New Omicron support payment scheme

22 February 2022
Development West Coast
Development West Coast welcomes the announcement from Government of financial support for businesses during the Omicron outbreak.

Development West Coast Chief Executive Heath Milne says it may buy some time for businesses who have been pushed to the brink by COVID restrictions.

The new Covid support payment will provide eligible businesses with fortnightly payments for six weeks of $4,000 and $400 per full-time equivalent employee, up to 50 employees or a cap of $24,000.

Applications open on February 28, with payments starting from March 1.

To be eligible for the support, businesses must show a 40 percent drop in revenue in seven consecutive days, within the six weeks prior to the shift to Phase 2 of the Omicron response on February 15, compared to seven days after that date.

Mr Milne hopes these rules won’t exclude businesses whose revenue is already down due to the cumulative effects of Covid-related restrictions.

“Businesses have endured two years of the pandemic, with many in our tourism and hospitality industry experiencing decimated revenues through no fault of their own. It’s crucial that they can access support and get through this next phase.”

The Small Business Cashflow Loans Scheme is also being extended, allowing firms that had already accessed it an extra $10,000. It will have a new repayment period of five years, with the first two years being interest free.

Businesses struggling to pay tax because of the impacts of COVID-19 can also contact Inland Revenue to check if they can delay starting payments to a later date, or if any part of the tax could be written off.

"We encourage Coast businesses to look into the available support and utilise what they are entitled to," Mr Milne says.

“The Omicron package is welcomed, but long-term government support is not the answer. Businesses don’t want handouts - they want to be able to stand on their own two feet.

“We need international borders to reopen and the removal of self-isolation requirements as soon as possible. Businesses also need ready access to rapid antigen tests to enable them to operate safely.”