COVID-19: Impact, resources and support

Content Summary

The outbreak of COVID-19 continues to affect individuals, businesses and communities. We are closely monitoring the situation and following government advice so we can take the appropriate action to protect the wellbeing of our members and employees.

We understand the profession has an essential role during these times, as you support your clients, businesses and the community. Here you’ll find resources and information to support you.

COVID-19 restrictions in New South Wales

The NSW Government has announced a range of restrictions for Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour from 4pm on Wednesday 23 June 2021.

There are a range of restrictions, including:

  • masks will be compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces, and at organised outdoor events
  • the one person per four square metre rule will be re-introduced for all indoor and outdoor settings
  • if you live or work in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside, and Woollahra local government areas, you cannot travel outside metropolitan Sydney for non-essential travel.

It is important to note that businesses do not have to shut at this stage.

COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria

The Victorian Government has announced a further easing of COVID-19 restrictions from 11.59pm Thursday 24 June.

Throughout Victoria, offices can have 75 per cent staff present or up to 30 people if the total workplace is less than 40 staff.

Throughout Victoria:

  • masks must be carried at all times
  • masks must be worn when indoors except if at home, or if an exception applies. Masks must therefore be worn in the office
  • masks are only required to be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres of physical distancing isn’t possible.

For a detailed overview of the changes, see the updated Table of Restrictions.

Support for businesses affected by restrictions

The Victorian Government has announced it will provide grants to businesses in eligible sectors directly impacted by the restrictions announced on 27 May 2021. Eligible businesses with an annual payroll of up to $10 million located in metropolitan Melbourne can receive a payment of $5000, while eligible businesses in regional Victoria can receive $2500.

The Government has announced additional support for metropolitan Melbourne businesses that are required to remain closed beyond 10 June. Those businesses will receive a further $2000, taking the total amount available to such businesses of $7000.

Eligible tourism businesses - accommodation, attractions and tourism operators - will receive up to an additional $4500.This means that all tourism businesses, regardless of whether they are in regional Victoria or Melbourne will receive a total payment of $7000.

Applications close 24 June 2021.

The Victorian Government has also announced support payments for Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund and an Alpine Support Program.

Turnover requirements on the Business Cost Assistance Program

Under the eligibility requirements for the Victorian Government’s Business Cost Assistance Program it provides the following statement regarding turnover.

‘Businesses with annual 2019-2020 turnover of $75,000 or more that are not required by relevant taxation legislation to be registered for GST are eligible to apply, subject to provision of a statutory declaration from a registered tax agent.’

CPA Australia takes this to cover situations where a business’s turnover is $75,000 or more but the business is not registered for GST as their ‘GST turnover’ is under $75,000. This would be because certain supplies, such as dividends, interest or unit trust distributions are excluded from the calculation of their ‘GST turnover.’

If you are asked to sign a statutory declaration in this circumstance, you should calculate the business’s GST turnover for 2019-20 and add back any supplies excluded from that calculation. These include:

  • supplies that are input taxed
  • supplies that are for no consideration
  • supplies that are not made in the course of your enterprise, or
  • supplies that are not connected with Australia.

If you are satisfied that this calculation brings the client’s 2019-20 turnover to $75,000 or more, you can sign the statutory declaration. You should also see evidence of the excluded supplies.

For more information on the supplies excluded from ‘GST turnover’, see GST Ruling 2001/7, especially at paragraph 14, and ATO guidance on What is ‘GST Turnover’?

Victorian Government’s QR Code mandatory for all workplaces

The Victorian Government has announced that every Victorian workplace must use the Victorian Government QR Code Service to check-in their workers, customers and visitors. There are some limited exemptions such as for schools.

The check-in requirement started on 11 June but the Government announced an enforcement amnesty until 1 July 2021, with the exception of retail. The amnesty only applies to workplaces such as offices that have not previously been mandated to use the Victorian Government QR Code Service. Businesses should proactively encourage customers to check-in.

To find out how to register your workplace for a QR Code and get further information or advice, visit the Victorian Government’s website.

Support for tenants and landlords in reaching rent relief agreements

The Victorian Small Business Commission (VSBC) is providing support to commercial tenants and landlords who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Since the Victorian Government's Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme ended, commercial tenants are no longer legally entitled to rent relief. Help reaching rent relief agreements can be accessed via VSBC.

The VSBC are providing free and impartial mediation to help resolve commercial rent relief disputes in response to the pandemic.

Banks to provide support for their Victorian customers

Victorian customers impacted by the extended lockdown in Victoria are encouraged to contact their bank to see what support may be available to them. 

The type of assistance offered will depend on individual circumstances, but can include:

  • adjustments to loan repayments
  • waiving fees and charges
  • interest free periods or no interest rate increases
  • debt consolidation to help make repayments more manageable.

Customers who are worried about their finances can access the Financial Assistance Hub to understand the options that may be available to them.