Australia Relief for Perth businesses announced after lockdown
Businesses face repaying Covid support payments
Covid financial support may have to be returned if businesses make a profit, the States says.The payroll co-funding scheme was reintroduced on Tuesday by the States, but now means support can be claimed back at the end of the year.
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has announced a financial relief measure as businesses struggle to emerge from the state's brieflockdown.
The locked-down areas of WA are set to emerge from lockdown at 6pm local time, after a quarantine hotel worker was diagnosed with the virus last weekend.
"Like many Western Australians, I am so relieved we have got to this point, and we can get our businesses and the economy operating," Mr McGowan said.
COVID lockdown rules in place for the next five days in Perth, Peel and the South West of WA
Western Australia's Perth, Peel and South West regions will enter a five-day lockdown beginning at 6pm Sunday night. Here's what you need to know.It's going to result in a major change for the way people in these areas live their lives.
"I know this week and I know many of you may be hurting. It was very important that we gave ourselves enough time to know we didn't have any new cases."
As a measure of relief for affected small businesses and charities, Mr McGowan announced the government would offer a $500 offset on electricity bills, expected to be available to 85,000 Synergy and Horizon customers.
The premier estimated the offset would provide two months of bill relief.
For small businesses and charities that have their electricity paid by lessors, there will be an application process put in place in the coming weeks to see if they are also eligible for the $500 relief measure.
Claims hotel quarantine security guards in WA are foreign students
An insider has blasted Western Australia's hotel quarantine system and accused security companies of hiring and exploiting foreign students. The source claimed guards were paid minimum wage in cash and off the books so they could work double the 20 hours allowed under their visa arrangements. It was also alleged that hotel security guards were sharing IDs so they could get away with working a second job such as driving for Uber. The insider told The West the security services in the state were run by a 'bunch of cowboys'.
"I know this won't cover the cost of a lockdown. As always, the state government will continue to monitor the impact on businesses," he said.
WA recorded no new cases overnight, with one new case in quarantine.
Restrictions will remain for Western Australians in recently locked-down areas, including mandatory masks and capacities for premises.
Western Australia has also successfully lobbied to extend its returnees cap of 512 Australians per week until the end of February, while other jurisdictions will increase their limits from February 15.
"This will give us that extra time to ensure our hotel quarantine systems are as strong as they can be, especially when dealing with these new, highly contagious, variant strains," Mr McGowan said.
This is Perth in lockdown, as coronavirus restrictions force people to stay at home and masks become mandatory
Perth's normally bustling streets are transformed into sparsely populated wastelands as the five-day COVID-19 lockdown gets underway, with cafes and shopping centres deserted and parents juggling work and child care.A single passenger waits for a train at peak hour in the city's almost empty train station.
Video: Disaster recovery payments announced for people impacted (ABC NEWS)
He thanked Western Australians for their hard work in complying with lockdown arrangements.
"Thank you to each and every Western Australian," he said.
"The sacrifices made this week, the commitment by everyone to do the right thing, has been incredible. It has shown, once again, that Western Australians have risen to the challenge and got the job done."
What will change from 6pm
Perth and Peel will enter into a post-lockdown transition period until Sunday, February 14.
The post-lockdown transition plan for Perth and Peel - which comes into effect at 6pm today - includes:
• Wearing a mask in public and at work, unless you are partaking in vigorous outdoor exercise or remain exempt.
• Reopening of all businesses, except for casinos and nightclubs.
• A four-square-metre capacity rule will be in place for businesses and venues, with a maximum capacity of 150.
•A 150-person capacity limit will be in place at all events including weddings, funerals and community sport.
• Hospitality services will have seated service only.
• Dancing will only be allowed at weddings and dance studios.
• Private indoor and outdoor gatherings will be restricted to 20 people.
• Visits to aged care and disability care facilities will only be permitted on compassionate grounds.
• Residential school and boarding facilities can resume with a COVID-Safe Plan.
• Only essential travel will be permitted both in and out of the Perth and Peel regions to other parts of WA.
Schools will also resume in Perth and Peel from Monday.
The South West region does not have a transitional plan and will return straight to pre-lockdown conditions.
What’s driving the recent COVID lockdown protests? .
Financial hardship and uncertainty over the COVID pandemic fuelling anti-lockdown demonstrations, experts say.With vaccination campaigns under way across dozens of countries, several governments have reintroduced or extended harsh restrictions on travel, businesses and much of public life to contain the virus.