30 March 2020

Creative Victoria is monitoring the rapidly changing situation with regard to coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria and its impacts on the creative industries and will continue to share information and updates as they come to hand.

The following information is correct as of 30 March 2020. For the latest information, visit  Victorian Government's coronavirus website.

State of Emergency

A State of Emergency lasting four weeks has been declared in Victoria, from midday Monday 16 March, to combat COVID-19. This is to help enforce the various measures in place by government to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 and give our health system the best chance of managing the virus.

Ban on organised events, public gatherings and restriction of non-essential activities

Victoria implemented a shutdown of all non-essential activity across the state on 23 March (stage 1). These restrictions were expanded from 25 March (stage 2) and again from 11.59pm on 30 March (stage 3).

In the creative industries, this includes – but is not limited to – closures of entertainment venues, theatres, cinemas, galleries, museums, licensed venues and libraries.

Organised events (outdoor and indoor) continue to be banned and public gatherings are now restricted to no more than two people, except for members of your immediate household and for work or education.

Fines and penalties apply if these directions are breached.

The Premier has advised Victorians that there are only four reasons to leave your home: food and supplies, medical care, exercise, and work or education. Where people can stay at home, they must stay at home.

A list of businesses defined as non-essential, as at midnight 25 March, can be found on the Victorian Government’s coronavirus website. Read the Premier’s media release regarding stage 3.

If you are unsure or have any questions about your business’s ability to open you can contact the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15.

Physical distancing

The current key message for Victorians being to stay at home and avoid all gatherings of people. If you are with other people, you must observe the rule of 1 person for every 4 square metres to ensure a safe physical distance.

Victorian and Federal Government Economic Support

State and federal governments have announced significant support packages in response to the economic impact of COVID-19.

The Australian Government has announced various economic support initiatives totalling $320 billion to help support Australian businesses and workers. These include:

  • Income support for individuals – including the temporary expansion of eligibility to income support payments and a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement.
  • Assistance for businesses, including creative and cultural businesses and not for profit organisations, to keep people employed.
  • Regulatory protection and financial support for businesses.

You can read more about the Australian Government support here.

In Victoria, the Premier announced a $1.7 billion economic survival and jobs package. This includes:

  • A $500 million Business Support Fund to support the hardest hit sectors, including arts and entertainment, along with hospitality, tourism and retail – applications are now open.
  • A $500 million Working for Victoria Fund that will help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities and facilitate job matching to help Victorians find short-term or casual roles.

The Victorian Government also flagged that this package would be the first of many announcements to come to further support to help Victorian businesses survive and keep people in work.

Enforced quarantine following overseas travel

From 11.59pm on Saturday 28 March, all travellers returning from overseas to Victoria will be placed in enforced quarantine for a self-isolation period of 14-days to slow the spread of COVID-19. More information can be found in the Premier’s media release.

Overseas and domestic travel

On 24 March the Prime Minister announced a ban on all overseas travel, with few exceptions. Australians must also avoid all non-essential domestic travel.

For Australians who are already overseas and wish to return, it is recommended that they do so as soon as possible.

For the latest travel advice, visit Smart Traveller.

Temporary closure of Victoria’s state-owned cultural institutions

Victoria’s state-owned cultural institutions have announced the announced temporary closures of their venues from Monday 16 March and the cancellation of programs and events in response to COVID-19.

Arts Centre Melbourne, Museums Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, State Library Victoria, Melbourne Recital Centre and Geelong Arts Centre have all announced temporary closures as a precautionary measure to help slow the transmission of the virus in Victoria and help protect Victorians.

More detail on the closures and these impacted venues.

A large number of other creative and cultural venues, festivals and organisations have also announced temporary closures, event cancellations and program changes.

Reducing exposure, physical distancing and staying healthy:

The latest advice from government is that Victorians should be limiting their day-to-day activities outside their homes. You can take the following steps to reduce your exposure and chances of getting ill with COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly.
  • Stay home if you are sick and don’t expose others. If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, do not go outside your property or home, do not go to work, school or shops unless it is essential.
  • Get vaccinated for flu (influenza) when available in April. It is not yet known whether COVID-19 could significantly increase the risks of influenza infection.
  • Ensure you have enough supply of any medications being taken by you or your family.
  • Stop shaking hands or kissing as a greeting.
  • Avoid crowds if possible. If not, keep the time short.
  • Where possible, consider home delivery and take-aways.
  • To minimise contact, and where possible, use debit and credit cards instead of cash and make use of online and self-serve transactions (for example, Myki top ups).
  • Use public transport in less busy periods if you can, or avoid it altogether if you are vulnerable.
  • Sit in the back of taxis and ride shares
  • Consider whether future travel plans are sensible and necessary.

In addition to the above, the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website also contains transmission reduction tips for organisations, workplaces and employers and information on caring for sick family members.

The Australian Government’s physical distancing fact sheet contains information what physical distancing means in the workplace, in public, at home or in schools.

Advice for Creative Victoria funding recipients and applicants

We understand that many plans have been impacted by COVID-19 and this is an anxious and uncertain time. We are being as flexible as possible with our grant recipients - both with grant variations and reporting. Please get in touch to discuss.

Please call your Creative Victoria program manager if your funded activity or funding application is impacted by COVID-19 and the public health measures in place, or you have any concerns.

Due to changing circumstances, there may be changes to some of our funding programs. Visit our grants pages for details, or keep informed by subscribing to Creative Victoria eNews.

Further information and resources

  • Do your best to stay informed and use information from reputable sources, for example the coronavirus section of the Department of Health and Human Services website - https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
  • Find out about your workplace entitlements and obligations on the Fair Work website if you're affected by the coronavirus disease.
  • The Australian Government is offering support to Australian businesses affected by COVID-19, regardless of whether you are a sole trader or employ staff, find out what support is available to you via https://www.business.gov.au/coronavirus
  • Businesses can get information on dealing with COVID-19, and available support, via the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 or at business.vic.gov.au.
  • If you haven’t already you should review your business continuity plans in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. There is now a national emergency response policy document that takes precedence over any existing plans so you should review your plans against this: Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan For Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)