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Support for Small Businesses and Organisations

Learn about the latest changes that may affect your small business or organisation. If your operations are affected by the coronavirus and you need assistance, view the types of support offered by the Australian government.

Latest Updates

March 2022

Compulsory mediation requirements extended for commercial leases

The Retail and Other Commercial (COVID-19) Regulation 2022 has extended compulsory mediation provisions for eligible small businesses until 30 June 2022. 

The regulation has extended the requirement for mediation until 30 June 2022 for eligible commercial tenants with an annual turnover of less than $5 million.  The extension of the Regulation continues support for commercial leases including those not covered by the Retail Leases Act.  

Find out More

February 2022

Applications open for new Small Business Support Package

Payments can be up to $5,000 a week or 20% of payroll

Applications have opened for the NSW Government’s Small Business Support Program, which provides financial assistance for small businesses hit hard by the disruption caused by the wave of Omicron cases.

The support package provides eligible businesses with financial support covering up to 20 per cent of weekly payroll, to a maximum payment of $5,000 a week. It is open to businesses with annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million who have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 40 per cent.

The minimum payment is $500 per week. 

Eligible businesses will receive one payment for the 4-week period of February 2022. Businesses will not receive payment for January 2022.

Apply Online

The Parents NSW Voucher program is now live

The program is designed to thank households that provided home learning to their school-enrolled children during 2021.   

The Parents NSW Vouchers of 5 x $50 vouchers, to a total value of $250, are available to eligible households with school-enrolled children aged 4.5 to 18 years.  

The vouchers can be redeemed via the Service NSW app at businesses registered for Stay NSW Vouchers and Dine & Discover NSW (note: only Discover NSW businesses can redeem Parents NSW Vouchers).   

Multiple Parents NSW Vouchers can be redeemed in the same transaction up to $250 total, including by different people, i.e. two adults can redeem up to $250 of their Parents NSW Vouchers towards one Stay NSW or Discover NSW experience.   

However, different voucher types cannot be combined in one transaction. For example, you cannot redeem a Parents NSW Voucher plus a Stay NSW or Discover NSW Voucher together.  

Customers can use Parents NSW Vouchers at participating businesses until 9 October 2022.   

View the media release and the Service NSW website to learn more. 

Stay NSW Vouchers business registration open state-wide  

All eligible accommodation providers across NSW can now apply to register for Stay NSW Vouchers and get their business ready to accept vouchers in February 2022. 

From February 2022, registered businesses will be able to accept Stay NSW Vouchers as well as the new Parents NSW Vouchers. 

The date for when Stay NSW and Parents NSW Vouchers become available for redemption will be announced soon. 

Dine & Discover NSW businesses will also be able to accept the new Parents NSW Vouchers for Discover activities. 

From February 2022:  

  •  NSW residents aged 18 and over will be able to spend a $50 Stay NSW Voucher at participating Stay NSW businesses.  
  •  Eligible households with a child aged 4.5 to 18 years who was school-enrolled in 2021 can also spend 5 x $50 Parents NSW Vouchers at participating Stay NSW businesses, as well as for Discover activities at Dine & Discover NSW businesses. 

Businesses who have already registered for Stay NSW Vouchers do not need to do anything. Find out more on eligibility and how to register for Stay NSW Vouchers.

New support payments for SMEs hit hard by Omicron

The NSW Government will cover up to 20 per cent of a small or medium business’s weekly payroll as part of a new package of measures to help those who have suffered a large cut to turnover during the Omicron wave.

The Small Business Support Program helps those businesses with annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million with a decline in turnover of at least 40 per cent.

The minimum payment will be $500 per week and the maximum $5,000 per week.

Applications are expected to open in mid February. Find out More.

Storm and flood disaster recovery small business grant – applications open

Applications are now open for the storm and flood disaster recovery small business grant of up to $50,000 for small businesses and non-profit organisations that have suffered direct damage as a result of the NSW storms and floods from 9 November 2021 onward.  

The grant is available to applicants in eligible local government areas (LGAs) in the defined disaster area under AGRN 987, to help pay for costs of clean-up and reinstatement. 

Information about the eligibility criteria and what the grant can be used for is available on the Service NSW website.  

The flood disaster recovery grant for small businesses affected by the storms and floods from March 2021 (AGRN 954 and 960) is open until 18 March 2022 for applicants with exceptional circumstances. Businesses can apply by visiting the Service NSW website.  

January 2022 

$5000 Alfresco Restart Rebate

The NSW Government is offering a rebate of up to $5000 as part of its $66 million Alfresco Restart Package to help the hospitality, arts and music sectors recover from the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions.

If you operate an eligible small to medium food or beverage business, you can register for the Alfresco Restart Rebate to create or expand your alfresco dining areas.

The rebate is available to the first 5000 eligible businesses who register through their MyServiceNSW Account on the ServiceNSW website. It can be used for a range of outdoor dining expense purchased between 14 October 2021 and 30 April 2022. 

Registered businesses must retain receipts for eligible expenses they incur so they can be lodged as  single claim.

For more information and to register, visit Service NSW or call 13 77 88.

Find out more

November 2021

Rural Landholders Grant 

The Rural Landholders Grant provides assistance to storm and flood-affected landholders in eligible local government areas (LGAs) to support the next phase of their recovery. 

The grant of up to $10,000 is available to eligible landholders who: 

  • are in an LGA declared as a natural disaster as part of the NSW storms and floods that occurred from 19 February 2021 onwards (AGRN 954) or from 10 March 2021 onwards (AGRN 960) 
  • have holdings of at least 10 hectares 
  • receive at least $20,000 in income from primary production per year 
  • hold an Australian Business Number (ABN) 
  • do not receive the majority of their income from primary production. 

Further eligibility criteria apply. Landholders are encouraged not to self-assess and to apply for the grant so the Rural Assistance Authority can determine eligibility. 

Applications are open until 28 January 2022. To view the list of eligible LGAs, the guidelines, and to apply, visit the Rural Assistance Authority website.  

Storm and Flood Industry Recovery Program 

The NSW Government is continuing to support communities affected by the storms and floods earlier this year with the Storm and Flood Industry Recovery Program. 

This program will be delivered in two streams. 

Supply Chain Support Grant 

The Supply Chain Support Grant offers funding to help primary producers and primary production enterprises to rebuild and recover in the medium to longer term. 

Eligible primary producers are required to have accessed the full $75,000 Special Disaster Grant in order to apply for funds through the Supply Chain Support Grant. 

The amount of funding available to eligible producers in targeted industries will vary by industry and a 50:50 financial and/or in-kind co-contribution from applicants is required. 

Applications are open until 2 pm, 3 March 2022. To find out more and apply, visit the Rural Assistance Authority website. 

Sector Recovery and Resilience Grant 

The Sector Recovery and Resilience Grant is for medium to longer-term recovery and resilience projects that will support industry-wide recovery. 

The Department of Regional NSW will work with government agencies, industry peak bodies and industry representatives from heavily impacted industries to identify projects that support sector-wide recovery, resilience and innovation.  

Applicants identified through industry engagement will be invited to apply from October 2021. 

Funded projects will be required to demonstrate broad industry support and outcomes that will have sector-wide benefits. 

Contact or 1300 679 673 for more information. 

If you have any questions, please let me know.

October 2021

NSW Accommodation Grant application is open

14 October

Over the June-July public school holidays, the public health orders meant that many NSW accommodation providers experienced booking cancellations and lost income.

The NSW accommodation support grant is for accommodation providers who experienced cancellations for stays between Friday 25 June and Sunday 11 July 2021.

If your business was impacted, you may be eligible for one of two grant amounts: 

  • $2,000 for cancellations of 10 nights or less
  • $5,000 for cancellations of 11 nights or more.

If you have more than one accommodation property in NSW, you'll be able to apply for each property.  

Find out if you’re eligibleApplications are open until 30 November 2021.

Apply Online

Dine & Discover NSW additional vouchers

14 October 2021

The NSW Government has announced that two additional Dine & Discover NSW vouchers will be available in time for summer: 

This means that existing Dine & Discover NSW customers will receive two additional $25 vouchers, one for Dine and one for Discover venues. 

NSW residents aged 18 years and over who haven’t yet applied for Dine & Discover NSW will be able to apply for the program until 30 June 2022 and receive all six $25 vouchers if eligible. 

Businesses are encouraged to register and download the Service NSW for Business app to get ready to accept vouchers. 

Businesses already registered for Dine & Discover NSW don’t need to do anything.   

More information will be made available in the coming weeks on the Service NSW website.  

Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate expanded

13 October 2021

The NSW Government has announced that the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate will increase from $1500 to $2000 from November 2021. 

This means that businesses that have already signed up for the scheme will have their rebate automatically increased from $1500 to $2000. 

In addition, road user tolls for business vehicles will be added as an eligible fee for businesses to claim.  

View the media release.

August 2021

Test and Isolate Payment available for workers in eligible LGAs 

16 August 2021

From 14 August 2021, the NSW Government will provide eligible workers in NSW with a Test and Isolate support payment of $320 if they meet the eligibility criteria and agree to follow NSW Health self-isolation guidelines.  

Workers in eligible local government areas (LGAs) can apply for the payment if they:  

  • are over the age of 17   
  • have had a COVID-19 test due to experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or be the carer or guardian of someone who has had a test due to experiencing symptoms   
  • have needed to self-isolate after the COVID-19 test, or are the carer or guardian for someone who needed to self-isolate after their test 
  • are likely to have worked during the period of self-isolation and are unable to work due to:  
    • being required to self-isolate following a COVID-19 test  
    • having to care for someone who is required to self-isolate following a COVID-19 test.  

The list of eligible LGAs can be found on the transaction page.

  • Workers are not eligible for the payment if they:  
    • can work from home during the time of self-isolation  
    • receive any income, earnings or salary during the time of self-isolation  
    • have access to sick leave, carers leave or special pandemic leave  
    • receive income support from the Australian Government (including the COVID-19 Disaster Payment or Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment) or financial support from the NSW Government (such as the micro-business grant or JobSaver payment) during the time of self-isolation  
    • have been directed by NSW Health to test and isolate as they’re a close contact of a known case  
    • have had a rapid antigen test  
    • are an essential worker living in an eligible LGA and are required to test every 3 days. 
  • Eligible workers will need to apply for the payment within 7 days of having the test.   
  • Workers can only apply for the payment once every 30 days from the date of a COVID-19 test.  
  • To be eligible for the payment, customers will need:   
    • a MyServiceNSW Account   
    • details of the date, time and location of their COVID-19 test (including the reference number provided by NSW Health or the testing facility, if known)  
    • one proof of identity documents such as an Australian Drivers Licence, Medicare card or passport  
    • proof of address such as a rates notice, lease agreement or utility bill  
    • proof of employment or self-employment such as a payslip, contract, letter from employer or ABN  
    • bank account details for payment.  

Applications for the Test and Isolate support payment should be made here.

New support for tenants and landlords impacted by COVID-19

14 August 2021

Rent relief will be mandated for eligible tenants and smaller landlords can access a monthly grant.

The NSW Government will re-introduce the National Cabinet’s Mandatory Code of Conduct for Commercial Leasing to mandate rent relief for eligible tenants impacted by COVID-19.

A new $40 million Hardship Fund will also be established to provide a monthly grant of up to $3,000 for small commercial or retail landlords who provide rental waivers of at least the value of the grant and any land tax relief they are eligible for.

The Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2021  will be extended until 13 January 2022 and will require landlords to renegotiate rent having regard to National Cabinet’s Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct requires landlords to provide rent relief in proportion with their tenant’s decline in turnover. Of the rent relief provided, at least 50 per cent must be in the form a waiver, and the balance a deferral.

Find out More

July 2021

Support package for businesses affected by the current lockdown – UPDATED

19 July 2021

Applications have opened for the 2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grant.

Eligible NSW businesses, sole traders, and not-for-profit organisations may be eligible to apply for a grant of up to $15,000 via the Service NSW website.

View eligibility criteria and apply.

View the media release for more information.

COVID-19 business support

14 July 2021

The NSW Government will be offering financial support to businesses impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders.

If your business or not-for-profit organisation has been impacted by the restrictions, you may be eligible to apply from 19 July 2021.

You can get notified on existing and upcoming financial support, including:

  • COVID-19 business grant: if you’re a business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisation impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions, you may be able to apply for a grant of up to $15,000 from 19 July 2021.
  • Saving Jobs: a support program funded jointly by the NSW and Commonwealth governments to maintain employment of staff for small and medium businesses impacted by the current health restrictions.
  • Micro business grant: if you’re a micro business (small business or sole trader with annual turnover of more than $30,000 and under $75,000) impacted by the current Greater Sydney COVID-19 restrictions, you may be able to apply for a $1500 payment per fortnight of restrictions from late July 2021.

Find out more

Major package to support micro and small business

14 July 2021

The Australian and NSW Governments have today announced new measures to support small businesses during the current NSW lockdown.

These include:

  • Increased small business support payments of $7,500 and $10,500 or $15,000, depending on the decline in business turnover
  • A “JobSaver” employee retention scheme providing cashflow support to businesses to help them retain staff. The cash boost will be up to 40% of weekly payroll with a payment of between $1,500 to a maximum of $10,000 per week, provided staffing levels are maintained at the level as of 13 July 2021. Non-employing businesses are eligible for $1,000 per week
  •  $1,500 grants per fortnight for microbusinesses (annual turnover between $30,000 and $75,000) that have suffered at least a 30% decline in turnover.
  • Payroll tax deferrals for all businesses and a 25% concession for medium-sized businesses that have suffered a 30% revenue decline
  • A requirement on landlords to participate in mediation before taking actions to evict or lock out tenants
  • Up to 100% land tax concessions for commercial landlords who provide rent relief
  • A $75 million support package for the performing arts sector to be administered by Create NSW
  • A support package for the accommodation sector worth $26 million
  • An increase in the payment amount for stood down workers from $500 to $600 per week for those who lost more than 20 hours, and to $375 for those who lost between 8 and 20 hours, and for it to be available to workers outside of the Greater Sydney lockdown areas
  • Expanded mental health services with programs targeted at young people and CALD communities

Find out More

Banking support for small businesses 

12 July 2021

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has announced support for customers affected by COVID-19 lockdowns, including small businesses.

The support available for eligible small businesses includes up to 3-month repayment deferrals, refunds of merchant terminal fees for up to 3 months, and loan deferrals on a month-by-month basis.

Business customers who need support should contact their bank.

View the media release for more information

New COVID-19 compliance measures for venues 

12 July 2021

Use of the NSW Government QR code is now mandatory for more businesses and organisations.

For more information about mandatory electronic check-in and to view a full list of places required to use the NSW Government QR code, visit the NSW Government website.

Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate & Export Assistance Grant

8 July 2021

From 1 July 2021, the requirement for applicants to have a turnover of at least $75,000 per year to be eligible for the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate has been removed. 

This means that small businesses that are not registered for GST and not-for-profit organisations with a turnover of less than $75,000 per year can apply for the rebate if they meet all other eligibility criteria. View the guidelines.

The Export Assistance Grant will be available for eligible businesses to apply until 31 December 2021 or until the allocated funding is exhausted.

Visit the Service NSW website to view the eligibility criteria and apply.

NSW Mouse Control Rebate applications open

5 July 2021

If you're a resident, small business owner or primary producer in rural or regional NSW and you've purchased mouse baits, traps or cleaning materials from 1 February 2021 to combat the mouse plague, you may be able to claim the NSW mouse control rebate.

Eligible households may apply for rebates up to $500. For leased properties, the tenant has the first right to claim.

Eligible small businesses and primary producers may apply for rebates up to $1000.

Applications will close on 27 September 2021, or when funds near their allocation.

To claim either the household or the small business rebate, visit the Service NSW website.

June 2021

Important update for all businesses in New South Wales

29 June 2021

With the growing risk of COVID-19 in the community, new measures are in place across NSW. It is important that all businesses regularly check for the latest information and to understand how these measures impact you. 

Recent measures include a stay-at-home order for the Greater Sydney region (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong areas). This means that some businesses in these areas will not be able to open.

Businesses outside these areas are also subject to additional public health measures including the one person per four square metre rule, wearing masks and no singing or dancing. A full list of measures can be found at

This is a critical time to remind all businesses that can remain open to: 

Have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place
It’s strongly recommended all businesses have an up-to-date COVID-19 Safety Plan in place. For some businesses it is mandatory. It provides you and your customers the confidence that you are doing all you can to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Once completed, you can register your business as COVID Safe. 

Use the NSW Government QR code
Once you’re registered as COVID Safe, you can access the NSW Government QR code This makes it quick and easy for customers, staff, delivery drivers and contractors to check in and plays a vital role for our contact tracers if an outbreak was to occur. For some businesses this is mandatory.

Practise COVID safe behaviours and get vaccinated
COVID safe behaviours are just as important as ever. Wash or sanitise hands regularly, wear a mask, and importantly, get vaccinated as soon as it is your turn. Staff must self-isolate and get tested immediately if unwell even with mild symptoms, then follow the health advice on when they should return to work.

These are critical measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community and everyone's actions will make a difference.

Key measures for Small Business

22 June 2021

The NSW Government has announced a number of measures to support small business as part of the State’s 2021-22 Budget.

Introduction of the new Small Business Shorter Payment Terms Policy. This will require large businesses who contract to supply goods or services (valued at or above $7.5 million) to NSW Government agencies to pay their small business subcontractors within 20 business days.

An updated Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and Regional Procurement Policy, which will:

  • Increase the current general exemption of $50,000 for small businesses to $150,000 for SMEs and regional businesses;
  • Require agencies to first consider SMEs for procurements up to $3 million, where direct engagement is permitted;
  • Require suppliers tendering for contracts valued at more than $3 million to submit an SME and Local Participation Plan, which will become contractually binding.

Continuing payroll tax cuts for the next year, with the rate remaining at 4.85 per cent, alongside a permanent increase in the payroll tax threshold to $1.2 million.

Continuing the $1500 fees and charges rebate scheme to help small businesses cover the cost of NSW and local government fees and charges. The scheme is available to small businesses who have a total wages bill below the 2020-21 $1.2 million payroll tax threshold.

An extension of the Dine & Discover program by one month, until the end of July, giving people more time to use all their vouchers across almost 14,000 participating businesses.

Introduction of a new $50 million CBD Friday voucher program that will offer four $25 vouchers for use towards dining and entertainment experiences in the Sydney CBD on Fridays.

Commercial refrigerator rebates for eligible small businesses for the lease or purchase of commercial fridges and freezers. Applicants can get up to $1,490 per fridge, with each business able to claim up to five rebates under the program.

The NSW Small Business Commission will receive $13 million in funding to assist the State’s small businesses, which will support:

  • Additional mediation staff to support the low-cost resolution of retail and commercial tenancy disputes as well as business-to-business disputes;
  • Additional customer service positions to manage calls and web-based enquiries from small businesses and provide tailored information and support;
  • Continuation of the four-year $5 million tender support program in partnership with TAFE NSW to help small businesses improve their tendering skills;  

Enhanced advocacy, surveying and stakeholder engagement activities to identify the key issues facing small businesses during the COVID recovery and develop solutions and support.

Dine & Discover NSW - Extended until 31 July 2021

9 June 2021

The NSW Government has extended Dine & Discover NSW for one month (to 31 July 2021) to give NSW residents more time to get out and about to use their vouchers.

It also gives businesses which have been impacted by COVID-19, more time to register. Register your business to participate in the scheme today. Customers must use their vouchers before 31 July 2021. 

Dine & Discover NSW ends on Saturday 31 July 2021

May 2021

Changes to COVID-19 restrictions: information for small businesses

6 May 2021

Given the latest cases of community transmission and updated health advice, COVID-19 restrictions are being temporarily tightened across Greater Sydney.

Measures effective from midday on 6 May 2021 (enforceable from 5 pm) until 12:01 am Monday, 10 May for the Greater Sydney region (including Wollongong, Central Coast, and The Blue Mountains) include the following:

  • masks will be compulsory on public transport and in all public indoor venues, such as retail, theatres, hospitals, aged care facilities, and for front-of-house hospitality staff (except in a hospitality venue when eating or drinking)
  • drinking while standing up at indoor venues will not be allowed
  • singing by audiences at indoor shows will not be allowed
  • dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs
  • visitors to aged care facilities will be limited to two people.

To view the full list of restrictions, view the media release  on the NSW Government website. 

April 2021

Mentally Healthy Workplaces by Black Dog Institute

Mentally healthy workplaces can prevent mental health issues and promote recovery, not only benefitting the individual but the whole workplace by engaging workers, increasing productivity and reducing turnover.

Mental health training is a key action to creating a mentally healthy workplace. Training can help business owners, managers, and workers build their personal resilience by increasing their understanding of their own mental health, how to support others and how to access support if they (or someone they know) need it.

The Black Dog Institute in partnership with the NSW Government is providing free mental health training to any NSW private sector business with less than 200 employees, and not-for-profit organisations of any size.

Workplace mental health toolkit

A free practical guide for workplaces with information and strategies to support wellbeing at work. View more information.

Expert Insights for Workplaces

Free webinar series designed for managers to help lead mental health in the workplace. View more information.

March 2021

The Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate 

A new $1500 rebate designed to help small businesses pay for NSW Government fees and charges will open next month.

Eligible businesses can use the rebate to claim back the cost of NSW and local government fees and charges up to $1,500. Eligible fees and charges include food authority, liquor and tradesperson licenses, business vehicle registration fees, and council rates. 

To be eligible, the applicant must be a small business, sole-trader or not-for-profit organisation, have an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered in NSW or business premises physically located and operating in NSW, and be able to report a payroll below the NSW 2020–2021 payroll tax threshold of $1.2 million. 

Visit the Service NSW website to view the full eligibility criteria and the guidelines.

Live Music Support Package funding 

Businesses that operate a live music venue that has suffered financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for funding from the NSW Government's Live Music Support Package. Eligible businesses can apply for funding to be used for operational costs related to running the venue.

Applications open Tuesday 6 April and close Monday 19 April 2021.

For more information, visit the Service NSW website.

This program is part of the NSW Government’s Tourism Support Package.

New COVID-19 compliance measures for venues – UPDATE

26 March 2021 update:

A number of COVID-19 restrictions across NSW will be eased from 12:01 am Monday 29 March. These include:

  • all venues to move to the one person per 2sqm rule (venues will be allowed at least 25 people before the 2sqm rule applies)
  • 100% seated capacity at entertainment venues including stadiums and theatres.

Businesses and other organisations must continue to ensure they keep accurate records of all attendances, including through QR Codes, to enable fast contact tracing in the event of any community transmission. 

Dine & Discover NSW

Customers can now redeem “Dine NSW” vouchers on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as well as Monday to Thursday. New Dine & Discover NSW Terms and Conditions are available to view here, and they will also be emailed to businesses directly.  

For more information about the scheme, visit Dine & Discover NSW

Additional support 
Local businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 can access the online information hub for small businesses here

February 2021

Dine & Discover NSW

The NSW Government is launching Dine & Discover NSW to encourage the community to get out and about, supporting dining, arts and tourism businesses and stimulating spending in the economy.

Initially the scheme will invite customers to use their vouchers with participating COVID Safe businesses, as part of a testing period, in The Rocks and Broken Hill in early February. Dine & Discover NSW will then be piloted with a larger group in Sydney CBD, Northern Beaches and Bega Valley from late February. The statewide rollout will commence in March.

Learn more about Dine & Discover NSW and support dining, arts and tourism businesses.

December 2020


7 December 2020

Venues including hospitality venues and retail:

  • 1 person per 2sqm (with 25 people permitted before the rule applies), except for: gyms and nightclubs (1 person per 4sqm, with a maximum of 50 people allowed in gym classes or on the dancefloor at nightclubs)

Stadiums and theatres:

  • outdoors: 100% seated capacity, and 1 person per 2sqm rule for unstructured seating areas
  • indoors: 75% seated capacity. 

Gatherings in outdoor public spaces:

  • up to 100 people for outdoor gatherings (up from 50)
  • up to 5,000 people for outdoor events that are fenced, ticketed and seated (subject to the 2sqm rule)
  • up to 3,000 people for other organised outdoor events i.e. community sport and outdoor protests (subject to the 2sqm rule).

Dance floors:

  • up to 50 people indoors.


  • up to 50 performers indoors, no maximum cap outdoors
  • advice is for congregation/audience to continue wearing masks if singing. 

Under the changes, maximum capacity caps will be removed subject to the 2sqm rule for:

  • bookings at hospitality venues
  • weddings
  • funerals
  • regional agricultural shows
  • corporate events
  • religious services.

November 2020


24 November 2020

Council has endorsed to extend financial assistance to waive outdoor dining fees and food inspection fees until March 2021.


(a) That in the spirit of cooperation with the NSW State Liberal Government in supporting local businesses to recover from the effects of COVID-19, the City of Ryde suspend outdoor dining fees and food inspection fees until the end of March 2021.

(b) That the proposed resolution (as identified in part (a) above) be exhibited for a minimum period of 28 days with a further report being brought back to Council to determine the resolution following the public exhibition period.

(c) That all local businesses in Ryde be informed of Council’s decision to exhibit the proposal through all media channels.  

NSW Government Out & About Scheme (NEW)

19 November 2020

From late January 2021, the NSW Government will be rolling out their new Out & About Scheme to support local hospitality, arts and tourism providers across the state.

NSW residents and aged 18 and over will be eligible to receive four $25 vouchers ($100 in total). The vouchers can be used at participating eligible NSW businesses and venues who are registered as COVID-19 Safe.  

The Out & About Scheme will be divided into two categories: 

  • dining out – two vouchers can be used to purchase food at venues such as restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs. 
  • going out – two vouchers can be used for activities, such as visiting cultural institutions, performing arts, cinemas and amusement parks.  

For your business to be part of the Out & About Scheme, you need to:  

  • have a MyServiceNSW account
  • be operating in NSW  in one of the eligible industries (details to come)
  • have a valid bank account 
  • have an active Australian Business Number (ABN) as of 31 October 2020 and be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST). 

COVID-safe businesses can use their MyServiceNSW business profile to manage the scheme for their business. 

October 2020

NSW Small Business Supports Quick Reference Guide

View the NSWSBC Quick Reference Guide(PDF, 600KB) which outlines current key NSW Government small business resources and supports.

Grants for COVID 19 solutions

Businesses can apply  for an (unmatched) funding pool totalling $1.5M ($500k each round). This funding comes from the Innovation Districts Challenges (IDC) and is designed to accelerate the commercialisation of research products that address the impacts of COVID-19 by businesses in partnership with universities and CSIRO in NSW.

More information can be found at the Macquarie University website as well as the NSW Treasury Website which includes the eligibility criteria.

Easing of COVID-19 restrictions: information for small businesses – UPDATED

22 October 2020

The number of people who can attend outdoor gatherings, restaurant group bookings and weddings will increase under a relaxation of COVID-19 rules. 

From Friday 23 October 2020:

  • 30 people can gather outdoors in public spaces (this was previously 20)
  • 30 customers for each booking and 30 customers at each table at hospitality venues (previously the rule was a maximum of 10).

View the media release for more information or visit the NSW Government website.

Information for businesses about protecting customers and staff – UPDATED

22 October 2020

A toolkit developed by the Department of Customer Service can help businesses to communicate with customers about COVID-19 related health and safety information. The toolkit includes content and links to download additional materials, and cover the following topic:

  • The three types of Public Health Alerts NSW Health might issue to a community. Link to toolkit.

13 October 2020

From Friday 16 October 2020, restrictions at hospitality venues will be eased to allow one patron for every two square metres in outdoor areas (previously this was one person per four square metres). Businesses wishing to take advantage of the relaxed restrictions must use electronic methods, like QR codes, to record and keep contact details.

Under changes effective immediately, 500 people are able to attend outdoor seated music performances and rehearsals, subject to the four square metre rule and people being seated.

More information is available here.

September 2020

NSW Government’s COVID Safe Check-in tool now live

10 September 2020

The NSW Government has developed a free digital registration tool called the COVID Safe Check in, on the Service NSW app. This tool will help businesses to remain COVID safe and meet requirements for the collection and storage of customer contact details

How the COVID Safe Check in will work

  • When a business registers as COVID Safe at, they will be given a unique QR code to display in their store.
  • When a customer visits, they simply scan the QR code to check in.
  • The customer will be prompted to download and install the Service NSW app if they need to.
  • The Service NSW app will then verify the customer and register them as being at the business.
  • Customers can use the app to check in quickly and easily. It’s contactless (so they don’t need to share a pen) and their personal data is stored securely.
  • Businesses will find the app is a free, secure, easy way to meet requirements for the collection and storage of customer contact details, which may be used for contact tracing purposes if required.

Visit Customer record keeping at for a full explainer on customer record keeping options and QR codes. 

August 2020

Business connect - Free online toolkit 

27 August 2020

Many small businesses are facing challenges as a result of COVID-19. In response, Business Connect has launched an online toolkit packed with over 40 pre-recorded webinars, training videos and factsheets. 

Resources are free and accessible 24/7, offering practical advice and training on a range of topics. From building an online store and understanding Facebook marketing to redefining your product or service for recovery, businesses can find a wealth of tips to help them cope and adapt.

The online toolkit complements Business Connect's advisory service, providing tailored, independent advice and a busy calendar of live interactive webinars and online workshops to help small businesses start, run, adapt or grow. 

Free webinars for small businesses – UPDATED

26 August 2020 update

Free webinars are available for businesses navigating the impacts of COVID-19 from AusIndustry, the Australian Government's agency for delivering assistance, programs and services which support industry, research and innovation.

Visit Eventbrite to register for the webinars. Topics include adapting to change and creating value through research and innovation. 

Information for businesses about protecting customers and staff – UPDATED

26 August 2020 update

Safe Work Australia has developed a new guide to help businesses decide how to manage the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace.

It provides practical guidance for work health and safety (WHS) duty holders about how to work safely during the pandemic.

The National guide for safe workplaces - COVID-19 is now available on the Safe Work Australia website.

Export assistance grant – UPDATED

26 August 2020 update

Applications are now open for the Export Assistance Grant. Established exporting businesses in NSW are eligible to apply for 50% reimbursement of eligible exporting enabling expenses, such as marketing and e-commerce, already paid for at the time of application.

Visit the Service NSW website to view the eligibility criteria, guidelines and to apply

Opportunity for NSW businesses to help fill the medical supply chain

20 August 2020 update

The NSW Government has introduced a $5 million grants scheme to locally manufacture critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during COVID-19.

The new grants are available for manufacturers who can demonstrate their ability to ramp up or repurpose manufacturing of items including masks, gowns, disinfectant, hand-wash and soap or their components, reducing our dependence on imports and providing a secure source for Australia’s future needs.

The application process, program guidelines and eligibility criteria will be released shortly.

COVID-19 recovery grant to help small business re-launch – UPDATED 

17 August 2020 update

The deadline for applications for the Small Business Recovery Grant of up to $3,000 has been extended until 11:59pm Monday, 31 August 2020. (Previously applications were due to close on Sunday 16 August.) 

The list of highly impacted industries has been broadened to include 18 additional industries, which means that more small businesses can apply. 

The additional 18 industries are:

1. Building and Other Industrial Cleaning Services
2. Creative Artists, Musicians, Writers and Performers
3. Employment Placement and Recruitment Services
4. Interurban and Rural Bus Transport
5. Labour Supply Services
6. Metal Coating and Finishing
7. Motion Picture and Video Production
8. Music and Other Sound Recording Activities
9. Optometry and Optical Dispensing
10. Other Allied Health Services
11. Other Goods and Equipment Rental and Hiring not elsewhere classified
12. Other Motor Vehicle and Transport Equipment Rental and Hiring
13. Other Social Assistance Services
14. Physiotherapy Services
15. Post-production Services and Other Motion Picture and Video Activities
16. Printing
17. Takeaway Food Services
18. Urban Bus Transport (Including Tramway).

View the media release for more information. Visit the Service NSW website to apply.

Business Connect: free advisors and online workshops – UPDATED             

17 August 2020

The NSW Government’s business advisory service, Business Connect, has developed a new toolkit to help businesses as they continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19.

The toolkit includes more than 35 webinars on a range of business-related subjects, fact sheets and training videos.

View the media release for more information, or register interest

July 2020

Latest rules for hospitality venues

24 July 2020 update

From 24 July 2020, cafes and restaurants, breweries, cellar doors, clubs, bars and casinos must now follow the same restrictions as pubs and will need to register as a COVID Safe business. Venues that do not comply may face fines. For more information, view the latest venue rules and media release.

SafeWork NSW recovery @ work toolkit

24 July 2020 update

Mental health is paramount at this challenging time. Many people and businesses are operating from home or working in different workplaces altogether. The COVID-19 recovery@work toolkit provides a one-stop shop for tips and resources to help with adjusting to new ways of working.

Outdoor markets. Are they allowed to operate?

24 July 2020 update

Food markets provide essential goods and have always been able to operate during the pandemic. Non-food markets are also able to operate provided they have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place that addresses certain criteria and ensures no more than 1 visitor per 4 square metres of publicly accessible space.

Commercial tenancy leases during COVID-19 – UPDATED

24 July 2020 update

A step-by-step interactive commercial leasing tool is now available on the Service NSW website. The tool assists tenants and landlords to negotiate a commercial lease where a tenant is having difficulty paying rent as a result of COVID-19.

COVID-19 NSW border entry permit – UPDATED

24 July 2020 update

New border entry rules apply from 22 July.

Under the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Amendment Order 2020

  • changes have been made to the eligibility criteria for permits
  • a “border zone resident” has been redefined.

If eligible, people can apply for a new permit containing a QR code. Permits issued before 4pm on 21 July expired at 11:59pm on 21 July, except those issued under compassionate grounds, which remain valid until the expiry date.

Visit NSW Government’s Border restrictions page for more information and updates.


17 July 2020 update

On 17 July, the NSW Government announced they will tighten COVID-19 restrictions around “higher risk” activities as the pandemic enters a new phase of community transmission.

From 24 July 2020, the following rules will be force:

  • Compliance measures introduced to pubs will be extended to restaurants, bars, cafés and clubs:
    • Limiting group bookings to a maximum of 10 people (except for weddings, funerals and corporate events). There should not be more than 10 customers per table
    • The capacity of the premises must not exceed 300 patrons, or the number allowable by one customer per four square metres of space, whichever is leser
    • Mandatory COVID-Safe plans and registration as a COVID-Safe business
    • A digital record must be created within 24 hours and maintained for a period of 28 days. QR codes and contactless record keeping is encouraged
  • Venues must have assign one staff member as a COVID-19 Safe Hygiene Marshall
  • Weddings and corporate events will be limited to 150 people subject to the four square metre rule and registration as a COVID-Safe business. Strict COVID-Safe plans must be in place and high-risk activities including choirs and dancing must not occur
  • Funerals and places of worship will be limited to 100 people, subject to the one person per four square metre rule and a COVID-Safe business registration.

For more information, view the media release.

New COVID-19 compliance measures for pubs

17 July 2020 update

New rules have been introduced to pubs across NSW from Friday 17 July that limit group bookings to a maximum of 10 people and cap the number of customers inside a venue to 300 people. The new measures follow the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

For more information and to view the full set of requirements, read the media release and visit COVID-19: What you can and can't do under the rules.

To complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan and register as a COVID Safe business, visit the COVID Safe businesses page on the NSW Government website.

COVID-19 NSW border entry permit (NEW)

NSW has temporarily shut its border with Victoria to contain the spread of COVID-19.

From 8 July, a border entry permit is needed to travel from Victoria to NSW (exceptions apply). Visit the Service NSW website to apply, and view the media release for more information.

A new permit will be available Thursday 9 July to allow people to travel between NSW and VIC for work. Workers whose employer has a COVID-19 safety plan will not be required to self-isolate.

Visit the Border restrictions page on the NSW Government website for more information.

Support for employers to assist injured workers (UPDATED)

9 July2020 update

SIRA’s Support4work grant for small business provides financial assistance of $4,000 paid in two payments, to help a small business manage the recovery at work of an injured person, while the business recovers from the economic impact COVID-19. Visit the SIRA website for more information.

Business Connect: free advisors and online workshops (UPDATED)

9 July 2020 update

Business Connect has a range of pre-recorded webinars available to support small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the Business Connect website for more information.

Loan repayments deferment to help business owners (UPDATED)

9 July 2020 update

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) has confirmed banks will extend deferred repayments on loans for up to four months for customers continuing to experience financial difficulty and reduced income as a result of COVID-19. For more information, please visit the ABA website.

June 2020

Support for community sporting clubs and associations (New)

A one-off grant of up to $1,000 will be provided to close to 12,500 local sporting clubs and associations across NSW to assist clubs when sport resumes on 1 July. The grant is part of NSW Government’s $27.3 million Community Sport Recovery Package to help the sector get back on its feet.

View the media release and visit the NSW Office of Sport website for more information.


16 June 2020 update

From 1 July 2020:

  • Cultural and sporting events at outdoor venues with a maximum capacity of 40,000 are allowed up to 25 percent of their normal capacity. Events must be ticketed and seated and follow strict guidelines.

View more information on the 1 July changes. For more information on current restrictions, click here.

Information for businesses about protecting customers and staff (Updated)

15 June 2020 update

A small business planning tool is available from SafeWork Australia to help businesses manage work health and safety during COVID-19, and as restrictions ease. The tool outlines key steps and considerations for small business when operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit the SafeWork Australia website for more information and view the new planning tool.

COVID-19 recovery grant to help small business re-launch (New)

A new grant of up to $3,000 will help NSW small businesses in industries highly impacted by COVID-19 to safely re-launch their operations. Applications will open by 1 July 2020.

View the media release for more information.

Export assistance grant (New)

A $10,000 Export Assistance Grant will be available for up to 1,000 export ready or export capable NSW businesses, helping them access new markets or re-enter old ones where business has ceased. The grant is part of a $13 million package to boost regional business.

View the media release for more information.

NSW Government launches COVID Safe Check for business

10 June 2020 update

Businesses will be able to check, test and promote their COVID Safe credentials with the launch of the NSW Government’s online COVID Safe Check.

When businesses complete their COVID-Safe Plan online and self-declare, they are registered as COVID Safe. They will receive collateral (posters, stickers and digital assets for use in their premises and online) allowing customers to know that their business is COVID Safe.

Customers are invited to provide feedback on how successfully the business is achieving a COVID Safe environment. Customer feedback will be kept private and stored securely, and will be combined with overall feedback and provided to the business as statistics. This feedback will assist business owners with the knowledge and awareness to operate in an increasingly COVID Safe way.

View the media release and visit the NSW Government website for more information.

Business Connect: Free advisors and online workshops

10 June 2020 update

New Business Connect advisors are being deployed in NSW (in both metropolitan and regional areas) to help provide valuable advice and guidance.

Among the 40 new advisors are those who have experience running their own businesses in industries impacted by COVID-19, including the arts and creative industries, retail and tourism. Advisory sessions with Business Connect are currently free of charge.

View the media release and visit the NSW Government website or call 1300 134 359 for more information.

Resources to support healthy workplaces as restrictions ease

13 July 2020 update

The following resources can help businesses stay resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond:

  • Beyond Blue has a range of free resources to help employers, employees, managers and small businesses create mentally healthy workplaces, and a 24-hour hotline to support the mental wellbeing of Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call 1800 512 348 or visit the Beyond Blue Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service.
  • The My Business Health web portal offers dedicated holistic support for businesses to access financial support, to prepare, respond and recover as the economy reopens, and for seeking out emotional support.
  • Ahead for Business by is designed to help businesses understand mental health and manage business stress, and the service provides tailored recommendations, information and programs.

3 June 2020 update

May 2020

Commercial tenancy leases during COVID-19

28 May 2020 update

Content has been added to the Service NSW website outlining steps for tenants to negotiate commercial rents.

View lease negotiation steps.

Fee waivers for small business

28 May 2020 update

Premium rates for the Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer (which is managed by icare and covers many businesses and workers) will remain unchanged from 30 June 2020.

Customers can contact icare on 13 44 22 to discuss their individual business circumstances. Further details on COVID-19 measures and impacts are available on the icare website.

Easing of COVID-19 restrictions: information for small businesses

View the updated Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 4) 2020 for detailed information.

Information on the NSW Government website helps businesses get back to work in a COVID-safe way, covering topics such as:

Changes have been made to the list of premises required to have a COVID Safety Plan. COVID Safety Plans can be accessed here. This includes plans for the following industries:

April 2020

Financial support available to assist small-medium arts, cultural and screen organisations impacted by COVID-19

Funding will be available to NSW not-for-profit arts and cultural organisations assessed as being in financial distress across NSW on a case-by-case basis, in a $50 million package announced by NSW Government.

The Rescue and Restart package will be delivered in two stages:

  • Funding available now to enable NSW not-for-profit arts and cultural organisations to hibernate temporarily
  • Funding available in the coming months to enable NSW not-for-profit arts and cultural organisations to restart operations after the COVID-19 pandemic.


Service NSW

The NSW Government is providing financial support to ease the pressures on small business as a result of COVID-19.

A stimulus package is available for small businesses and covers taxes, rents and parking, and licence, registration and permit fee waivers. Other support initiatives include JobKeeper payments, small and medium enterprise guarantee scheme, access to superannuation for sole traders, instant asset write-off, boosting cash flow for employers and backing business incentives.

NSW workers and businesses can also access a range of advice and support on non-health related COVID-19 enquiries via the Service NSW contact centre on 13 77 88.

NSW SMall Business Commission

Businesses struggling with cashflow and making usual payments such as rent and a lease can contact the NSW Small Business Commission for advice. The Commission offers a confidential dispute resolution service and can also assist small businesses with issues in relation to insurance and regulatory concerns.

Find out more about:

SafeWork NSW

SafeWork NSW has launched a new web portal to support business and help them provide a mentally healthy workplace for all employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the portal.

Business Connect

Business Connect is now offering free online workshops and free advice. Their website contains over 60 workshops and webinars covering cash flow, emergency planning, pivoting a business model, setting up e-commerce and more.

All advice is now free advice – the client contribution has been waived. The cap on hours is also waived, and businesses who have previously accessed the maximum volume of services can now access more support if needed.

To find events specific to the coronavirus, visit their website and search for "COVID-19".

JobKeeper Subsidy

This subsidy helps eligible employers and employees stay connected. A payment of $1,500 per fortnight (before tax) will be paid to eligible employers, for up to six months, for each eligible employee that was on their books on 1 March 2020

First payments are expected to be received by eligible employers in the first week of May. Eligible employers can apply for the payment online and are able to register their interest via the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website.

On 21 July the government announced proposed changes to JobKeeper including an extension through to 28 March 2021 and the introduction of tiered payments for eligible staff from 28 September 2020. Visit the ATO website for more information.

Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)

If you are experiencing difficulties meeting your obligations to the ASIC due to COVID-19, you have the option of discussing payment plans and applying for fee waivers. Visit the ASIC website for more information.


Mental health is paramount at this challenging time. Many people and businesses are operating from home or working in different workplaces altogether. The COVID-19 recovery@work toolkit provides a one-stop shop for tips and resources to help with adjusting to new ways of working.


Further Information

Visit The Treasury for more information including guidelines on employer and employee eligibility. For more information on services that support small businesses, visit our Support Services page.

Last updated on 22 March 2022