24 Apr Stakeholder Update. Sport, Recreation & Racing. 24 April 2020
As you are aware, the Premier has extended the State of Emergency in Victoria to 11 May 2020 with Stage Three restrictions on non-essential activities in place to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has updated the Stay at Home and Restricted Activity directions, providing further clarification for recreational facility operators and the wider public on what is prohibited under the Stage Three restrictions.
Under the latest directions, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities cannot operate between midnight 17 April and midnight 11 May 2020. Please read the Q&As below for more detail on how the directions apply to the sport and recreation sector and visit the DHHS website to read the full directions and FAQs.
The latest directions mean many Victorians can no longer participate in the sport or recreation activity of their choice. I acknowledge this has been a cause of frustration for some, however, it is paramount to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The figures show by staying home when it is not necessary to go out, we are all helping to save lives and protect our communities.
Victorians are overwhelmingly doing the right thing by staying at home, but we must keep at it to save lives.
That is why I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and efforts to encourage Victorians to stay at home.
While there continue to be some questions around how the latest restrictions apply to individual circumstances, we are asking you to take a common-sense approach to complying with the restrictions. The advice is clear, by staying at home you are saving lives. Stay local and stick to low risk and casual exercise, such as walking, running, cycling or yoga in a park.
It is vital that people’s exercise choices limit the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) between people and across communities. You should not be driving long-distances outside your neighbourhood in order to exercise. In the event of an accident or breakdown, you will be exposing yourself or emergency services and responders to unnecessary risk.
Based on this advice and the latest legal directions from the Chief Health Officer, you will need to make a decision on whether your organisation can safely and legally operate. We know for many of you, it will not be possible to operate in any capacity and I acknowledge the challenges this brings.
The Victorian Government has introduced a range of measures to assist organisations. This includes the new $500 million rental relief package announced by the Premier to support both residential and commercial tenants and landlords.
This builds on the commitment to provide rent relief to all tenants in Victorian Government venues. I am pleased to confirm this allows us to offer eligible sporting bodies with immediate rent relief.
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to contact Business Victoria to find out more about the Victorian Government’s Business Support Fund and Working for Victoria Fund, as well as how the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program, can support your organisation and employees.
If you have queries about the support available, please contact Business Victoria’s dedicated hotline on 13 22 15 or speak with your relevant association or peak body for advice for your sport or sector.
I encourage sport and recreation organisations to find new ways to engage your members throughout this period and support their continual skill development as it is likely the restrictions will be in place for some time. Please stay in contact with your local council, state sporting association or peak body to discuss plans for re-activation when the time is right, and it is safe to do so.
We are continuing to look to the future and are actively engaging with Vicsport, state sporting associations and active recreation bodies to understand the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on the sector and explore options for recovery.
Remember, the situation continues to change and we urge you to regularly check coronavirus.vic.gov.au for updates.
Information current as at 23 April 2020
What are the current restrictions on sport, recreation and racing?
The Premier has extended the State of Emergency in Victoria from 13 April to 11 May 2020. Stage Three restrictions are currently in place and public gatherings are restricted to a maximum of two people, except for members of your immediate household and for work or education.
DHHS has published the signed Stay at Home and Restricted Activity directions which detail how these new restrictions will be legally applied. For more information and FAQs, please visit https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/state-emergency.
Under the latest direction, a person who owns, controls or operates a recreational facility in Victoria must not operate that facility between midnight 17 April 2020 and midnight 11 May 2020.
This includes the closure of the following sport and recreation facilities:
• indoor physical recreation facilities, including gymnasiums, indoor swimming pools, health clubs, fitness centres, yoga studios, barre and spin facilities, saunas, bathhouses, wellness centres, and health studios
• outdoor recreational facilities, including, for example, golf courses, mini-golf centres, paintball, lawn bowling, outdoor swimming pools, water skiing, go-kart tracks, rifle ranges, and equestrian centres
• indoor personal training facilities where personal training services are the predominant activity
• publicly accessible playgrounds
• skate parks
• outdoor communal gym equipment
• an outdoor facility that is predominantly a tennis centre or a basketball centre.
The updated directions include a subclause that allows for outdoor tennis centres and outdoor basketball centres to operate provided there is only one tennis court or basketball court in use at any time, and that no equipment is made available for communal use. A maximum of two people are allowed the on court and you must abide by the latest physical distancing guidelines.
Bootcamps and personal training sessions are restricted to two people and they must also adhere to the latest physical distancing restrictions.
The Chief Health Officer has advised that canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, rowing and surf skiing are now permitted, subject to physical distancing restrictions and provided participants do not travel considerable distances to do them.
Racing activities are currently classified as a workplace and racetracks across Victoria can continue to operate.
Racing bodies have implemented strict controls to monitor everyone entering race facilities and there is a ban on all spectators visiting the racetrack. Racing clubs must also adhere to the latest physical distancing restrictions.
For the latest information and guidelines visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au
Can our sporting or racing club and active recreation organisation still operate?
Based on the legal directions, you will need to make a decision on whether your organisation can safely operate. Please apply the Chief Health Officer’s advice to not look for loopholes and apply a common sense approach to implementing the directions.
If people breach these directions, they face on-the-spot fines of $1,652 for individuals and $9,913 for businesses. Larger fines can also be issued through the courts.
If you have queries about how the Stage Three restrictions apply to your individual or organisation’s circumstance, please refer to the DHHS’ State of Emergency website or call the DHHS COVID-19 hotline 1800 675 398 and select option two.
Contact your relevant association or peak body to understand how these directions are being applied locally.
We will continue to support organisations to assess and proactively manage risk to ensure the health and safety of members and participants is protected. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions that cannot be answered through these other channels.
What financial support is available to my sporting and recreation organisation?
The Victorian Government has announced a $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package which includes:
o full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million
o The same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021
o $500 million to establish the Working for Victoria Fund to help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities, including work cleaning public infrastructure or delivering food – providing vital contributions to our state’s response to the pandemic
o $500 million for the Business Support Fund to support the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail.
Applications for the Business Support Fund are open until 1 June 2020. Funding of $10,000 per small business is available. To be eligible, businesses must already employ staff, have payroll of less than $650,000 and a turnover of more than $75,000.
The Commercial Tenancies Relief Scheme has also been introduced to alleviate the financial hardship faced by tenants and landlords as a result of coronavirus. This builds on the commitment to provide rent relief to all tenants in Victorian Government venues.
The Australian Government’s $189 billion package includes grants of up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium sized businesses, and not for-profits (including charities) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. The JobKeeper Payment provides a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee until 27 September 2020.
Call the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 to get the latest information.
How long will the COVID 19 issue affect my club or activity?
The State of Emergency declared in Victoria has been set until midnight 11 May 2020. This could be extended due to the evolving nature of the pandemic.
DHHS is working around the clock with health services, the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments, and international agencies to respond to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). For the latest information, visit dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
What can I do in the interim if training and competition has been postponed?
It is important for everyone to stay fit and active, for our physical health and for our mental wellbeing.
You can still get active even if you are in isolation. For great ideas to get active, check out the Premier’s Active April website.
My organisation received a government grant to assist with a program/event that may not run due to coronavirus (COVID-19) – do we need to return this payment?
The Victorian Government is assessing contractual obligations and financial arrangements with organisations on a case-by-case basis.