Today’s announcement by Premier Andrews to enforce the toughest COVID-19 restrictions yet marks the start of the biggest challenge Victorian businesses will ever face.
Many businesses that thought they could scrape through Stage 3 restrictions will now close, industries will face unprecedented controls and thousands more jobs will be lost.
The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands the only way our economy will survive the COVID-19 crisis is by getting the health crisis under control. But we know that closing or heavily restricting workplaces will have a devastating effect on our businesses and economy.
While the introduction of Stage 4 restrictions will be devastating, it is pleasing to see further financial help for metropolitan businesses, in the form of a $10,000 grant and additional payroll tax refunds and exemptions on top of the $5,000 grants announced at the start of Stage 3 restrictions.
Grants of $5,000 will also be available for Regional Victorian businesses, which will be critical for their survival.
To be attributed to Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Paul Guerra:
“These are measures that we all hoped would never be needed.
“For many struggling businesses already only just hoping to make it through Stage 3 restrictions, closing for six weeks will be the end.
“While it is somewhat positive that some vital industries will still be able to operate under a ‘pilot light’ setting, including construction, the restrictions will still severely damage jobs and productivity.
“Victoria’s economy will effectively be shut down for the next six weeks. We know that for us to get into a position again where we talk about recovery the health crisis needs to be brought under control.
“But the cost of the actions to get to that point will be devastating and long-lasting, with the effects felt by all of us for many years.”