Covid New South Wales: Sydney businesses given $15,000 lifeline as lockdown drags on

Sydney’s devastating Covid outbreak surged by 105 more cases overnight as small businesses impacted by lockdown were granted a $15,000 lifeline and residents in virus hotspots told to ‘stay home and pray’ rather than attend a religious festival. 

Of the new cases, 27 were in the community while infectious and 76 are from the three southwest Sydney local government areas subject to tighter restrictions, which were introduced on Saturday to stem the spread of the Delta variant. 

It comes as a woman in her 90s from southeast Sydney tragically died after contracting the virus.  

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and chief health officer Kerry Chant have again called on Sydneysiders to remain compliant with the tough new restrictions to give the state the best chance at reopening on July 30.

There are significant concerns that there may be a temptation to break the rules on Tuesday as Eid – a religious festival celebrated globally by Muslims – gets underway. 

Dr Chant was clear in her instructions on Sunday, stating that no exceptions would be made for the religious event, and that all celebrations and prayers must take place inside the family home with no visitors.  

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging people to stay home unless absolutely necessary

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging people to stay home unless absolutely necessary

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging people to stay home unless absolutely necessary

New South Wales has recorded 105 cases of Covid overnight, with 27 out in the community for their entire infectious period

New South Wales has recorded 105 cases of Covid overnight, with 27 out in the community for their entire infectious period

New South Wales has recorded 105 cases of Covid overnight, with 27 out in the community for their entire infectious period

With 69 of the new cases coming from Fairfield alone and the majority of cases still transmitting among large family groups and household contacts, authorities hold significant concerns about any potential celebrations.  

‘This is a very special time for many in our community,’ Dr Chant said, before adding all prayers must only be performed inside the home. 

‘Do not have any visitors, including family members. And do not visit others.’ 

Ms Berejiklian introduced particularly tough restrictions on residents in the LGAs of Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury on Saturday. 

In an attempt to ease the financial burden of lockdown on small businesses, Ms Berejiklian also announced a relief package totalling $4billion. 

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said businesses could start applying for the tax-free grants of between $7,500 and $15,000 from Monday.

‘There are a range of initiatives available to help small businesses with cashflow, rent costs, electricity and the like,’ he said. 

The applications will be available on Service NSW and are expected to be processed within five days, but Mr Perrottet warned there could be delays on Monday as people rush to see if they qualify. 

Chief health officer Kerry Chant said cases are cropping up all over metropolitan Sydney and urged the public to consider that 'any time they leave the house, they could be coming into contact with Covid'

Chief health officer Kerry Chant said cases are cropping up all over metropolitan Sydney and urged the public to consider that 'any time they leave the house, they could be coming into contact with Covid'

Chief health officer Kerry Chant said cases are cropping up all over metropolitan Sydney and urged the public to consider that ‘any time they leave the house, they could be coming into contact with Covid’

‘If you contact Service NSW, you will be able to obtain what support packages are available to you. Please access that grant program.’ 

The grant will be available to NSW businesses that make more than $75,000 and up to $50 million, and have a total annual wages bill of below $10 million.  

On Sunday, Ms Berejiklian revealed that announcing the harsh restrictions on the LGAs was ‘the most difficult day’ she’s had in her role as premier.

‘Yesterday was a very, very difficult day for everybody, for everybody. And I am not embarrassed to say that in public life, yesterday was probably the most difficult day I’ve had,’ she said.

But she felt it was the only way to keep people safe and reduce the risk of transmission after the data proved they’re ‘still not managing to get the curve of transmission to come down’.

Sydneysiders are free to exercise within a 10km radius of their homes during lockdown

Sydneysiders are free to exercise within a 10km radius of their homes during lockdown

Sydneysiders are free to exercise within a 10km radius of their homes during lockdown

The 810,000 people living in those regions were initially told they cannot leave their suburbs even for work unless they’re employed in healthcare, aged care or emergency services until at least July 30. 

Any essential employees who are permitted to leave their suburbs for work are subject to the same restrictions previously in place, namely receiving a negative Covid test every three days. 

‘I can’t remember a time when our state has been challenged to such an extent,’ Ms Berejiklian said. 

‘Not a single one of these decisions was taken lightly.’

The announcement sparked frenzied calls to authorities and confusion over other industries which have otherwise been deemed essential.

In response, Ms Berejiklian’s team amended the criteria late on Saturday night, extending the parameters to include people working at garden centres, bottle shops and factories.

Expert modelling predicts Sydney could be stuck in lockdown for months longer than expected because only 40 per cent of residents are actually staying home

Expert modelling predicts Sydney could be stuck in lockdown for months longer than expected because only 40 per cent of residents are actually staying home

Expert modelling predicts Sydney could be stuck in lockdown for months longer than expected because only 40 per cent of residents are actually staying home

What is the $15,000 relief package?

In an attempt to ease the financial burden of lockdown on small businesses, Ms Berejiklian has announced a relief package of $15,000. 

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said businesses could start applying for the tax-free grants of between $7,500 and $15,000 from Monday, 

‘There are a range of initiatives available to help small businesses with cashflow, rent costs, electricity and the like,’ he said. 

The applications will be available on Service NSW and are expected to be processed within five days, but Mr Perrottet warned there could be delays on Monday as people rush to see if they qualify. 

‘If you contact ServiceNSW, you will be able to obtain what support packages are available to you. Please access that grant program.’  

Mr Perrottet said over $4 billion had been directed by the NSW Government to where it is needed most to help families and businesses during this difficult time.

‘From the outset of the pandemic we’ve always said we would do whatever was necessary to protect people and jobs and this suite of measures will do exactly that,’ he said.

‘These programs will provide timely and targeted support for businesses to help them with much needed cash flow, maintain employees and provide relief for business expenses, for which no other government support is available.

The 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant will be available to NSW businesses that have a turnover of more than $75,000 and up to $50 million, and have a total annual wages bill of below $10 million.

Businesses can expect to start receiving funds from the Business Support Grant from the end of July.

Eligible businesses for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant will receive:

• $15,000 for a decline in turnover of 70 per cent, or more;

• $10,500 for a decline in turnover of 50 per cent, or more;

• $7,500 for a decline in turnover of 30 per cent, or more

Eligible businesses with a turnover from $75,000 and up to $50 million who keep all their staff on the books will also be entitled to tax-free fortnightly payments of 40 per cent of their weekly payroll.

A minimum payment of $1,500 per week will be paid fortnightly, with a maximum payment of $10,000 per week.   

Advertisement

Delivery drivers, and people who work at supermarkets, newsagents or are required to maintain utilities like gas, electricity, waste management or water are also permitted to leave their locked-down suburbs for work. 

There are still concerns about the lack of compliance with lockdown orders Sydney-wide as unprecedented numbers of stir-crazy residents congregate outdoors to exercise.

Dr Chant said cases are cropping up all over metropolitan Sydney and urged the public to consider that ‘any time they leave the house, they could be coming into contact with Covid’. 

When asked to confirm reports that upwards of 250 paramedics are in isolation after coming into contact with Covid-positive cases, Dr Chant acknowledged that ‘a number’ of them were infectious and potentially exposed others.

The exact number of paramedics that have been impacted is not yet clear, she said. 

With the most recent cases, Sydney’s current outbreak – which began on June 15 – has surpassed the amount of cases recorded during the first wave between March and May 2020. 

Construction sites in three LGAs in southwest Sydney have closed while the entire city is in lockdown

Construction sites in three LGAs in southwest Sydney have closed while the entire city is in lockdown

Construction sites in three LGAs in southwest Sydney have closed while the entire city is in lockdown

During that outbreak, the entire nation spent six weeks in lockdown and each state was then subjected to further restrictions.

Expert modelling predicts Sydney could be stuck in lockdown for months longer than expected because only 40 per cent of residents are actually staying home. 

The number of new daily cases last week appeared to peak on July 12 at 112, with cases hovering between 65 and 97 in the four days to follow.

But hopes were dashed on Saturday as the state recorded 111 new cases, followed by a second consecutive day of triple-digits with the 105 new cases on Sunday.

Pictured: Swimmers on Manly Beach on Sunday morning

Pictured: Swimmers on Manly Beach on Sunday morning

Pictured: Swimmers on Manly Beach on Sunday morning

Ms Berejiklian has repeatedly said numbers will continue to ‘bounce around’ as contact tracers work to stay on top of the virus’ spread.

Modelling predicts that if 80 per cent of Sydneysiders were compliant, case numbers of the Delta variant would already be in single figures.

But if compliance fell to 70 per cent, it would take until late September to control the outbreak.

Mikhail Prokopenko, director of the University of Sydney’s Centre for Complex Systems, said Sydney’s social distancing was woefully inadequate.

‘Our estimation shows that with only 40 per cent of people staying at home, that would be inadequate even for a less transmissible variant, and for Delta it doesn’t even scratch the surface,’ he told The Australian.

‘If that trend continues then the incidence numbers will not start reducing, they will keep growing and the lockdown will continue.’

Any essential employees who are permitted to leave their suburbs for work are subject to the same restrictions previously in place, namely receiving a negative Covid test every three days

Any essential employees who are permitted to leave their suburbs for work are subject to the same restrictions previously in place, namely receiving a negative Covid test every three days

Any essential employees who are permitted to leave their suburbs for work are subject to the same restrictions previously in place, namely receiving a negative Covid test every three days

Pictured: Sydneysiders waiting for their takeaway coffees in Woollahra on Sunday morning

Pictured: Sydneysiders waiting for their takeaway coffees in Woollahra on Sunday morning

Pictured: Sydneysiders waiting for their takeaway coffees in Woollahra on Sunday morning

Professor Prokopenko said it was vital people reduced the frequency of their grocery shopping each week as well as other activities such as exercising beyond an hour or catching up with friends.

These would have to drop to 10 per cent of normal activity of the city was to have a chance at getting out of lockdown soon.

He added he was bewildered by the repeated level of non-compliance with public health orders imposed by under-siege state governments.

‘Some people have a legitimate reason not to stay at home because they’re engaged in essential services,’ Professor Prokopenko said.

‘Maybe 30 per cent are doing essential services and maybe the other 30 per cent are simply not complying.’

Sydneysiders arrived at Manly Beach early on Sunday morning for a sunrise swim as their lockdown exercise

Sydneysiders arrived at Manly Beach early on Sunday morning for a sunrise swim as their lockdown exercise

Sydneysiders arrived at Manly Beach early on Sunday morning for a sunrise swim as their lockdown exercise

link

(Visited 43 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply