The global coronavirus pandemic is causing unprecedented and wide-reaching challenges for Victoria’s creative and cultural sector. We have gathered the following information in response to pressing questions about the current situation.
We will continue to update this page as new information and questions are received. If you have a question that isn’t covered here, please contact us.
The following information is correct as at 24 May 2020.
Gradual easing of restrictions in Victoria
From 1 June 2020, galleries, museums, national institutions and historic sites can open with up to 20 customers allowed per separate space. Physical distancing requirements of one person per four square metres must be applied.
From 22 June 2020, up to 50 visitors are allowed per separate space, again ensuring that density requirements of one person per four square metres are applied.
All eased restrictions and the proposed dates are subject to the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer and the continued and effective management of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
For enclosed spaces where people sit for extended periods of time, like theatres, concert venues and cinemas, there is a greater risk of transmission of the virus. These risks are further increased if there is poor ventilation.
The advice of the Chief Health Officer is that the intention is for these venues to open on 22 June, with 50 customers, after more time has passed to monitor the spread of the virus.
When they open, they will need to ensure that customers who are not from the same household sit 1.5 metres apart and that measures are put in place to manage common areas like lobbies and toilet facilities.
Limits will be placed on entry to ensure compliance with the density requirements of one person per four square metres. Increased hygiene measures will also be required.
Creative Victoria is developing tailored guidelines for museums, galleries, libraries, performance and other cultural venues outlining the actions to be taken to ensure the safety of visitors, as well as staff, volunteers and other workers.
These are being finalised in close consultation with sector bodies, the Victorian Chief Health Officer and other relevant authorities, and will be made available as soon as possible.
Attendees have a role to play in practicing physical distancing of 1.5 metres, good hand hygiene, and staying home if we feel unwell.
You can continue to live-stream performances, without a live audience, at your venue.
You need to ensure the performers and technicians involved maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres whenever possible.
Yes. Operators are required to keep records of all people (staff, customers, maintenance and delivery workers) who stay for more than 15 minutes.
Restaurants or cafes within these facilities must adhere to the restrictions specific to them.
Further advice on how this will be managed based on the needs of specific businesses will be included in future guidance.
Further information about the current restriction levels and next steps can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services website.
Public health measures
A State of Emergency has been declared in Victoria from 16 March to 31 May 2020, and there are a number of bans and restrictions in place in relation to non-essential activities, public and private gatherings and travel. As this is a dynamic and fast-moving situation, the best source of reliable, up to date information regarding current measures, restrictions and health advice is www.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.
We will continue to provide a summary of key points for the creative industries.
Funding and support
Government support programs available to the creative sector.
Creative Victoria has launched a new Sustaining Creative Workers initiative to assist independent creative practitioners, as well as collectives and micro-organisations and businesses, who have been impacted as a result of coronavirus. This is focused on those with five or more years of professional experience.
The Australia Council for the Arts has also introduced a 2020 Resilience Fund.
There is a range of new income support measures available through Centrelink, you can find more information on the Treasury website. ArtsHub has also published a guide to navigating Centrelink as a sole trader.
The Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria Fund is designed to help workers who have lost their jobs as the result of coronavirus find new short term or casual opportunities. In addition to job placements, the fund can also assist with skills development or help people in obtaining immediate accreditation to commence work.
For anyone in mandatory self-isolation with no access to food or essential supplies, the Victorian Government is also providing emergency relief packages. These can be accessed by calling Victoria’s dedicated coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. The hotline can also refer people to other support services if needed.
The Commonwealth Government and the Victorian Government have announced economic support packages for businesses impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) including not for profits and sole traders. Business Victoria (13 22 15 or business.vic.gov.au) is the best source for advice and assistance on how to access these.
The Australia Council for the Arts has also introduced a 2020 Resilience Fund.
Creative Victoria is open to assist you, with staff working remotely. Creative Victoria has a Business Continuity Plan in place to ensure that we can continue to support and communicate with the sector through this situation, deliver programs, and make payments.
The Victorian Government has announced of a total of $49.1 million of dedicated funding to help the state’s creative sector through this crisis.
- $26.3 million for Victoria’s iconic state-owned arts and cultural institutions – including NGV, Arts Centre Melbourne, Museums Victoria, Geelong Arts Centre and Melbourne Recital Centre.
- $13 million for almost 100 non-government arts and cultural organisations state-wide.
- $4.2 million in quick response grants for independent creatives and micro-businesses through the new Sustaining Creative Workers initiative.
- $4 million for a Music Industry Support Package, including support for new work, training, and professional and business development.
- $1.6 million in grants through Creative Victoria’s programs focusing on activities that can be undertaken in the current climate, such as the research and development of new creative works, professional development activities and new ways of reaching audiences.
This urgent and immediate support will help maintain creative jobs and activity, help individuals, organisations and businesses to regenerate income, develop new work and provide new opportunities for creative community participation during the current shutdown and beyond.
This targeted funding complements broader Victorian Government economic measures, including the $500 million Business Support Fund which is providing vital support to impacted businesses, including in the creative industries; and the Working for Victoria scheme which is helping those who are out of work to secure alternative employment during this time.
Creative Victoria’s regular funding programs have continued with some modifications as required in the circumstances, especially in relation to support for international travel.
We note that some projects may need to change given the current public health measures. We will accept changes to deliverables, KPIs and delivery platforms. Please contact program staff to discuss your project.
We has also introduced new support programs, including the Sustaining Creative Workers initiative, a quick response grants program to support independent creative practitioners, sole traders, freelancers and creative micro organisations/businesses that have been negatively impacted by coronavirus. See the webpage for more details and program staff are available to answer any questions you have.
Visit our grants and support page for current opportunities.
The Sustaining Creative Workers initiative is now open. The next rounds of our other programs will be announced in due course.
Organisations funded through the Organisations Investment, Regional Partnerships and Major Performing Arts programs will continue to receive their funding, regardless of any changes and disruptions to their activities. This funding is secure through to June 2021, December 2021 or June 2022 depending on the agreements. The funding agreements for organisations that receive operational funding as special initiatives will also be honoured.
Note: we will accept changes to deliverables, KPIs and delivery platforms. Please speak with your client manager about your needs.
Many of these organisations will also receive additional support through the $13 million Strategic Investment Fund to help stabilise and continue their operations, provide opportunities for local artists, deliver programs for their communities and develop creative work over the next six months.
Given these extraordinary circumstances we will be as flexible as possible with reporting and acquittals, please contact program staff to discuss your needs.
For organisations that receive funding through the Organisations Investment Program, outcomes reporting for 2020 has been suspended.
An automatic three-month extension has been applied to all current acquittals where a project is now complete.
The world has changed dramatically, and rapidly, since we undertook consultation last year for Victoria’s next creative industries strategy. Right now, we are focused on assessing the impacts of coronavirus and ensuring that Victorian creative institutions, organisations, events and individuals are supported.
The Creative State strategy will be reconsidered in light of the impacts of the current crisis.
Legal and business support
When planning an event, exercise caution in any financial obligations. For example, be aware of cancellation fees and insurances. Business Victoria can assist businesses in developing contingency plans and accessing advice about the implications of changes or cancellations.
It is best to contact your insurance provider or legal adviser to discuss what compensation you may be eligible for.
Business Victoria can assist businesses in developing contingency plans and accessing advice about the implications of changes or cancellations. Call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 or visit the website at business.vic.gov.au.
Information on current restrictions is available on the Victorian Government's coronavirus website.
If you are unsure or have any questions about your business’s ability to open or operate you can contact the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15 or by using the Business Victoria Contact us form.
For all businesses not subject to restricted trading or business activity, ensure that you follow the Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) guidance to reduce the risk of transmission visit the DHHS website and scroll to the heading ‘Actions for organisations, workplaces or employers’.
Business Victoria can also provide advice on how to best implement actions in the workplace, contact the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15.
We are unable to provide this advice at this stage. On 11 May, the Victorian Government announced that the current State of Emergency has been extended until 11:59pm, Sunday 31 May and that restrictions will gradually be eased – while continuing to ensure the safety of our state.
Visit the Victorian Government’s website for the latest information on these measures.
If your business or activities have been affected, call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 for the latest information about the support available for impacted businesses through the state and national business stimulus and support packages, or visit business.vic.gov.au.
Business Victoria and its dedicated coronavirus hotline caters for all businesses, including not-for-profits and those planning to start a business or apply for an ABN. This includes creative businesses and individual sole traders. The hotline number is 13 22 15. Business Victoria’s information is also available online at business.vic.gov.au.