Fact Sheet

by Paul Gidley10.06.20

As states move into Stages One and Two (depending on state or territory) of isolation restrictions easing, and businesses reopening their doors, it’s important to note that this is still not business as it once was. There are still rules to follow and businesses should be prepared for a slow migration back into ‘business as normal’. While it is a welcome step away from complete isolation and lockdown, revenue rise will come incrementally for most and should be met with patience and consideration for the bigger picture. Moving too soon, and outside the recommended guidelines of each stage, could not only see you copping a fine, but also see a step back in this move forward if we don’t obey the rules. Here are the new isolation and distancing rules, and the rules that remain in place, to ensure your business aligns with effectively moving beyond COVID-19.

What rules are still in place? 

With states and territories working their way through the Three Stage recommendations for release of isolation and distancing regulations, businesses are being allowed to reopen doors and begin trade, but not without a relatively strict set of rules. These rules, while allowing a greater flow of revenue, will still affect otherwise projected annual turnover. These rules include:

Retail stores can reopen, with a COVID-19 safe plan that includes restrictions on how many people are in a store at any one time, based on the size of the premises.

Cafes and restaurants can have 10 then 20 (for stage one and two respectively), with distancing regulations of 4m x 4m per person in place and requirements for patrons to record their contact details and be restricted in time spent.

Hairdressers and barbers can open with COVID-19 safe plan and requirements for patrons to record their contact details.

These restrictions will have continued ramifications on revenue, and it’s important to enlist the help of professionals to understand the projected outcomes on your business based on the probability of financial strain and the position your business is in to withstand it.

Government help is still in place during this time so take advantage of it

Businesses are not being left without a liferaft through this pandemic, and there are a number of government schemes and subsidies, and extensions, available that can help get you through.

The JobKeeper initiative, that provides eligible employers subsidised salary assistance for employees at the amount of $1,500 before tax per fortnight per employee. Enrolment for JobKeeper applications have been extended to 31 May 2020.

There are also temporary changes to the insolvency and corporations legislation regarding payment and debt to creditors that give businesses some time to organise their finances during this time.

Can you still seek business rent waivers if you re-open? 

Yes. If you have met the requirements for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) scheme - notably, having a usual annual turnover of less than $50 million that has a current or projected turnover drop of 30% or more - you are still covered if you reopen trade. Although your doors may be allowed open, there is still the possibility of such a drop in revenue from the previous year. Although Step One (and the soon-to-be Stage Two for some states) implementation has meant the reopening of businesses, there are still caveats in place that restrict the ability to trade as normal.

If you are concerned about how to get through the COVID-19 regulations on business and trade, contact us today to discuss the position of your business and the best outcomes for this period, and the future.

Shaw Gidley are experts in restructuring, turnaround and insolvency and provide free initial advice on these matters. Please contact our offices on (02) 4908 4444 or (02) 6580 0400.