COVID-19 Business Update – 2 December 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s updates and some ideas that will help us all overcome this crisis.

South Australia Now Open to Victoria

Since 12.01am on Tuesday, the border with Victoria has been reopened, allowing travel between the two states.

Victorians entering South Australia are still required to fill in an online permit form, to get pre-approval. Masks are also mandatory for people in allied health and residential care, and the state is rolling out its QR code mandatory check-in system for businesses and venues.

Meanwhile, Premier Mark McGowan announced that Western Australia will open its borders to Victorians from next Tuesday, allowing travellers in without the need to quarantine.

The move comes as the first plane-load of Victorians arrived in Brisbane just after 9am on Tuesday and Victoria celebrated 32 consecutive days of no new COVID-19 cases.

Queensland Border Now Open

As of 1 December, there are currently no hotspots in NSW or VIC so visitors can enter Queensland, even if you have been in greater Sydney or Victoria in the 14 days prior. Specific parts of South Australia will continue to be COVID-19 hotspots. You will also need to complete a Border Declaration Pass.

This is great news for business on Australia’s east as we start to see things opening up again. Congratulations to all for your hard work and please get in touch with us if you have any questions about your finances.

Central Bank Holds Rates, Prepared to Boost Stimulus

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left its cash rate at a record low 0.1% and maintained its $100 billion quantitative easing programme. RBA Governor Philip Lowe said the Reserve Bank Board is ready to do what they can with the tools they have to help.

The top central banker also said economic growth is expected to be “solidly positive” in both the September and December quarters, striking an optimistic note. However, he also warned a recovery from the pandemic would be bumpy and uneven, signalling the need for policy support for a long time to come.

Australia Invests $4 Million in New COVID-19 Research

More than $4 million will be distributed from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) through two grant rounds to institutions including Monash University, Deakin University and Macquarie University, allowing researchers to continue to examine the virus and respond to the pandemic.

These grants also aim to develop high priority digital health infrastructure, improving the speed and features of health system responses during acute crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Restrictions Outlined

The federal, state, and territory governments have put COVID-19 restrictions in place to prevent the spread of the virus. Details of the plan to ease these restrictions over time, domestic travel restrictions and remote area access, advice for international travellers, the framework for national reopening, and the Pandemic Health Intelligence Plan can be found here.

Financial Help and Free Mentorship For Online Businesses

Micro and small business operators can get financial assistance and free mentoring through a government-funded programme called New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).

New entrepreneurs can access free mentoring for the first 12 months of participation in the program and receive financial assistance for up to the first 39 weeks of business operation.

Existing micro-businesses impacted by COVID-19 can access NEIS if they need help to keep their businesses running.

Also, people with part-time contracts, who are working up to 25 hours per week, can access NEIS if they are looking to start their own business.

You can learn more about this government assistance here. Alternatively, you can contact us so we can also help you evaluate other funding and business support options you may be eligible for.

Business Growth Fund Launched

The government-backed Australian Business Growth Fund has launched to ensure small- and medium-sized businesses have access to equity finance, as the country recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.

The fund will allow Australian businesses to apply for long-term equity capital investments between $5 million and $15 million, where they have generated annual revenue between $2 million and $100 million and can demonstrate three years of revenue growth and profitability.

If you need help assessing your eligibility or to consider other financing options, don’t hesitate to contact us for guidance.

Government-backed COVID-19 Loans Extended

The government is extending its small business COVID-19 loans scheme until June 2021. If you need help to access these loans or you want to find out if you are eligible, don’t hesitate to drop us a message.

Rebuilding Customer Loyalty Post-Pandemic

Given the exciting progress in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, it seems like we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

However, getting your feet back on track may not be as easy as it seems. Businesses which had to shut down during the pandemic may have lost some momentum in their customer relationships. Below are ways to make customers re-engage:

  • Incentivise engaging with your business by offering special offers, discounts, and gift cards.
  • If you increased your social media and email marketing efforts at the height of the pandemic, keep that activity going and stay in touch.
  • Strong customer relationships are built on trust, and the best way to establish this is to stay true to your brand and put your customers first.
  • Know your customers’ evolving needs and adapt accordingly. Those who survived throughout the pandemic are those that have pivoted to meet their customers’ changing priorities.

If you are struggling to keep your business afloat, get in touch with us so we can work out a plan.

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