Chief Executive Update 3 July
For some, this meant not being able to welcome back 50 patrons to their venues on 22 June as planned; for others who live in what have been deemed ‘hotspot’ areas, they have had to rewind the clock and are back to where it all started, reliving stage three restrictions with businesses again forced to shut their doors; and for all Victorians, we are limited again by the amount of people we can engage with and must continue working from home where possible.
We know this isn’t ideal and certainly not a place we wanted to find ourselves in – but given the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus, we always knew there would be more outbreaks, and unfortunately in this case, Victoria is the first to bear the brunt.
This signals that now, more than ever, we must work together to contain the spread of the virus so we can reopen local economies and get businesses and communities in the affected postcodes and beyond, back on track.
While it is frustrating, we believe the reintroduction of lockdowns can be justified if it means the recent spike in infections can be brought under control and businesses can reopen quickly in unaffected areas.
Our hope is that with localised lockdowns we have a chance of avoiding an entire statewide lockdown and the door will be left open for restrictions in regional areas to be eased further to keep our economy flowing.
We are also calling on the State Government to do the right thing by those who have done the right thing. This means letting Victoria’s regions, where there is little or zero infection, reopen and get back to work and some sense of normality.
It’s a simple principle - if we’re going to lockdown the places that aren’t doing well, then we’ve got to reward the places that are!
To those living and working within the 10 affected postcodes, we are thinking of you and recognise the significant impact these reintroduced restrictions will have on you and your businesses.
While it cannot make up for lost revenue, the Victorian Chamber called for and was pleased to see additional assistance being made available by the State Government.
Businesses that are operating within a postcode affected by the return to Stage 3 restrictions may be eligible for a one-off, $5,000 grant to help them get through to the other side of the local lockdown. This program closes 31 July 2020. If you are affected, you can apply immediately through the Business Victoria site.
We also spoke to the Government about a form of compensation to regional Victorian accommodation providers who have been impacted by residents in lockdown suburbs cancelling their stays. Yesterday, we were thrilled to see our recommendation adopted via the State Government’s $5 million fund which ensures regional businesses, including motels, caravan parks and short-term rentals will be eligible for up to $225 per night for cancelled bookings, with no cancellation fees charged to residents forced to stay home.
Again, we acknowledge that this is a very challenging time and decisions have not been made lightly. Please know that everyone at the Victorian Chamber is ready to help any business affected by the shutdowns. Please contact us to access support.
I wish you all a good week ahead.
In case you missed it…
This week, the Victorian Chamber had the privilege of presenting a COVID-19 Business Webinar on Digital Engagement alongside guests Ben Hall (Managing Director, Frankly), Carmel O’Keeffe (General Manager Digital Life, Museums Victoria) and Caroline Ralphsmith (Executive General Manager Customer Engagement, Victoria Racing Club). We discussed practical steps towards building a strong digital strategy and presence and how some businesses have modified their business operations to capitalise on some of the disruptions as a result of coronavirus. You can watch the full replay here.
If your business isn’t ready to restart safely, please click here for a simple and free guide on everything needed to open safely.
And if you know of a business that is not already a member, please encourage them to take advantage of our 12-month membership waiver for any new entry level membership.
Enter your email below and receive our Chamber newsletter