Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said a new case of coronavirus assigned to the Horsham Rural City will have no bearing on how quickly the city leaves pandemic restrictions.
On Sunday, Mr Andrews said the case reported was in a person that had been in Melbourne for the past four months.
"(They are) known to have acquired the virus in Melbourne, and have not been in Horsham whilst infectious," he said.
"The person's residential address is in (Horsham), which is why the case has been recorded in that way. It will have no impact on the decision on when regional Victoria can take the next steps."
There are 52 active cases of coronavirus in regional Victoria, down from 58 a day earlier.
Mr Andrews said there was an average of 4.1 cases a day in regional Victoria, which means it may move to the next step of the plan by the middle of the week.
It will move to step two easing from midnight tonight.
Mr Andrews urged Victorians with even the mildest symptoms to continue coming forward and getting tested for coronavirus, saying 90 per cent of people received their results within 24 hours.
Business support announced
Mr Andrews also announced a $3 billion package to deliver cash grants, tax relief and cash flow support to Victorian businesses.
"Over $1.1 billion in cash grants will support small and medium-sized businesses that are most affected by coronavirus restrictions including $822 million as part of the third round of the Business Support Fund, Mr Andrews said.
"Around 75,000 eligible businesses with payrolls up to $10 million will receive grants of $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 depending on their size."
The announcement followed Hopetoun Cafe manager Jo-anne Hooton taking to Facebook on Saturday to announce the cafe would "take a break for a few weeks" due to the current level of restrictions.
She said more government support was needed for businesses that made the decision she had.
Mrs Hooton told the Mail-Times 70 per cent of her trade was tourists from Melbourne. "We can't see being back to anywhere near full capacity until they let them out, which at this stage would be early December," she said.
"We are going to keep an eye on what's going on and we will open up as soon as there is passing trade again. the locals have been supporting us as much as they can, but there is only so much they can do."
Mrs Hooton said the cafe's staff had been laid off, after first going on JobKeeper. "The psychological effect of nobody coming through he door is affecting all of us. If we take a break we figure we can build ourselves back up and come back happy like we were before.
"We are in a position where we will be alright (paying business expenses while on a break), but it won't leave us any back up money."
- To support bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs, hotels and reception centres, the Government will establish a $251 million dedicated Licenced Venue Fund, with grants of between $10,000 and $30,000 for licenced venues of all shapes and sizes. The Government is also providing further relief by waiving liquor license fees for 2021.
- The Government will also partner with local business groups and chambers of commerce, with grants of up to $20,000 so they can help their members adapt and find their feet in a COVID Normal world. To date, almost 20,000 Victorian businesses have received payroll tax refunds in the last financial year worth more than $540 million - and thousands more received a full waiver. To provide a much needed $1.7 billion cashflow boost for businesses, the Government will now defer payroll tax for businesses with payrolls up to $10 million for the full 2020-21 financial year.
- The Government will also provide a further $137 million in waivers and deferrals of charges including liquor licence fees, the congestion levy and increases to the landfill levy. The 50 per cent stamp duty discount for commercial and industrial property across all of regional Victoria will be brought forward to 1 January 2021 and the Vacant Residential Land Tax will be waived for properties that are vacant in 2020.
- $8.5 million for more marketing and advertising for Click for Vic online marketplace, and expanding the digital platform and its partnerships with third-party e-commerce providers to sell these strengths far and wide.
- A $15.7 million export recovery package to address logistics and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, and establish new export channels. Businesses will be connected to international markets through virtual trade missions as well as assistance to adapt their export strategies to respond to the rapidly changing global market.
- $44 million to equip businesses with the support they need to thrive under a COVID Normal. It includes $20 million for small businesses to access off-the-shelf digital programs such as Shopify or Squareonline, training and workshops designed to help businesses adapt to online operations.
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