Victoria’s hospitality venue owners will be one of the key sectors to benefit from a major stimulus injection from the State Government.

A new $200m package aimed at supporting jobs across the state has been announced, along with further easing of restrictions to entice people back into the cities and into pubs, bars and restaurants.

A new and extended $100m voucher scheme will provide rebates to Victorians for entertainment, dining and travel with a $10m round of Melbourne Money to be delivered with the City of Melbourne to reimburse part of a bill.

The scheme will be extended across the state, with a new $30m program providing rebates on food and wine experiences in regional areas and in suburbs beyond Melbourne’s borders.

Businesses will receive targeted support, with a $60m Ventilation Voucher Program to help small businesses purchase equipment and upgrades to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and improve customer confidence – with rebates of up to $5000 available as well as $500 vouchers.

Some $34.2m of Jobs Victoria funding will be used to place workers in over 1500 jobs across hospitality, warehousing and logistics, tourism and food processing. A further $5m will extend the Small Business Digital Adaptation Program, providing rebates of up to $1200 so businesses can access a range of digital tools.

The extension of the Business Recovery and Resilience Mentoring Program with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry will mean more small businesses will have access to coaching.

Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula said: “We’re encouraging Victorians to experience the best the state has to offer by going to see a show, having lunch with friends or visiting somewhere new.

“Business and consumer confidence is critical for our continued economic recovery and that’s why we’re investing in these programs to deliver a boost where it is needed most.”

In addition to financial support public health rules for Victorians are being eased, with capacity limits now gone and indoor dancefloors re-opened.

Most exciting for city-based venues is the recommendation for Victorians to work or study at home will be removed at 11.59pm on Friday 25 February, and masks will not be required in offices in a further attempt to encourage people back into the city.

Masks will only be required indoors in the following circumstances, unless an exemption applies:

  • People on public transport, in taxis and rideshare, on planes, and indoors at an airport
  • People working or visiting hospitals, and indoor areas at care facilities
  • Workers in hospitality, retail and the court system
  • Workers at justice and correctional facilities
  • Students in year three or above at primary school, and workers at early childhood centres and primary schools (masks can be removed in secondary school)
  • People working indoors at an event with more than 30,000 people attending
  • In special circumstances, such as if you have COVID-19 or are a close contact and you’re leaving home
  • Masks are recommended for other workers serving or facing members of the public, such as if you are at reception, meeting guests or serving customers.

Minister for Health Martin Foley, said: “Victorians have done such a great job getting vaccinated, so we’re able to take safe steps to get more people to return to the office.

“We’re balancing the need to support our health system with the benefits of easing restrictions in a careful and sensible way.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of TheShout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both TheShout and Bars and Clubs.

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