COVID-19 Business Support

Business Costs Assistance Program - Closes March 16

One-off grants are still available to support eligible small businesses and sole traders in specific sectors that have incurred costs as a direct result of the circuit breaker action announced on 12 February 2021.

Program overview

The new $92 million Business Costs Assistance Program is part of the Victorian Government’s $143 million Circuit Breaker Action Business Support Package and will assist small businesses, including sole traders, in highly impacted sectors, such as hospitality, food wholesaling, tourism, events, and selected retail.

The program offers grants of $2000 to small businesses, including sole traders, regardless of whether they employ people or not. The grants will support businesses in eligible sectors who have incurred direct costs because of the circuit breaker action, such as the loss of perishable goods, flowers and booking cancellations, and cancellation fees and charges.

Businesses with an annual payroll of up to $3 million, whether they have employees or not, can receive grants of $2000.

Before submitting your application, please read all the information on this page, including the program guidelines and the frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Business Costs Assistance Program guidelines (PDF 258.94 KB)PDF icon

Business Costs Assistance Program guidelines (DOCX 1536.19 KB)DOCX icon

Victorian Government's coronavirus (COVID-19) business recovery information, programs and services update 22/11/20

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the further easing of restrictions in Victoria from 11.59pm on Sunday 22 November 2020. The following is a high-level summary of some of the key changes. For more detail on these changes, please see the Summary of Last Step Restrictions.

Victoria’s Last Step in the Roadmap for reopening - changes to how we live

 From 11:59pm on Sunday 22 November:

  • The number of visitors to a home will increase from two to 15 per day. That can be split across different times as long as people are sticking to a total of 15.
  • Outdoor gatherings in a public place will increase to 50.
  • Weddings will increase to 150 people.
  • Funerals and religious ceremonies will increase to 150 people indoors.
  • Contact and non-contact sports can begin for adults as well as kids – 150 people indoors with a group size of up to 20 and 500 outdoors with groups of up to 50.
  • Masks will no longer be mandatory if outdoors and a safe distance can be kept, but Victorians will need to carry a mask at all times in case the situation changes. Masks still need to be worn when indoors and on public transport – and where distance cannot be kept.

Victoria’s Last Step in the Roadmap for reopening - changes to how we work

From 11:59pm on Sunday 22 November:

  • Hospitality sector changes will also come into place. For smaller hospitality venues, the density limit will change to one person for every two square metres – up to 50 customers indoors. QR code record keeping will be mandatory.
  • For bigger hospitality venues, the density limit will stay the same, but the cap will increase to 150 indoors. Total venue capacity (indoor and outdoor) will also rise to 300.
  • Cinemas, galleries and museums will be able to host up to 150 people indoors.
  • Organisers will be able to apply to host a public event. Different requirements and rules will need to apply, depending on whether it’s a school fete or a major sporting match.

Please note, all patron numbers are subject to strict density limits. Updated information will be published soon in the relevant sector guidance pages on the Coronavirus website.

Looking ahead

  • From 30 November, a phased approach for workers heading back to the office will begin. Up to 25 per cent of workers will be able to attend onsite. Importantly, unless you’re one of those people nominated by your employer – you need to keep working from home. The Victorian Public Service will remain under the setting “if you can work from home, you must work from home” to create space and capacity for the private sector.
  • From 11.59pm Sunday 13 December, Victorians will be able to host up to 30 people in their home per day. Babies under 12 months won’t count towards the cap.

The Premier will provide a further update on restrictions on 6 December. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly.

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the further easing of restrictions from 11.59pm on Sunday 8 November with Victoria on track to reach the Last Step in the roadmap towards reopening on 22 November. Following is an overview of the key changes:

Metropolitan Melbourne to join regional Victoria on roadmap towards reopening From 11:59pm on Sunday 8 November 2020:

  • The boundary between Melbourne and regional Victoria will come down.
  • The 25-kilometre limit will no longer be in place.
  • The rules that currently apply to regional Victoria will apply to the whole state – wherever you live.

What this means - changes to how we live and work in metropolitan Melbourne From 11:59pm on Sunday 8 November:

  • Visits to the home will be relaxed a little. Households can still only have a maximum of two people (and their dependents) to visit per day, but those two people don’t need to be from the same household, and they will be able to come at different times.
  • Restaurants, pubs and cafes will be able to host up to 40 customers indoors and 70 outdoors.
  • Gyms and indoor sporting facilities can open with up to 20.
  • Indoor sport for those 18 and under can recommence.
  • Indoor religious ceremonies will be increased to 20, with 50 allowed outside. The same numbers will apply to funerals, but there’s no change to weddings – for now.
  • Community spaces like libraries or RSL clubs and neighbourhood houses can have up to 20 indoors, with groups of up to ten.
  • Accommodation will be able to open, with restrictions.

Additional changes to how we live and work across Victoria From 11:59pm on Sunday 8 November:

  • Indoor entertainment venues will be able to open with 20 people per space – movie theatres, galleries, museums and music halls will now be able to open.
  • The rules around visiting aged care and hospitals will also be relaxed. Instead of a specific number of visitors – a household will be able to visit together. Once per day and limited to two hours.
  • Those under 16 will also be able to visit hospitals and the time limit for partners visiting maternity wards will no longer exist. Please note however, that individual hospitals and facilities may continue to have their own policies, reflecting the needs of their patients and whatever the virus might be doing in the community.
  • The State of Emergency will be extended until 6 December to allow the Chief Health Officer’s directions to remain in force.
  • The State of Disaster will not be renewed.

Key restrictions remaining in place at this time

  • If you can work from home, you must work from home.
  • A fitted face mask must be worn in public at all times (with specified exceptions).

Looking ahead – Victoria’s Last Step in the roadmap towards reopening From 22 November, and in line with the public health advice, Victoria is on track to reach the Last Step in the roadmap towards reopening. Some key changes include:

  • Private gatherings will be able to increase to 10 people.
  • Gatherings for religious services, weddings and funerals will increase.
  • Hospitality venues will be able to have up to 100 indoors, 200 outside.
  • There will also be increases for other indoor venues like cinemas and gyms and galleries.

Under the Third Step, from 11:59pm on Tuesday 27 October 2020, the following changes will apply to businesses based in metropolitan Melbourne:

  • Melbourne’s cafes, restaurants and pubs can reopen - outdoors with a limit of up to 50 people, and indoors with a limit of up to 20 people.
  • Remaining retail can open.
  • Beauty and personal care services can resume.
  • Outdoor entertainment venues can begin hosting visitors.
  • Density limits, record keeping and COVIDSafe Plans continue to apply to all businesses.
  • For those businesses that need to get ready for their reopening – staff will be able to attend onsite immediately. These workers will not be required carry a Permitted Worker Permit.
  • Workplaces will also no longer need to be on the permitted work list to open and the ability to work will change to “if you can work from home you must work from home”.

Restrictions remaining in place at this time

  • The 25-kilometre limit will remain in place to limit the virus’s ability to travel.
  • The border between regional Victoria and Melbourne will also remain in place. And while the boundary is in place, work permits will still be required for workers from Melbourne travelling into regional Victoria – and vice versa.

Looking ahead

From 8 November 2020, subject to case numbers, the following changes will occur:

  • The 25-kilometre limit will come off.
  • The border between the city and the rest of our state will also fall away. Melbourne and regional Victoria will be at the same level of restrictions.
  • The capacity of pubs and restaurants will increase, with up to 40 people inside and 70 people outside.
  • Religious gatherings will expand with up 20 people and a faith leader indoors, and 50 outside.
  • Gyms and indoor fitness will be able to reopen – with some strict safety precautions in place.
  • Accommodation will reopen.

For more detail on these changes, please see the Premier’s statement and summary of changes.  

Keeping your workplace safe

Please be reminded that every business that is open in Victoria must have a COVIDSafe Plan and follow the six COVIDSafe principles to help prevent future outbreaks of coronavirus (COVID-19).

A COVIDSafe Plan template is available to help businesses plan and take action to prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace.

New guidance has also been developed for some sectors and will be available at

Businesses can also access a collection of signage, posters and questionnaires to assist in communicating key messages to workers and customers. Printing of these materials can be purchased through Officeworks.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) translated information for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is also available online for businesses and industry. Businesses can also call 13 22 15 and request a free translator.

Please share this information with your members and encourage them to communicate the important need for businesses and workers to understand their responsibilities in ensuring a COVIDSafe workplace.

To learn more about these changes and how to make your workplace COVIDSafe, please visit the coronavirus website.