Businesses affected by COVID restrictions, including sole traders, can apply for financial support under a range of Victorian government programs.

From 1 October, increased payments are also available to visa holders who have been unable to claim other government support. A number of visa holders in our area have been struggling to manage after being stood down from hospitality jobs in particular.

Click on the headings to find out more about each program.

Business Support Fund

There is a third round of the Business Support Fund available. Businesses with employees in industries that are the most affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions can apply for a grant from this program. A list of relevant industries is available on the website.

You can claim $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000, depending on your business’ annual payroll.

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund

Grants from $10,000 to $25,000 are available to regional venues that serve food and alcohol. The amount you can claim depends on the patron capacity specified on your liquor license.

Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package

These grants are available to both licensed and unlicensed hospitality businesses, including restaurants, cafes, pubs/taverns, bars, clubs and takeaway food venues.

Businesses can apply for a grant of $5,000. The grant can be used to pay for practical things like umbrellas, outdoor furniture, screens and other equipment. It can also be used for training, marketing and other costs of adapting new, expanded or enhanced outdoor dining.

Hospitality Business Grants

This program supports food service businesses that were affected by the previous Stage 3 and Stage 4 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions.

Only businesses that employ staff and have an annual payroll of $3 million and up to $10 million in 2019-20 are eligible.

Businesses that are eligible will be provided with a one-off, $25,000 grant to pay for business costs to support the continued operation of the business.

Sole Trader Support Fund

Sole traders operating out of commercial premises or locations within specific industries can apply for a grant of $3,000 that can be used towards their overhead costs.

In regional Victoria, the fund is available to sole trader businesses in industry sectors that are Restricted, Heavily Restricted or Closed in the Second Step. The rules are quite complex though. If you want to find out if you are eligible the FAQ page may be helpful.

Extreme Hardship Support Program

People who are unable to access Commonwealth Government income support and the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (ISERF) can apply for payments of $800 for single people and higher rates for families. You can apply for the grant again two months later.

The Extreme Hardship Support Program is emergency financial relief to help people pay for food, medicine or bills during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is provided by the Victorian Government with the Red Cross. The program also provides information and referrals to those in need

To apply for emergency financial assistance people should go to the Red Cross website or call the Red Cross on 1800 855 240. Interpreters are available to assist in any language difficulties.