There's a lot of information out there on how to help businesses closing in crisis - but what's the first thing you should do?
Commerce Ballarat has put together a host of resources on its website, free for anyone - including non-members - to access.
Among these resources are free online question and answer sessions with experts, including accountants, HR officers, lawyers, and counsellors.
There's also a resource exchange page for businesses with excess materiel or manpower to get in touch with others who need more.
On Wednesday, a special session on recognising the signs of family violence will be held.
The situation is ever-changing, as governments announce more supports and restrictions, so it's important to stay as up-to-date as possible.
The Courier caught up with one of the experts, Ballarat's Thomas Elford from PPT Accounting, to get some straightforward answers to the questions businesses are asking.
My business is being affected by the crisis and it's looking likely that I'll have to close down - what is the first thing I should do?
"Many businesses are affected, so you are not alone. Federal and State Governments have announced a range of stimulus measures to support businesses through this challenging time.
"We recommend you contact your accountant to find out measures you are eligible for.
"We would also suggest you prepare a budget and cash flow forecast for the next 30 to 60 days.
"This will help you identify any potential shortfalls and devise a plan of attack. It will also help inform decisions around staffing and payments the ATO, suppliers, landlord and bank.
"It's critical that you do this quickly and don't bury your head in the sand.
What help is currently available?
"There are plenty of good resources available online at the moment, including Commerce Ballarat's website and our own PPT website. We're also providing regular information to subscribers via our newsletter. The Federal Government also has a comprehensive summary of support available to small businesses on their website.
"From a financial perspective, there are several support measures available. The most significant of these was announced this week, the JobKeeper payment, which will help businesses who have experienced a decline of 30 per cent or more in revenue with wage payments to keep staff employed.
"Other significant measures include pay-as-you-go (PAYG) wages and withholding tax payments, and an increase in the instant asset write-off threshold to $150,000.
How do I pay the rent during this crisis?
"If your business is not able to pay rent during the crisis, get on the front foot and talk to your landlord straight away. We have already heard positive stories from accommodating landlords.
"The Federal Government announced changes so landlords cannot evict tenants based on payment defaults, but it's important to remember that we're all in this together and that your landlord will have bills too. So be upfront and come to a mutual agreement that benefits you both over the long term.
What do I tell my workers, and what options have I got to retain staff and make sure they're looked after?
"This is a very stressful period for employees and business owners. Owners are faced with a situation beyond their control and many staff face an uncertain future. That said, be upfront and open.
"Firstly, and if you are still open, stress the importance of their health and wellbeing. Practice social distancing, maintain good personal hygiene and ensure they monitor their health.
"We also encourage your business to get good quality HR advice before making a decision on staffing. Even though this is an unprecedented event, you need to do things lawfully.
"Finally, you should register your business for the Federal Government's JobKeeper payment, which will provide up to $1500 a fortnight per employee. The payment must be passed onto the employee in full.
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I run a chain store and the higher-ups have decided we have to close - what can I do here in Ballarat?
"This is a tricky question. It will come down to your agreement with the franchiser or head office.
"After clarifying the detail, we would encourage you to speak with your legal advisor about what you can and can't do.
"Regardless, act quickly and talk with your suppliers, landlord and bank about the likely impact it will have on your cashflow and payments.
"Also, speak with your accountant and work out what payments you are likely to receive from the Federal and State Governments.
How do I apply for help from the federal or state governments, or the City of Ballarat?
"For the most part, your accountant will be able to assist with payments from the Federal Government.
"However, you can apply to the State Government directly for some grants.
"At this stage, we're not aware of any grants or payments from the City of Ballarat
Should I prioritise phoning my real estate agent/landlord/accountant/lawyer/financial adviser?
"Speak with your accountant first so you can work out what payments you are likely to receive.
"Then after you have prepared a cash flow and budget speak with your other suppliers and creditors as needed.
Is there any other advice you would recommend?
"Seek help from your support network as much as you can. Your physical and mental health is critical during this period. The health crisis won't last forever, so try to stay positive.
"If you have more time on your hands due to closure or reduced clientele, use it as an opportunity to work on your COVID-19 recovery plan.
"Remember, many of the world's biggest businesses were born during times of crisis!"
If you have more questions or concerns, Commerce Ballarat, the Committee for Ballarat, and the City of Ballarat all have resources available to help, or ask us below and we'll forward it on.
For more information on COVID-19, visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/novelcoronavirus or phone the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 for advice if you are displaying symptoms.
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