COVID-19 coronavirus: Business and industry advice

Latest information and advice for business and industry regarding COVID-19 coronavirus.

Last updated: 29 March 2020 at 12.00pm

Up-to-date health information about COVID-19 coronavirus is available from the Department of Health.

WA Government to offer expenditure relief for the WA mining exploration industry

The WA Government is providing guidance to clarify the criteria that can be applied in granting exemption from exploration expenditure requirements in Western Australia.

The measures will help provide relief to companies and help support the State’s economy to respond to COVID-19.

The Minister for Mines and Petroleum has enabled an exemption from exploration expenditure to be considered if tenement holders are unable to meet the tenement’s expenditure requirements as a direct result of COVID-19 or because of restrictions imposed by the State and Federal governments. This decision will be valid until March 31 2021, unless rescinded earlier.

Applications can be made to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, detailing the reasons an extension of time is required through the existing Form 5 process. 

In terms of tenement rents, there is an existing mechanism which allows tenement holders to apply for an extension of time to pay.

Applications can be made detailing the reasons an extension of time is required. Other initiatives are being investigated that may assist the industry, while not compromising the integrity of our legislative framework.

State of Emergency occasional liquor licence

To support the liquor industry the Director of Liquor Licensing will grant occasional liquor licences to existing licensed venues for up to 6 months to allow the sale of liquor with a takeaway or delivered meal. 

Licensees with permanent licences of the following types will be able to apply:

  • Restaurant Licence
  • Small Bar
  • Tavern Restricted
  • Hotel Restricted
  • Club Restricted
  • Special Facility Caterer.

Packaged liquor will be limited to one bottle of wine and one 6 pack (beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits) per order (the 6 pack can be in any combination).

The permitted hours for packaged liquor sales will be between 12 noon and 12 midnight.

The sale of liquor can only occur between the purchaser and the licensee (i.e. not a third party on behalf of the purchaser).

Applications will be fast-tracked and application fees will be waived.

Application forms will only be accepted by email. If you have any further queries about this licence please call (08) 6551 4904.

The licence is only valid whilst the Closure of Certain Places of Business, Worship and Entertainment Direction issued on 23 March 2020 or any subsequent order requiring your business to remain closed to the public is in effect.

The WA Government has also moved to support local wine producers with an amendment to the current liquor restrictions to allow cellar-door sales of up to nine litres of wine (12 bottles) per customer per week in Western Australia.

Sales to interstate and overseas customers or West Australian liquor licence holders are not affected by the current liquor restrictions.

Wholesalers who service the Western Australian liquor industry are unaffected by the liquor restrictions. However, wholesalers that sell to the public must still meet the current liquor restrictions.

Hotels, taverns and other outlets that can currently sell packaged liquor over the counter can continue to do so even if their venue has been restricted from having patrons remain on site.

Licensees must continue to adhere to the social distancing guidelines and only sell packaged alcohol to be taken away.

The adjustments to the liquor restrictions are effective 12:30pm Friday, 27 March 2020. 

New measures to support businesses

Regulation changes will be implemented shortly to allow for truck movements to occur with less red tape.

This will mean commercial deliveries to shopping centres can occur around the clock, allowing more stock to be delivered to local shops.

There will also be changes to allow for residential home deliveries. 

Support for small and medium sized businesses

Small business support services

The Small Business Development Corporation has created a COVID-19 assistance centre to provide dedicated, timely guidance on available support options, including:

  • information on available stimulus packages and eligibility requirements
  • advice on preparing businesses to manage impacts
  • other resources.

To access the service, contact 133 140 (8.30am to 4.30pm weekdays) or email

For information on a range of other support they offer, including a series of free online webinars covering key topics relating to small business issues, visit the Small Business Development Corporation website or follow their blog for regular updates on the rapidly changing business environment.

The WA Government is investing $114 million in measures to support WA small and medium businesses including:

One-off grants of $17,500 to small and medium businesses

  • Small and medium businesses whose annual Australian Taxable Wages are between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500 to assist them to manage the impacts of COVID-19.
  • No applications are required. Grants will automatically be paid from July 2020, but there may be delays for taxpayers whose tax status changed during the 2018-19 assessment period or who commenced as new employers in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • It is expected 6,200 WA businesses will benefit from the grant.

Fast-track payroll tax relief for small businesses

  • The payroll tax threshold will be increased to $1 million from 1 July 2020, six months earlier than planned.
  • 11,000 WA businesses will benefit from the cut in payroll tax.

Deferred payment 2019-20 payroll tax available to small and medium sized businesses

  • Small and medium sized businesses affected by COVID-19 can apply to defer payment of their 2019-20 payroll tax until 21 July 2020.
  • The deferral is available to employers who pay $7.5 million or less in Australian Taxable Wages and have been directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19, compared to normal operating conditions.
  • Eligible businesses will be able to defer payment of their 2019-20 payroll tax until 21 July 2020.
  • Further information on how to apply for a payroll tax deferral is available on the Department of Finance website.

For more information on the support for WA households, pensioners and small businesses in the wake of COVID-19 see the WA State Government announcement the $607 million stimulus package.

Places of social gathering

On Sunday, 22 March 2020 - Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed to implement, through state and territory laws, new Stage 1 restrictions on social gatherings.

Western Australians should expect these measures to be in place for at least 6 months.

The following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

  • pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • gyms and indoor sporting venues 
  • cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).

Isolated remote community hubs are not included in these restrictions.

General advice for employers

Do not send staff to be tested at either COVID clinics or through GP referrals unless they:

Have a fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough or sore throat AND:

  • have returned from overseas travel in the last 14 days OR
  • are a contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case OR
  • believe they may have been in close contact with a person infected with COVID-19.

Health authorities advise that it is ineffective and unnecessary to test people who do not have these symptoms.

Unnecessary testing also uses more valuable resources such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and pathology supplies, which are in limited supply worldwide.

There is no point testing someone if they do not have symptoms and it uses valuable resources such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and pathology supplies, which are in limited supply worldwide and need to be used responsibly for patients who meet testing criteria.

  • Employers should not send their staff to COVID-19 Clinics or GPs for medical clearances or certificates.
  • Encourage and practice quality personal hygiene like you would in the winter flu season – the includes covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often with soap or sanitiser and staying away from work if unwell.
  • Continue to follow the advice of health authorities - anyone instructed to self-isolate by a medical professional must take the request seriously and stay home to avoid putting others at risk. This means you don’t leave your property, you don’t go to work or school, you don’t go on outings and you don’t have visitors. The only time to leave the house is to seek medical attention.
  • Know the facts by sourcing accurate information, from credible sources such as the Department of Health.
  • Remain calm and use common sense.

Safe food and utensil practices for business 

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice is that the primary transmission route for COVID-19 is person-to-person; it may therefore be transmitted via utensils or plates that have been handled by someone who has COVID-19.

  • For catering, advise staff if they feel unwell to stay at home, and deny entry to staff who are unwell.
  • All food, including pre-packaged foods such as boxed lunches, should be prepared by staff trained in safe food handling practices.
  • Ensure hand washing facilities are accessible for staff and supplied with adequate soap and paper towels.

Further information is available from the Australian Government Department of Health.

Business or industry communications from State Government

Page reviewed 29 March 2020
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