COVID-19 Update

COVID-19 information about travel restrictions, industry resources, funding support and safe business operations.

Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) is focused on doing everything we can to provide practical support and information around COVID-19 to our tourism industry. We also encourage you to stay across our Visit Sunshine Coast Corporate Facebook page and weekly newsletters. Tourism is crucial to the social and economic recovery of the region and travellers can give Sunshine Coast businesses and communities the boost they need by visiting and spending locally.

COVID-19 travel information

On Tuesday 9 November, Queensland’s Public Health Measures linked to vaccination status – a plan for 80% and beyond was released.

The plan outlines a range of measures that will see life return to normal for vaccinated Queenslanders once the state reaches 80% fully dosed.

Read more about the plan – including restrictions for unvaccinated people and detailed frequently asked questions.

The Queensland’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan was released on Monday 18 October 2021.

The plan details changes to domestic and international travel to Queensland when 70%, 80% and then 90% of Queensland’s eligible population is fully vaccinated. View the Plan here.

Operating your business safely

COVID-19 Public Health Directions are in place in Queensland. Further to this, the official Public Health Direction provides further detail for businesses.

Funding support

The Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport has distributed a comprehensive newsletter outlining the financial support available for tourism businesses, as well as a one-page summary of all the Government Grants available for the tourism industry here.

Some financial grants and support available for tourism businesses and workers include:

  • 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants
    The Commonwealth and Queensland Governments have reached a 50/50 funding agreement that will see the value of the Queensland COVID-19 Business Support Grants rise from $260 million to $600 million. As part of the package additional support for businesses that have had a decline in turnover of more than 30 per cent will include:
  • – A $1,000 one-off grant to non-employing sole traders across Queensland

Tiered payments based on payroll size for all businesses across Queensland:

  • $5,000 one-off, top-up grant to small business with payroll of less than $1.3 million
  • $10,000 one-off, top-up grant to medium sized business with payroll between $1.3 million and $10 million
  • $25,000 one-off, top-up grant to large sized tourism and hospitality focused businesses with payroll of greater than $10 million.

This funding is in addition to the State Government’s $5,000 2021 COVID-19 Business Support grants, which opened on 16 August.

  • Tourism and Hospitality Sector Hardship Program
    • A $40 million Tourism and Hospitality Sector Hardship Program is available for tourism and hospitality businesses offering one-off grants of $15,000, $25,000 or $50,000 for small, medium and large employing businesses that have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70% for at least seven consecutive days between 1 July and 30 September 2021.
    • Eligible businesses include zoos, aquariums and wildlife parks, theme parks and water parks, various types of tour operations including marine tourism, and adventure activities such as go-karting, accommodation providers, cafes and restaurants, travel agents and more.
    • Businesses that have already accessed other Queensland Government COVID-19 grant payments, such as the Business Support Grant, can access the Hardship Program providing they meet the eligibility criteria.
    • Applications will open in October 2021 for a twelve-week period.

Find out more here: https://www.dtis.qld.gov.au/our-work/tourism-hospitality-sector-hardship-program

  • Tourism and hospitality sector COVID-19 lockdown support package
    There is a range of fee and payroll tax relief measures to provide immediate support for tourism and hospitality businesses impacted by the recent lockdowns in South East Queensland and in other states. The package includes:
    • a six-month deferral of payroll tax payments for eligible tourism and hospitality businesses across the state impacted by current lockdowns.
    • deferring, waiving or refunding a range of fees and charges for eligible tourism and hospitality businesses including 12-month fee waivers for tourism businesses operating in a national park, conservation park, recreation area or state forest (this includes whale watching operations);
    • liquor licensing fee waivers and refunds;
    • 12-month deferral of state lease fees for eligible tourism operators for the period between 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022;
    • 12-month fee waivers or refunds of inbound tour operator fees. This support is available for fee renewals up to 30 June 2022;
    • another round of the COVID-19 Marine Tourism Rebate in for the 2021-22 financial year to offset berthing fees for marine tourism vessels at privately owned or privately operated marinas in eligible Local Government Areas and
    • Queensland COVID-19 cleaning rebate.

More information is available on the Business Queensland website.

  • COVID-19 Disaster Payment

    The Australian Government has announced extra support for people affected by Queensland COVID-19 hotspots and restrictions. Eligible workers will receive $750 per week if they lose 20 hours or more of work, while those that lose between 8 and less than 20 hours, or a full day of work, will receive a payment of $450 per week. More information will be made available soon for Queensland workers through the Services Australia webpage.
  • Tourism Business Financial Counsellors
    Businesses can also contact one of the Queensland Government-funded Tourism Business Financial Counsellors or COVID-19 Small Business Counsellors who can assist with identifying potential sources of funding and business support. The counsellors provide free confidential assistance to businesses with understanding their finances, accessing government assistance, dealing with debt and referrals for additional support. To find your region’s local Financial Counsellor please visit: Southern Queensland
  • Assistance finder tool
    You can use the Queensland Government Business Assistance Finder tool to understand the other support that may be available to your business. Answer a series of questions about your business size and type to view the relevant business support packages available and applicable to you.

Resources

The Queensland government is regularly updating advice for businesses regarding COVID safe practices – please check the following website for latest information:
https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19

This helpful fact sheet helps you understand what you are (and are not) required to do as a tourism or events business at the front-line.

NewAccess for Small Business Owners is a free and confidential mental health coaching program, developed by Beyond Blue to give small business owners, including sole traders the support they need. The program is free and confidential, learn more here.

Contact for assistance

If you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch with our VSC Industry and Membership Development Manager Andrew Fairbairn via email andrew.fairbairn@visitsunshinecoast.com or call 0427 562 100.

In addition, if you need help understanding what the Public Health Directions mean for your business, you can contact the Tourism Response Team – ph. 134 268 or via email: tourismresponse@dtis.qld.gov.au