Weekly Digest – 24 March 2020

Resources to Help You During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Over the course of a few weeks nearly everyone’s business and life has been turned upside down. With that disruption in mind, here are a few updates and resources that may be helpful.

Second stimulus package announced

The Australian Government announced a second stimulus package as the economic effects of COVID-19 are now expected to be “deeper, wider and longer.” The $66 billion dollar coronavirus stimulus provides relief for small businesses, casuals and welfare recipients. There’s now temporary financial relief for financially distressed businesses and vital cash flow payments for some small-medium businesses and not-for-profits. They also announced a loan guarantee scheme so it’s easier to get finance as well as no repayments for 6 months. Most banks are also offering their own support. There’s also a Coronavirus supplement payment for job seekers, youth allowance and more welfare recipients. You may have heard the government has included the announced to access your super. We strongly suggest you get in touch with us first as this may not be the best decision for you.

Non-essential services closed

On Sunday 22nd March, the Prime Minister announced a crackdown on public venues. On Monday the following businesses closed: pubs, clubs, cinemas, casinos, nightclubs, indoor places of worship, gyms and indoor sporting venues.

The following businesses can stay open: supermarkets, banks, petrol stations, pharmacies, hotels in accommodation capacity, cafes and restaurants can do takeaway only, convenience stores, freight and logistics, bottle shops, hairdressers and beauticians.

Further restrictions and closures from midnight Wednesday

The Prime Minister announced further restrictions and closures that will be enforced from midnight Wednesday 25th March. These include:

  • Food courts to only serve via takeaway.
  • Auction houses, real estate auctions and open house inspections will no longer take place.
  • Outdoor and indoor markets (excluding food markets) – these can be addressed by state governments.
  • Beauty therapists and massage parlours will close.
  • Tanning, waxing and nail salons will close.
  • Tattoo parlours will close
  • Amusement parks and arcades will close.
  • Play centres will close.
  • Community and recreational centres, health clubs and fitness centres will close.
  • Yoga, barre and spin classes will close.
  • Saunas and wellness centres will close.
  • Boot camps and personal training will be limited to 10 people maximum.
  • Weddings will be limited to no more than five people (including celebrant and witnesses).
  • Funerals will be limited to no more than 10 people.
  • Family gatherings such as barbecues, birthdays and house parties will not be allowed.
  • Hairdressers/barbers will be allowed to remain open with four-square-metre distancing requirement and 30-minute appointments only.
  • Cinemas, nightclubs, casinos, gambling venues, adult entertainment venues, concert venues, stadiums all closed.
  • Galleries, museums, national institutions, historic sites, libraries, community centres all closed.
  • Non-essential facilities, community facilities such as halls, PCYCs and places of worship closed.

Schools closed in VIC and ACT

There’s been quite a bit of confusion as to whether schools are open or closed, and what the recommendation is even if they are open. Here’s the latest info as at March 24, 2020.
VIC – closed
The Victorian school term has finished early as schools closed on Tuesday March 24th.
ACT – closed
Schools are pupil free in ACT until school holidays start.
The NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, was very clear that “no child would be turned away” from a public school, allowing parents to continue working. However, the recommendation is, if possible, to keep children at home.
At this stage, schools in all other states remain open. This is subject to change at any time.
The Prime Minister has asked schools across the country to stay open for this reason: closing schools will force some parents, particularly health care workers, to take leave, putting extra strain on the system.

Useful resources if your kids are at home

This podcast interview with a 26-year veteran of home-schooling and working has great ideas and resources for making it all work. The most surprising insight is that kids may only need two or three hours to complete the academic tasks that keep them out of the house for seven or more hours when school is in session.

State borders shut

Tasmania was the first to announce their travel ban last week. WA, NT and SA have also now shut their borders for non-essential travel. QLD has followed suit, except for freight. Anyone entering is required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Text messages

The government has started sending text messages to keep people informed about the national response to COVID-19.

Centrelink JobSeeker Payment Claims

You’ve probably seen news of crowds outside Centrelink. The government wants to remind people that JobSeeker payment claims can be submitted online at any time.

Take care of yourself

It’s definitely a stressful and confusing time for all of us. We suggest you take some time out for yourself each day and limit your social media usage.

You can stay up to date with essential information on the Australian Government’s website.

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