Auckland,(NZ)/–As the pandemic continues with ongoing shutdowns and restrictions, among those hit hardest are small businesses. The current state of affairs in the world has led to many business owners seeking out COVID-19 business support.
With such a rapidly changing situation it can be difficult to understand your options, where to turn for information, and what the best measures to take are.
Supporting Your Employees
One of the first considerations of shutdowns and reduced cash flow during the virus is supporting your employees’ income and welfare. From 30 March to 27 September of this year, employers can claim a fortnightly $1500 per employee, with some requirements regarding eligibility.
If your business employs apprentices or trainees you may be eligible for a subsidy of 50% of their wages, provided that the business employs fewer than 20 full-time workers and is not already on JobKeeper.
Supporting Your Business
Trying to consider the future of your business can seem daunting in the context of enforced shutdowns and reduced customer traffic, but there is support available.
Alongside JobKeeper for your employees, there is also support for employers. If you estimate that your turnover has fallen by 30% or more this financial year, your business will be eligible to apply for support through the ATO.
There are also resources to support temporary cash flow, safety nets for companies in financial distress due to the virus, an increased instant asset write-off scheme, COVID-19 credit and loan programs, and also a wide range of local support depending on your area.
The ATO also has assistance set up for any other issues encountered during this time of economic crisis, from Emergency Support info lines to deferrals and interest remittance for tax.
Reopening: how to do it right?
The recent announcement of the three-step plan for reopening Australia most likely came as a relief for businesses forced to close. Knowing when and how to reopen can be uncertain, so it’s important to stay informed.
Reopening will look a little different depending on where you are, but for most states and territories the key number is ten: ten patrons in restaurants and cafes, ten people for real estate inspections, ten people at outdoor bootcamps.
The other important factor is ensuring the safety of yourself, your employees, and your customers. See the Safe Work Australia website for industry-specific COVID-19 safety and restriction information, but the key considerations are:
- Limit the number of people within an enclosed space
- Enforce social distancing (1.5m between each person) through reduced seating, tape markers, and signage
- Encourage hygiene practices such as regular hand washing and sanitisation
- Ensure anyone who feels unwell stays home
Supporting Mental Health
COVID-19 has caused a large shift in everyone’s lives. In amongst ensuring financial security and the physical health of yourself, your staff, and employees, it’s also important to prioritise mental health.
The Australian Department of Health has introduced extra mental health support packages, organisations such as Beyond Blue offer targeted COVID-19 mental wellbeing support, and there are also numerous other options such as apps and online forums for managing stress and anxiety during the pandemic.
Understanding your technology needs
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a complete change in the way technology is used in businesses, in sometimes unexpected ways.
If your business handles cash, now may be the time to consider becoming completely cashless. This is a measure taken by many Australian businesses, and major grocery retailers have also increased the limit for transactions without a PIN required, to avoid contamination of PIN pads.
If you’re considering ongoing remote working for your business in any capacity, it can also be difficult to set up the technology required. During the pandemic, some technology companies have made their services available for free, and there is a variety of working from home software available, depending on your remote working needs.
Lastly, if you require any COVID-19 financial support during this time, the MyGovIssssssssD app is a necessity for applications and management.
In these tough times, a wide variety of resources have been made available for business owners to access finances, physical and mental health support, and up-to-date technology. Knowing your options fully and keeping up to date is the most important consideration to keep yourself, your business, and your employees safe and healthy.
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