Try to think back to March when the first wave of coronavirus was starting to sweep across the country, with businesses gradually having to close their doors or reduce their work and a raft of government stimulus measures announced.

That included JobKeeper, which is now less than two weeks away from hitting the end of the initial six month run of the program.

While there was some initial scepticism about how the program would succeed over this period, it’s heartening that we’ve almost made it through the first six months of the income support program and can start looking ahead to the next round of it.

Just as a reminder for those small businesses that are planning to continue to access the program, you do not need to re-apply for JobKeeper 2.0.

All that is required in October will be to explain to the government what has happened to their business earlier in the year and how many part-time and full-time employees you had on your books, as the rates of pay will change for this next round of the program. You will also need to show that you had a 30 per cent drop in revenue in the September quarter.

While there will be a cash flow drop for the program, and another drop in the new year, it is great that this small business support will be continuing because it has saved many, many businesses from closing their doors during the pandemic.

The other exciting news for Victorians is the changes for businesses outside of metropolitan Melbourne, which will see many shops, restaurants and stores opening their doors again.

This includes outdoor dining for up to 50 people per venue, increases to attendees at weddings and funerals, and household bubbles which will be a welcome boost for the mental health of many Victorians. 

This is a great sign to see such a big boost to regional Victoria, and especially for hospitality businesses that have been among the hardest hit.

I’ve had reports of restaurants and wineries on the Bellarine Peninsula that are booked up for weeks after the reopening was announced, and this will be a great test case for what is to come for the city once the virus numbers drop further.