The health and safety of Tasmanians remains our number one priority and we know the snap three-day lockdown, while short and necessary, was not easy for impacted businesses.
We know it had a significant financial impact, in particular for those with perishable goods such as food that had to be discarded, and we are taking action to support these businesses and help alleviate the impacts on them.
Today I am announcing the Southern Tasmania Lockdown Business Support Program, which is available to eligible businesses in the 12 local government areas who were directly impacted by the stay-at-home orders.
A $1000 payment will be made to any business (with a minimum $25,000 turnover) forced to close for the duration of the lockdown.
Businesses that closed partially, who were able to pivot to takeaway or other service delivery, will receive a $750 payment.
Importantly, an additional payment of up to $10,000 is available for lost perishable goods which had to be discarded as a direct result of the lockdown order – recognising the impact the lockdown had on products that spoil in a relatively short timeframe, such as food, fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy products and goods like flowers.
This program is in addition to the significant support already provided throughout the pandemic, including most recently the Supercharged Micro and Small Business Border Closure Grant Program, which has already distributed $37.7 million of support to 2,600 Tasmanian businesses.
I encourage anyone seeking information regarding the business support packages on offer to please contact Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026.
There are also Tasmanian and Australian Government payments available to employees who lost income during the lockdown.
Please contact the Public Health Hotline in relation to the Pandemic Isolation Assistance payments on 1800 671 738 or Services Australia for the Australian Government payments at: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/getting-help-during-coronavirus-covid-19/if-you-need-payment#guide.
And as we head into summer, we are also making it easier for event organisers to safely hold their events, which is why Public Health have revised the Events Framework to ensure it provides clear and simple guidance to event organisers around the application process, and advice around the nature of events that must be registered.
Importantly, maintaining our vaccination rates continues to be our best defence against further lockdowns into the future and our vaccination program continues to progress well, with 70 per cent of Tasmanians over 16 now fully vaccinated, and around 85 per cent having had one dose.
This is a fantastic effort and a credit to all Tasmanians, and means we remain on track to achieve our 90 per cent goal that will allow our borders to reopen by Christmas.
It is also an important reminder for those working in our health care sector that the deadline is 30 October and they must either have received one vaccination or booked an appointment, or received an exemption.
This means staff, volunteers and people currently listed in the direction will not be able to attend a health care setting, they will not be able to work, and therefore will not be paid from 31 October and this will lead to their employment or engagement ending.
We simply cannot have people working in our health care systems unvaccinated and I am confident that those working in our health system recognise the pivotal roles they have to protect themselves and the people they care for, and will do the right thing.