The Government have launched a website that will link you to all the latest COVID-19 news, updates and advice from Australian Government agencies.

 

business.gov.au

The Federal Government’s website business.gov.au is a key source of information on the financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the COVID-19 related financial support available for Australian businesses. The website will be updated as further information becomes available. business.gov.au also includes a range of tools, guides and information on matters like business planning, links to ATO and other useful resources for your business.

JobKeeper Payments – Enrolment Open until 31 May 2020

Enrolment is now open for the government’s $130 billion JobKeeper Payment scheme. The scheme supports businesses significantly affected by the coronavirus to help keep more Australians in jobs.

The Jobkeeper subsidy with be worth $1,500 a fortnight. The aim of the package is to enable businesses to keep workers on their payrolls throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and is applicable to full and part time workers and casuals who have been with their employers for 12 months or more.  Businesses and not-for-profits will be eligible if they experience a downturn in revenue of 30 per cent or more. You can find out more information on the ATO website.

UPDATE** JobKeeper Payment – new eligibility requirements for employees that are 16 and 17 years old  

Employees that are 16 and 17 years old who identified as eligible under the original eligibility criteria for the first three JobKeeper fortnights (from 30 March until 10 May 2020), may no longer be eligible employees under the JobKeeper wages subsidy scheme from the JobKeeper fortnight 4 commencing 11 May.

For 16 and 17 year olds to remain eligible employees, they need to meet the following additional criteria. From 1 March 2020, the employee aged 16 or 17 was either:

  • independent, or
  • not in full time study

These terms are defined in the Social Security Act 1991 and further guidance can be found on the Services Australia website.  This means that full time students are no longer eligible employees unless they are also independent from JobKeeper fortnight 4. However, employers can still claim for those 16 and 17 year olds who had already identified as eligible employees for JobKeeper fortnights 1 to 3 from 30 March up until 10 May 2020.

For more information:

Extension of time to enrol for the JobKeeper scheme

The Australian Commissioner of Taxation has extended the time to enrol for the initial JobKeeper periods, from 30 April 2020 until 31 May 2020. Enrolments are open through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) online services, the ATO’s Business Portal using myGov ID or through your registered tax professional. You can enrol once you have confirmed you and your employees meet the eligibility criteria. Learn more about how the JobKeeper Payment can help employers, employees and sole traders.

JobKeeper Payments – Factsheets – The Government have released a series of factsheets for both employers and employees to help explain the new payments. You will find further information here.

JobKeeper FAQs – The Government have released a helpful list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to assist you further understand the JobKeeper payments, including determining your eligibility.  You can access the list here.

South Australian COVID-Clean Toolkit Training Program

The Government of South Australia is working with industry associations to finalise a training program that will help businesses adopt healthy hygiene practices as COVID-19 restrictions ease. Up to 5,500 members of the retail, hospitality, tourism, cleaning, security, transport and logistics industries will receive this accredited training—dubbed the COVID-Clean Toolkit.

To be delivered by local registered training providers, participants will learn a range of skills, including hand hygiene practices, effective surface cleaning, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and disposal of contaminated waste.

The aim of this COVID-Clean Toolkit is to ensure South Australians can confidently return to supporting our local shops and eateries when health advice permits.

Training is expected to commence from June 30 and you can register your interest now at this link.

 

Information on Commercial Leasing

New legislation and regulations were brought into effect on 15 May concerning commercial leases in the Covid-19 pandemic environment.

A copy of the amended COVID-19 Emergency Response Act 2020 can be found here.

The Act and Regulations make various temporary modifications in relation to commercial leases in response to the COVID-19 pandemic including stopping evictions. The Regulations impose an obligation on parties to commercial leases to negotiate in good faith.  The path forward to resolving disputes is clear in terms of negotiation, mediation and ultimately Magistrates Court determination, if necessary.

Furter information can be found here. A video from the Small Business Commissioner outlining the new changes can be viewed here.

 

Restrictions and Responsibilities – Frequently Asked Questions

Each State in Australia currently has different rules regarding non-essential businesses and other activities which can make it confusing to know what we are allowed to do.  The SA Government have put together a useful set of questions and answers that you can access here.

 

UPDATE – New Border Direction SA/VIC State Border

The Emergency Management (Cross Border Travel No 4) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 came into effect on Monday 11 May 2020 at 12:00 am. Cross-border travel direction number 3 has been revoked.

The changes include:

  • some essential travellers must now keep records of close contact for a 14 day period commencing on the date of arrival in South Australia
  • who qualifies as an essential traveller
  • anyone entering remote communities is now subject to ‘The Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency)(Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential)(Emergency Requirements for Remote Communities) Determination 2020’.

Anyone who claims to be an essential traveller will be required to provide evidence that they fall within the defined categories listed within Schedule 1 of the Direction.

You can read the new direction here.

More information to help you determine if you are an ‘essential traveller’ can be viewed here.

A template is available at this link for your Close Contact Record.

This Direction came into effect on Monday 11 May 2020 at 12:00 am.

 

Mental Health Support

The Australian Government’s ‘Head to Health’ website is committed to providing Australians with trusted information and digital supports to help support everyone’s mental health and wellbeing during this pandemic. For information, resources and links to support services please visit this link.

 

South Australian $10,000 Emergency Cash Grants for Small Businesses – Applications Now Open

Small businesses and not-for-profit entities that employ South Australians who have been highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to receive a $10,000 grant to support the operation of their business. The grant is being funded from the State Government’s $650 million Jobs Rescue Package.

To be eligible, businesses and not-for-profits including eligible sporting and community organisations will need to:

  • Employ people in South Australia.
  • Have annual turnover of more than $75,000 (GST exclusive).
  • Have an annual payroll of less than $1.5 million, and not be entitled to a payroll tax waiver  under COVID-19 support measures introduced by the South Australian Government.
  • Have an ABN and were carrying on the operation of the business in South Australia on 1 March 2020.
  • Have been subject to closure or highly impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions.
  • Apply by 1 June 2020.
  • Use the funds to support activities related to the operation of the business.

Applications are now open. Before you start your application, please read the following important information:

To complete the application you will need:
  • Recent Business Activity Statement
  • Bank account details
  • Evidence of eligibility for JobKeeper (where applicable), such as a screen shot of your eligibility confirmation from the ATO or a bank statement demonstrating receipt of JobKeeper payments.
  • Where the entity was operating in 2018-19, evidence of 2018-19 turnover (for example a 2018-19 income statement)
  • Not-for-profits not registered for GST are required to attach evidence that turnover in 2018-19 or 2019-20 is above $75,000.
  • A valid email address.

The application must be completed by:

  • In the case of a business that is a sole trader that employs, the sole trader.
  • In the case of a business that is a partnership that employs, a partner.
  • In the case of a business that is a body corporate that employs, a director, secretary, public officer or equivalent.

For further information and to apply for the grant, please click here.

The Department of Treasury and Finance have also put together a useful list of frequently asked questions, available here.

The Government has also recently announced increased funding for the Economic and Business Growth Fund.  Further information on the Economic and Business Growth Fund is available here.

 

South Australian Jobs Rescue Package – ‘Business and Jobs Support Fund’

The South Australian Government has announced details of its second economic stimulus package – the Jobs Rescue Package. Within the Jobs Rescue Package, there are a range of measures that will provide support for workers, individual businesses and industry sectors, community organisations, sporting clubs, arts, cultural, community and recreational bodies as well as non-government organisations experiencing financial hardship and other impacts caused by restrictions enforced to limit the spread of the disease. A part of this package is the $300 million ‘Business and Jobs Support Fund’.

RDALC are still waiting for the Government to provide details on the eligibility criteria for applications for the Business and Jobs Support Fund however applications are now open. Please click here for further information on what you could consider including in your submission for access to this fund, or contact rachael@rdalc.org.au.

 

Launch of National Jobs Hub

The Australian Government has launched a new Jobs Hub, supporting businesses and those Australians looking for work. The Jobs Hub helps Australians looking for work find advertised vacancies.

An up-to-date list of a selection of businesses and organisations that are currently hiring, and how to contact them, can be found here.

While many businesses have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and are reducing their workforces, there are some areas of the economy which have an increased demand for workers.

Employers who are hiring and want support to connect with potential candidates can also contact the Department of Education, Skills and Employment at workforce@dese.gov.au to be connected directly with businesses reducing their workforces; and the employment services network to source suitable candidates.

 

COVIDSafe App

The Australian Government has released a new app, COVIDSafe, designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus by speeding up the process of identifying people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus, quickly stopping further spread of the virus in the community.

The new COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary. The more Australians who connect to the COVIDSafe app, the quicker health authorities can find the virus.

Download the app:

Apple app store for iPhones

Google play for Android phones

For more information including frequently asked questions, click here.

 

Government Releases Coronavirus App and WhatsApp Group

Stay informed with the latest advice and information by downloading the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Australia app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, or join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.

WhatsApp users – You need to connect online, not via your app – search aus.gov.au/whatsapp on your phone browser and follow the prompts to choose the information you want to receive.

Don’t have WhatsApp? Search aus.gov.au/whatsapp on your smart phone, tablet or computer and follow the prompts.

 

Rent Relief for Commercial Tenants

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced new rental waivers and deferrals for commercial tenants hit by the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Under the scheme, landlords will have to reduce leases in proportion to the reduction in the tenant’s business.

Deferrals — rental payments that will need to be made, but can be put off — must be spread over the remaining time on a lease and for no less than 24 months. The code will apply to any tenancies where the landlord or tenant applies for JobKeeper and where they have a turnover of $50 million or less.

Further information on the COVID-19 mandatory commercial tenancy code can be found here.

For essential information for South Australian Lessees and Lessors dealing with COVID-19, please visit the Small Business Commissioner at this link.

Measures to Help Renters

The Prime Minister has announced new measures to help renters. Under these measures, evictions will be put on hold over the next 6 months for commercial and residential tenants in financial distress, who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of the coronavirus. You can find out more here.

 

South Australian Support for Tourism Operators

The State Government has announced a $5.7 million financial support package to help local tourism operators get through – and continue well past – the current COVID-19 crisis.

The two major funding packages are the Small Tourism Business Grant Fund and the Regional Events Grant Fund.

In addition, the SA Tourism Commission (SATC) has developed other programs which will assist the industry more widely including the Digital Training Program, Regional Funding Support Program and the Resilience and Rebound Project.

For more details, eligibility, dates, terms and conditions, and to apply, visit the SATC Tourism Response Portal.

Fee and rent relief for nature-based tourism businesses including fishing – The South Australian Government will provide fee and rent relief for nature-based tourism businesses (including boating experiences and fishing) who have been significantly impacted in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. View media release here.

 

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package

The Prime Minister announced that around 1 million families are set to receive free child care during the coronavirus pandemic. You can read the Prime Minister’s statement here.

From Monday 6 April 2020 weekly payments will be made directly to early childhood education and care services in lieu of the Child Care Subsidy and the Additional Child Care Subsidy, to help them keep their doors open and employees in their jobs. Payments will be made until the end of the 2019-20 financial year and families will not be charged fees during this time.

For further information, click here.

 

Freight Access

The Australian Government has announced a $110 million initiative securing freight access for Australia agricultural and fisheries exporters. For more details, please refer to the following joint media release here.

Further details are available on Austrade’s International Freight Assistance Mechanism webpage.

 

COVID-19 and Australian Workplace Laws

The Fair Work Australia website contains information and links to relevant Government sites, on the topic of employer obligations during COVID-19. It addresses many questions employers may be asking, including pay and leave during the coronavirus, health and safety and ending employment.

Restrictions on Non-essential Services and Social Gatherings

On 29 March 2020 the Prime Minister announced further closures of non-essential businesses and restrictions on social gatherings. Pubs, licensed clubs and hotels (excluding accommodation), gyms, skateparks, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, beauty salons, play centres and outside playgrounds, places of worship and other public places must be closed.  There are restrictions on attendance at weddings, funerals and outdoor fitness classes (2 people only).  Supermarkets and pharmacies and other retail stores remain open.

The Government have advised that everyone should stay home unless you are: shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising or travelling to work or education. Check State and Territory websites for further enforcement information.

You can read the Prime Minister’s statement here

 

Income Support for Individuals

The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians to support them through the Coronavirus. This assistance includes income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation. Further information is available here.

Support Available for Employers

The Australian Government has announced measures to support businesses impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re an employer, refer to this website to learn what your business can get, where to go for help and what your obligations are. The website also provides useful links to the Department of Health and the Fair Work Ombudsman.

 

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers Payments

Small and medium businesses with an aggregated annual turnover under $50 million that employ workers will be eligible for payments. Eligibility will generally be based on prior year turnover.  The information here includes useful examples and scenarios to help explain these payments.

 

Support Available for Sole Traders

The Australian Government has announced a number of measures to support sole traders impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). If you’re a sole trader, learn what your business can get and where to go for help here.

 

Supporting Trainees and Apprentices

If you employ an apprentice or trainee you may be eligible for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of their wage paid from January 2020 to September 2020.  For more information, refer to the business.gov.au website.

 

Small Business Loan Repayments Deferred

The Australian Banking Association has announced that Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for 6 months.

Find more information on the Australian Banking Association website.

 

Support Available from ATO

Support is available on the ATO website for anyone experiencing difficulties with tax obligations due to COVID-19. For help tailored to your circumstances call the Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 or email COVID-19Taxissues@ato.gov.au.

If you prefer to use a language other than English, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50 for help with your call. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can phone the Indigenous Helpline on 13 10 30.

The ATO has also released some common tax questions about COVID-19 regarding individuals, businesses, cancelled supplies and events as well as international business issues. These can be viewed on the website.

 

COVID-19 Health Information Line

If you require information whether you, your family or your employees could be affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) please call the Corona Virus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.  The information line is available Monday to Friday 8.00AM to 8.00PM, Saturdays from 8.00AM to 5.00PM and Sundays from 9.00AM until 5.00PM.

 

Telstra and Optus Support During COVID-19

Telstra is currently offering consumer and small business customers additional data as well as offering unlimited home phone calls to pensioners. Further information on how to take up this offer is available on the Telstra website.

Optus is supporting customers with additional data as businesses and schools across the country transition to working remotely. Information on how to access extra data is available on the Optus website.

School Information and Advice

Information and frequently asked questions for all South Australian Schools can be found at the following website. Schools and preschools in South Australia will stay open, including out of schools hours care (OSHC). The Department for Education is following the Australian Government’s advice and we will update this advice if it changes.  Individual schools will only be temporarily closed if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19.