ADELAIDE, Australia — About 50,000 small to medium businesses in South Australia will have access to emergency payments from the state government to help cover losses during this week’s statewide Covid-19 lockdown.
The government’s AU$100 million ($73.93) package will pay AU$3000 ($2194.6) to businesses forced to close, including gyms, hairdressers, nail salons, restaurants, cafes, and hotels, and AU$1000 ($739.3) to sole traders.
The money can be used to help cover ongoing operating costs such as rent, power bills, supplier and raw material costs, and other fees.
The government will also expand income assistance statewide to people who lose work during the lockdown after the federal government announced payments of up to AU$600 ($437.63) a week to people in the Adelaide hotspot zone.
Treasurer Rob Lucas says the payments to businesses, including sole traders, will act as a lifeline for those small to medium companies that are the lifeblood of the community.
“We know this is an incredibly difficult time for many employers and their staff, which is why we are doing everything in our power to help as many businesses as possible get through to the other side of this short lockdown,” he said.
“The AU$3000 ($2194.6) grants will provide an immediate cash injection to eligible businesses affected by the restrictions.”
The payments will be provided to those businesses with a payroll of less than AU$10 million ($7.29 million) and an annual turnover of AU$75,000 ($54,703.1) or more and where turnover is reduced by at least 30 percent over the lockdown period which began on July 21.
Lucas said the government would consider further support if the lockdown was extended beyond seven days.
Martin Haese, chief executive, Business South Australia, welcomed the assistance but said the ultimate form of support for businesses was for the lockdown to be lifted as soon as it was safe to do so.
“Nothing will entirely offset the losses incurred by a seven-day lockdown, other than to be open for trade,” he said.
The South Australian state government will also provide income support of up to AU$600 ($439) per week to eligible workers in regional South Australia or outside the Commonwealth-declared hotspots not entitled to the federal Covid-19 disaster payment of AU$600 ($439) for losing over 20 hours of work a week and AU$375 ($274.3) for less.
Workers outside the Commonwealth-declared hotspots of metropolitan Adelaide, Hills, and Gawler areas are eligible for income support.
There are 32266 Covid-19 cases and 915 deaths in Australia, as per reports by the Worldometer.
Currently, there are 1608 active infected patients in Australia, out of which one percent (18) are in critical condition, the rest are in mild condition.
(Edited by Saptak Datta and Krishna Kakani)
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