Tag Archives: May 2021

New support package for businesses announced

THE VICTORIAN Government has announced a $250.7 million business support package which includes finances for small to medium-sized businesses and sole traders.
The aptly named Circuit Breaker Business Support Package aims to help up to 90,000 businesses affected by the current lockdown.
The package is divided into three initiatives:

  • Business Costs Assistance Program
  • Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund
  • Support for events operators

Of the package, $190M will be funnelled into a second round of the Business Costs Assistance Program, offering grants of $2,500 for eligible businesses directly affected by the lockdown’s industry restrictions; this includes restaurants and cafes, event suppliers, accommodation providers, and non-essential retail.
A new round of the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund will see $40.7M provided to businesses with a liquor license and food certificate distributed in grants of $3,500 per premises.
For operators in the events industry who have been impacted finically by the lockdown, they will have access to a share of a $20M support scheme.
At the announcement, Acting Premier James Merlino said this new package will help businesses stay open in the long term.

“The circuit-breaker action will keep Victorians safe and protect businesses and jobs – but we know it’s not easy shutting your doors and putting your plans on hold.
“This support will help businesses pay the bills and maintain their workforce as best they can, as we work together to get through this challenge,” he said.

Minister for Small Business, Jaala Pulford added “Small businesses are crucial to our economy and beyond dollar and cents, important contributors to local communities — we’re proud to stand with them and their workers.”

Businesses can visit https://business.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/circuit-breaker-business-support-package for further information and to register for some of the package — at this stage, most grants will be open for application from Wednesday, June 2.

Return to lockdown

Updated 31/5/2021 2pm

Another day in lockdown

DAY FOUR of Victoria’s May circuit-breaker lockdown and we have seen the outbreak grow by about five cases per day, every day.
But a new case at an aged care facility in Maidstone has seen this figure jump to 11 new cases for today, bringing the total to 51 in this outbreak, note earlier today Vic Health reported 5 additional cases, but between then and the 12:15pm press conference, 6 additional cases were identified and added to the daily figure.
Testing and vaccination continue to be very high, with the Sunday/Monday reporting period logging 43,874 tests and 16,752 doses of vaccine administered.
Worryingly, the list of exposure sites continues to grow with the list of 300 exposure sites (at time of writing).
Although the list contains shopping centres, supermarkets, and public transport, there is still no sites near Warrandyte.
Given our previous experience with lockdowns, and with 51 active cases in this outbreak and hundreds of exposure sites, it is hard to imagine we only have three more days of lockdown to go.
However, lockdown brings familiar scenes back to Warrandyte with quiet roads, and ovals and parklands brimming with families and individuals who are — mostly — respecting the social distancing and mask wearing rules.
While we must all feel for those businesses who are not able to operate at the moment, on Sunday, the State Government announced its support package which will hopefully lessen the burden, you can read the story here.

Local exposure site added to list

United Service Station, Doncaster East has been added as a Tier 3 exposure site.
Tier 3 means monitor for symptoms and get tested if any arise.
So, anyone who visited the servo between 4:50pm and 5:30pm on Saturday, May 15 please monitor for symptoms.

 Five reasons to leave home

Current restrictions include:

  • Five-kilometre radius
  • Schools shift to remote learning
  • Limits on weddings and funerals
  • Playcentres, gyms, entertainment venues, hair and beauty and tourism closed.
  • Community sport cancelled
  • Restaurants and cafes restricted to take away service
  • Visitor restrictions on care facilities and hospitals

There are now five reasons to leave home; essential shopping, exercise (two hours maximum per day with one other person), care and caregiving, authorised work, and vaccination.
The Epping cluster may feel like it is a long way away from Warrandyte, but everyone is impacted by the restrictions, local supermarket owner Julie Quinton spoke to the Dairy about the reintroduction of restrictions earlier this week, and asked customers to respect the rules, to protect her staff and the larger community.

“We ask that customers please follow the government guidelines and also wear masks when shopping at Quintons, so we may all help protect one another.
“We also ask that people check in with the QR code when entering our store, as well as sanitising their hands, observing the electronic customer counter at our door, social distancing and following our one-way aisles, to best enable social distancing,” she said.

There has also been a resurgence of panic-buying, with Quinton’s having to reintroduce limits on some purchases, such as toilet paper.
The other corner stone of the Warrandyte community, The Grand Hotel, had it tough during 2020s lockdown, but has been able to maximise its new beer garden to full effect over summer.
General Manager, Peter Appleby, spoke to the Diary about the challenges of lockdown and compliance.

“It’s been a horrible 12 months.
“When we locked down last year, we had already started work [on the beer garden] and we stopped work on that under lockdown rules, and as we learnt more about post COVID we were hearing outdoor spaces would be a factor in getting open with a larger capacity.
“So we picked up the tools again and we reopened about three weeks after you were allowed to, and got the beer garden not quite finished but in a workable state.
“That was great for us because the rules were 10 people per room, maximum two rooms — we were never going to open for that it was simply not viable,” he said.

But with an outdoor space, the pub could have 50 people outside which was much more workable.

“Opening up at the end of October, the weather was fantastic, and it certainly worked for us and we’re pretty proud of what we have achieved, it looks great.”

Peter went on to talk about the support they have had from the community and about the challenges of adapting to COVID rules – such as masks and QR codes.

“The support from the community has been amazing, it has been really well received.
“One of my sayings last year was ‘control the controllable’, get told to wear a mask, we wear a mask, we have to ask our customers to respect that.
“Our staff are trying to do the right thing, we don’t want to shut down again,” he said.

On Wednesday, Acting Premier James Merlino said, “these new cases underscore the importance of people coming forward for testing”.
A message the public responded to, as testing numbers and waiting times at COVID-19 testing sites saw a significant increase.
State Government also replenished pleas for all those who are eligible for Coronavirus vaccination to get vaccinated, which now includes those aged 40–49 — but those eligible must use the coronavirus hotline to book their vaccination appointment, which saw the hotline crash on Thursday, May 27, after 77,000 people tried to call the hotline in 15 minutes.

Municipal restrictions

The lockdown also means some council run facilities and services are closed or working in a remote setting.

Manningham and Nillumbik council have provided the Diary with a run-down of what is and is not open.

Manningham:

Aged and Disability Services

OPEN

Service remains open, including meal delivery service.

Homecare including personal care will continue.

Social Support Programs will continue online and over the telephone.

Arts and Venues

CLOSED

Arts and venues are closed as well as venue hire.

OPEN

MC Square.

Business, events and grants

CLOSED

Holding events on Council land and busking.

Citizen Connect

OPEN

Please call us on 03 9840 9333 if you have any queries.

Early Childhood Services

CLOSED

Playgroups and toy libraries.

OPEN

Find a childcare service.

Find a kindergarten or pre-school.

Parenting seminar series – open through new online format.

Immunisation

OPEN

Service remains open.

You must book a session to attend and observe public health directions.

Maternal and Child Health services

OPEN

All services are open.

Parks / Recreation

OPEN PENDING CLARIFICATION FROM DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

Athletics Track.

BMX Track.

Slipping Track.

Public Tennis Courts.

Public open space/ovals.

Outdoor gym equipment.

Parks and playspaces.

Rieschiecks Reserve.

CLOSED

Aquarena.

Stadiums.

Sports Clubs and Pavilions.

All casual bookings for use of facilities (built and open space) are cancelled.

Social and Community Services

CLOSED

Manningham youth services.

L2P learner driver mentor program – still taking referrals.

Waste Services

OPEN

Waste and recycling services.

CLOSED

Garden waste centre – permanently decommissioned

Nillumbik:

CANCELLED

Roving Performance
The Roving Performance in Eltham as part of our Arts and Culture Strategy consultation on Saturday, May 29 has been cancelled.

POSTPONED

Art Bus Tour
The Art Bus Tour on Saturday, June 5 will be postponed.
All ticket holders will be contacted with next steps shortly.

Celebrating the Platypus in the Diamond Creek
The Celebrating the Platypus in the Diamond Creek event on Sunday, May 30 at Edendale Community Environment Farm has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 4.
Further details will be available on Council’s and Edendale’s social media pages, and at https://nillumbik.vic.gov.au/platypus

Domestic Animal Management Plan (DAMP) pop-up consultation
Planned to take place on Tuesday, June 1 at Eltham Lower Park, this pop-up has been rescheduled to the same location on Tuesday, June 15 from 2:30pm–5:30pm.

Friends of Edendale community planting day
Planned as part of the Celebrating the platypus in the Diamond Creek event on Sunday May 30, the community planting for platypus will also be postponed.

“Meet and greet” with local deer controllers and businesses
This event, which was due to take place at the Hurstbridge Community Hub on Sunday, May 30, will be rescheduled soon.

Nillumbik ‘Unmuted’ Business Breakfast
The Nillumbik ‘Unmuted’ Business Breakfast in Yarrambat scheduled for Wednesday, June 2 has been postponed.
A new date is yet to be confirmed.

Wiser Driver program
The upcoming Wiser Driver program, which was due to hold its first session on Monday, May 31, is postponed until further notice.
Registered attendees will be contacted.

TEMPORARILY CLOSED

Lisa May and Emine Charlwood exhibitions
These exhibitions at the Eltham Library Community Gallery are closed until at least June 4.
The exhibitions will reopen in line with DHHS requirements.

The Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Art
This exhibition at Montsalvat is closed until at least June 4.
The exhibition will reopen in line with DHHS requirements.

 A developing situation

The Diary will continue to update this story as more details emerge.
As the cluster grows more exposure sites are added to the list.

Visit the website below for the latest exposure sites:
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites

If you need to get a COVID-19 test, visit the Vic Health website for the latest testing sites and approximate waiting times.
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/where-get-tested-covid-19

For a full list of what businesses can and cannot operate from midnight tonight, see the attached pdf.

Masks and gathering restrictions return to Melbourne

Story updated 26/05/2021 10:11am

AS OF 6pm on Tuesday, May 25, mandatory mask wearing is back for everyone in metropolitan Melbourne.
Melbourne residents will have new restrictions on private indoor and outdoor gatherings and masks are mandatory — unless with a valid exemption — in indoor settings.
On Wednesday 25, the cluster has grown to 15 active cases with a growing list of exposure sites across Melbourne and in Bendigo.
In the 24 hours between May 25 and May 26, there were 26,180 tests and 15,858 vaccine does administered.
At the Wednesday, May 26 Coronavirus briefing, Acting Premier James Merlino highlighted the importance of getting tested by foreshadowed more restrictions may be on the horizon.

“These new cases underscore the importance of people coming forward for testing”.
“We are concerned by the number and the locations.
“I cannot rule out taking some further action.
“The next 24 hours are going to be critical if we are going to have to make any further changes,” he said.

The restrictions are a reaction to an error in the contract tracing investigation of a Wollert man who, after undergoing hotel quarantine in South Australia, subsequently tested positive in early May.
On the original investigation, the wrong Woolworths supermarket was listed as an exposure site.
As the new cluster — currently at five — is gnomically linked to the earlier Wollert case, and following the correction to the Woolworths exposure site, the new restrictions have been introduced to help contain a potential Coronavirus outbreak.
Presently, private indoor gatherings will be limited to five and private outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30.
Masks will also be mandatory in indoor settings, which expands mandatory masks from public transport, health facilities, airports and ride share vehicles, to indoor spaces such as supermarkets, pubs, wedding venues, and schools.
A present, there are no further restrictions in place.
The Diary asked local supermarket owner Julie Quinton about what these new restrictions mean for her staff and the community.

“We have instructed our staff that it is now mandatory for our staff, from 6pm tonight, to wear masks when working at Quintons IGA.
“So as to help protect them from any possibly infected people.
“We ask that customers please follow the government guidelines and also wear masks when shopping at Quintons, so we may all help protect one another.
“At this stage we will be allowing leniency, however, we will be monitoring the outbreak and may adjust our conditions of entry accordingly.
“We also ask that people check in with the QR code when entering our store, as well as sanitising their hands, observing the electronic customer counter at our door, social distancing and following our one way aisles, to best enable social distancing,” she said.

The good news is all current active cases in this cluster have been linked, but as Melburnians are all too aware of, we still have a long way to go.
The Diary will continue to update this story as more details emerge.

As the cluster grows more exposure sites are added to the list.
Visit the website below for the latest exposure sites:
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites

If you need to get a COVID-19 test, visit the Vic Health website for the latest testing sites and approximate waiting times.
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/where-get-tested-covid-19