• Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC)
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Critical Information for Tourism Businesses

There are many resources available to you and your business to assist you in navigating through the current challenges in the wake of COVID-19, whilst ensuring the health and wellbeing of your staff and visitors.

What are we doing? 

Everyday we are fighting for the survival of our members and the industry. We are working hard to ensure your issues, your priorities and your crises are presented to government in the state and federal arenas. There is not a more critical time to be part of your industry association and know that VTIC is here to support you, to advocate for you and to present the single voice that’s needed to drive home our critical messages right now.

We are regularly updating our members with messages from our Chief Executive, Felicia Mariani. You can view past messages here.

You are now able to join VTIC as an In the Loop or Essentials member FREE until 31 December 2020. We are stronger together. Visit the VTIC website and click ‘JOIN NOW‘. Once you have completed your details a member of the team will be in touch to assist you with your FREE membership.

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUERIES ABOUT COVID-19?

Please let us know if you have any questions in relation to COVID-19 and how we can help your business recover from this crisis.

For information on the operation of your business, restrictions or access to assistance relating to COVID-19,  please contact the Business Victoria Coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15.

VTIC is working with the State Government to ensure clear information and guidelines are provided for the Victorian tourism industry, as restrictions ease. We also want to understand what support your business will need to recover from this crisis.

Please send us your questions, insights and ideas via our Enquiry Form.

For essential information about COVID-19, including symptoms, testing and physical distancing, visit Department of Health and Human Services or phone 1800 675 398.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency, so all actions in respect to COVID-19 should be founded on expert health advice and operate under the measures agreed and implemented by governments through the National Cabinet process.

RESTRICTIONS

The Victorian Government has announced the gradual easing of restrictions throughout the state from 11:59pm Sunday 31 May 2020.  This includes hospitality businesses, entertainment and culture, retail and travel within Victoria.

*Any easing of restrictions and restoring of economic and social activity is done in line with the advice of the Chief Health Officer. Before you re-open your business, please ensure you are familiar with the current restrictions in Victoria, and whether your business is eligible to resume operations.

For more information on the re-opening of industry sectors, contact DHHS on: COVIDdirections@dhhs.vic.gov.au. If you have any questions with regard to interpreting guidelines or to clarify your eligibility to open, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website or phone 1800 675 398.

The Business Victoria Coronavirus hotline 13 22 15, can also provide you with information on the operation of your business.

WINERIES, DISTILLERIES AND BREWERIES

For wineries, breweries or distilleries with a restaurant or café, they will be able to sell alcohol by the bottle and glass, or sell a tasting experience, if they are serving with a seated meal.

In addition, they can sell full bottles from their cellar doors for consumption away from the premise. As part of the sales process, where the liquor licence permits it, a cellar door may also choose to offer free samples of its produce to a seated customer to help the customer choose what to buy – but they will not be able to sell a tasting or wine by the glass, unless it is accompanied by a meal.

Please refer to the Hospitality Industry Guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19) for more information.

TOURS

Tourism tours are also allowed to restart as of 1st of June but should take no more than 20 people.

Operators are also required to support customers to take reasonable steps to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from all other persons. Operators should consider what will be an appropriately sized group for their tour vehicle to support safe physical distancing by tour participants from different households during the tour.

Winery tours should comply with requirements that apply to cellar doors at wineries.

Please refer to 3.4 Transport Services, on page 25 and 26 for more information.

> Reopening of tourism businesses FAQs

CORONAVIRUS APP

The Coronavirus Australia app allows you to stay up to date with official information and advice about the coronavirus situation. You can check your symptoms and get notified when urgent information and updates are published.

> Download Coronavirus Australia app

MENTAL HEALTH

Stress savvy in business and Heads Up for Small Business have advice and resources to help you look after your own mental health and manage mental health issues you may experience in the workplace.

Support is also available to you and your family from Lifeline (13 11 14) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636 or online chat).

GUIDING STEPS FOR RE-OPENING

To get tourism operators ready to open their doors, as restrictions ease, VTIC has developed some Guiding Steps for the Victorian Tourism Industry. These principles will assist you in developing your restart plan, keeping customers and staff safe.

This document also includes some useful resources to help you in the planning process.

> Guiding Steps for Re-Opening

GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES

Tourism Industry Guidelines for COVID-19

Hospitality Industry Guidelines for COVID-19

We will continue to update this section to include any other guidelines that get released by the Victorian Government.

HOSPITALITY TRAINING

The Victorian Government requires hospitality businesses, and any other businesses that offer food and drink facilities, to take the free online coronavirus (COVID-19) training. It is the Government’s expectation that:

a. at least one staff member at every venue will have completed the training;
b. all staff should make themselves familiar with Government’s guidelines; and
c. posters be displayed at the venue confirming that staff have reviewed the guidelines and completed the training as required.

> Register and Start your Training

COVID CLEAN ONLINE TRAINING

The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC), in partnership with VTIC, has developed a COVID-Clean online training module.  Available to tourism businesses through the national Quality Tourism Framework platform, COVID Clean will provide core base-practices that businesses can employ to prepare to open and operate safely within the current environment.

Businesses will receive tailored cleaning checklists, a risk register, and a logo to signify their commitment to these new procedures, giving greater customer confidence.

Please note: businesses who do not have an existing Quality Tourism Framework account will need to sign up and complete accreditation business standards to access the module.

> COVID Clean Online Training

COVID-19 BUSINESS RECOVERY MODULE

To assist with your recovery planning, ATIC has also developed a business recovery module that will cover key sections of your planning, including: an assessment of your current business situation, continuity actions, staff management, financial analysis, operational recovery and marketing and communications.

For more information > Business Recovery Module

SAFE WORK AUSTRALIA

Safe Work Australia has published the National COVID-19 safe work principles that have been agreed and implemented by the National Cabinet. The Safe Work Australia website includes industry-specific guidelines for businesses to ensure they’re COVID-safe.

The site also provides a range of resources for businesses to download and display in their workplaces- including checklists, infographics, fact sheets for industry, posters on handwashing and hygiene and managing physical distancing requirements. You’ll also find information relating to work health and safety (WHS) laws, workers’ rights, risk assessments and emergency plans in the event of an incident.

Safe Work Australia

WORKPLACE IMPACTS

We encourage employees and employers to work together to find appropriate solutions that suit the needs of individual workplaces and staff.

The Australian and Victorian Chambers have produced an Employer Guide for managing the workplace in the face of the outbreak which includes; understanding your risks, employer obligations, working from home, changing or scaling down operations and business shut down.

For information and assistance on any aspect of your employment obligations, the Victorian Chamber Workplace Relations Advice Line (03) 8662 5222 can help.

Safe Work Australia has information on work health and safety including a business resource kit and guides on preparing your workplace > click here.

The Department of Home Affairs has information for Visa holders on staying in Australia > click here.

Business Victoria has launched a tool to help you determine what support at a state and federal level you may be eligible for. The finder will ask you a series of questions to help find the assistance you may be eligible for based on your circumstances.

Launch finder

JOBKEEPER PAYMENT

Jobkeeper is a fortnightly payment made by the ATO of $1,500 per eligible employee, for a maximum period of 6 months. This is available to business that:

– Has an annual turnover of less than $1 billion and they estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 30 per cent or more, OR

– Has an annual turnover of $1 billion or more (or is part of a consolidated group for income tax purposes with turnover of $1 billion or more) and they estimate their turnover has fallen or will likely fall by 50 per cent or more.

Self-employed individuals will be eligible to receive the JobKeeper Payment where they meet the relevant turnover test outlined above.

For charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission (ACNC), they will be eligible for the subsidy if they estimate their turnover has or will likely fall by 15 per cent or more relative to a comparable period.

> View Government fact sheets

The Australian and Victorian Chambers of Commerce and Industry have also produced a > Jobkeeper Payment Employer Guide to assist you.

JOBSEEKER PAYMENT

The JobSeeker Payment if a financial help for those between 22 and Age Pension age and looking for work. It’s also for when you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time. You will need to meet some rules and the income test to be eligible to receive the JobSeeker Allowance payments. For those who don’t already deal with Services Australia, you will need to set up a myGov account.

> For more information on JobSeeker Payment.

ACCESS TO SUPERANNUATION

Access of up to $10,000 of superannuation in FY 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in FY 2020-21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect income support payments.

>  More information

ATO ASSISTANCE

For owners or directors of a business that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus, the ATO will assist their circumstances, including temporary reduction of payments or deferrals, or withholding enforcement actions.

Fact sheet 

COMMONWEALTH GUARANTEED UNSECURED LOANS

Commonwealth will guarantee unsecured loans of up to $250,000 for a term of three years with no repayments for the first 6 months.

Fact sheet

AUSTRALIAN BANK LOAN REPAYMENT DEFERRALS

Australian banks will defer loan repayments for small businesses affected by COVID-19 for six months.

Australian Banking Association 

ASSET WRITE-OFF

Increase in instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 for businesses with turnover of less than $500 million.  In addition, if purchasing new depreciable assets, there is access to time limited 15–month investment incentives to accelerate depreciation deductions.

More information 

CASH FLOW FOR EMPLOYERS

Cash payments of between $20,000 and $100,000 for Small-Medium Enterprise businesses with annual turnover of up to $50 million.  These payments will be delivered by the ATO upon lodgement of business activity statements (BAS).

Fact sheet 

ZOOS AND AQUARIUM FUNDING

This initiative provides vital funding to exhibiting zoos and aquariums whose tourism revenue stream has stopped as a result of the travel and social distancing restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Funding will assist these businesses with the fixed operational costs associated with caring for animals, and will help exhibiting zoos and aquariums to remain viable and ready to welcome tourists when restrictions are eased.

> More information

APPRENTICE AND TRAINEE WAGE SUBSIDIES

Apprentice and trainee wage subsidies are available for small businesses employing fewer than 20 full-time employees who retain an apprentice or trainee.  Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage paid during the nine months from 1 January – 30 September 2020.

More information

EXPORT MARKET DEVELOPMENT GRANT (EMDG) SCHEME

On 1 April 2020, the Federal Government announced an increase in funding for the Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme. Funding for the scheme will increase by $49.8 million in the 2019-20 financial year, allowing exporters and tourism businesses to get additional reimbursements for costs incurred in marketing their products and services around the world.

> More information is available here.

Business Victoria has launched a tool to help you determine what support at a state and federal level you may be eligible for. The finder will ask you a series of questions to help find the assistance you may be eligible for based on your circumstances.

Launch finder

BUSINESS SUPPORT FUND – Expiring on 1 June

The $500 million Business Support Fund will assist industries hardest hit by impacts of coronavirus, including tourism, hospitality, accommodation, events and the arts. Funding of $10,000 per business is now available for businesses with a turnover of more than $75,000 and a payroll of less than $650,000.

> More information

PAYROLL TAX RELIEF

Two relief measures have been announced by the Victorian Government:

– Payroll tax waived for eligible businesses: businesses with annual Victorian taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived.
– Additional payments under the JobKeeper program are now exempt from payroll tax

State Revenue Office 

LIQUOR LICENSE FEE RELIEF

Liquor licensing fees for 2020 will be waived for affected venues and small businesses.

Businesses that have paid for a renewable liquor licence for 2020 will be reimbursed their licence fee and those yet to pay will have the fee waived.

> State Revenue Office

LAND TAX RELIEF

Land owners due to pay 2020 land tax that own at least one non-residential property and have total taxable landholdings below $1 million are not required to pay their 2020 land tax assessment until 31 March 2021.

If you also want to apply for the 25% land tax reduction, check the eligibility criteria on the link below.

> More information

COMMERCIAL TENANCY RELIEF SCHEME

The Victorian Government has announced a commercial tenancy relief scheme to alleviate financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of COVID-19.

For commercial tenants and landlords, the scheme will provide the following support:

– A six-month moratorium on commercial tenancy evictions from 29 March 2020 for the non-payment of rent for small to medium enterprises with an annual turnover under $50 million that have experienced a minimum 30 per cent reduction in turnover due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

– A freeze on rent increases during the moratorium for commercial tenants.

– A rental payment waiver or deferral proportionate to commercial tenants’ income reduction due to coronavirus (COVID-19), to be negotiated between tenant and landlord.

– A mediation service for commercial tenants and landlords to support fair tenancy negotiations.

More information

CITY OF MELBOURNE

Release of 500 grants worth up to $4,000 for individual artists or small organisations. The grants are available to develop new work, or for digital presentation of artistic works and performances and to provide support during the time when restrictions are in place.

City of Melbourne grants portal

If your property is within the City of Melbourne, there is an opportunity to defer, reduce or waive rates and charges levied on a property depending on the severity of the financial impact.

For further information visit:> City of Melbourne

Grants are available to provide financial assistance so businesses can quickly adapt to offering products online, providing services virtually and offering take-away and delivery of goods. Grants include:

– Projects matched dollar-for-dollar for up to $10,000 to help businesses adapt to the changed conditions this could include investing in new equipment, upgrading shop fittings or investing in IT and vehicles

– Up to $5000 is available for 400 businesses investing in online and e-commerce activities such as purchasing hardware and software, developing website and e-commerce, creating online content, online and e-commerce training, and digital marketing

– Up to $2000 is available for training and professional development for 500 organisations to equip staff with new and enhanced skills to prepare for changing conditions or recovery, such as attending training courses, and undertaking online learning and webinars

For further information visit > City of Melbourne

TOURISM AUSTRALIA
For the latest updates from Tourism Australia visit their website.

VISIT VICTORIA
For the latest updates from Visit Victoria visit their website.

HOTELS & HOTEL STAFF
The Department of Health has information for hotels and hotel staff, as well as for hotel guests.

TOURISM GREATER GEELONG & THE BELLARINE
For businesses in the Greater Geelong and Bellarine regions, Tourism Greater Geelong and The Bellarine have a dedicated resource to assist you via their website.

DESTINATION GIPPSLAND
For businesses operating in the Gippsland region, information is available here.

GRAMPIANS TOURISM
For businesses operating in the Grampians region, Grampians Tourism has information available here.

PHILLIP ISLAND
For tourism businesses in Phillip Island, Destination Phillip Island has information and industry updates available on their website.

MURRAY
For tourism businesses in the Murray region, information and updates from Murray Region Tourism are available on their website.

GREAT OCEAN ROAD
For businesses operating on the Great Ocean Road, information is available from Great Ocean Road Tourism here.

VTIC WEBINARS

VTIC Insight Series

Given the current challenges the tourism, events and hospitality industry is facing in the wake of COVID-19, we have have launched the VTIC Insight Series.

To prepare for the future, the online Insight Sessions will help members get in front of the curve when the time comes to reconnect with consumers.

These online sessions occur fortnightly commencing from 21 April.  To view the upcoming sessions, click here.

EXTERNAL WEBINARS

Communicating Your COVIDsafe Recovery 
Bastion Reputation Management
4 June from 12pm – 1pm

Supporting business owners to cautiously and carefully navigate a new COVIDsafe world will be critical. This free webinar will provide you with practical guidance on how to communicate with staff, customers and other key stakeholders.
> Register now

Tourism Australia Coronavirus Webinar Series
Every Friday morning
> Register now

Industry Survive & Revive Sessions
The Travel Industry Hub
Ongoing
A series of webinars aimed at assisting both individuals and businesses during these troubled times.
> View webinars

Build Back Better Webinars & Road to Recovery Tourism Tutorials
Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC)
Ongoing
> View webinars

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