Major change to Covid disaster payments as $750 payments are STOPPED

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Covid disaster support payments of $750 will be stopped state-by-state as soon as 80 per cent vaccination rates are reached, forcing premiers to abandon lockdowns or leave workers out-of-pocket. 

The Morrison government said ongoing support payments, valued at $1.5billion for workers and businesses affected by lockdowns, would be phased out from October. 

As soon as each state or territory reaches 70 per cent vaccination rates the payment phasing out plan announced on Wednesday will be triggered. 

Currently the support amount is $750 for those who have lost more than 20 hours of work and $450 for those who lost less than 20 hours compared to the same period in 2019. 

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The cost of the payments is more than $1billion each week and have totaled about $9.35billion in payments to 2.18 million Australian since the scheme began.

At 70 per cent double-jabbed, expected in October for each state and territory, workers will need to reapply for each week their area remains a Commonwealth designated hotspot. 

Once the 80 per cent milestone is reached, people who have lost more than eight hours of work will get a reduced $450 payment for one week. 

Those who are on a $200 support payment will see that halved to $100. 

In the second week after the 80 per cent rate is hit, the payment will be further reduced to $320 for those who have lost more than eight hours and stopped for those on the lower payment. 

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After two weeks the funding taps will be turned off regardless of whether state and territory leaders continue to order lockdowns – meaning any workers shut out of their jobs under ongoing restrictions won’t receive a penny from the federal government.

Support payments for business will also be phased out. 

The announcement leaves workers and businesses already teetering on the financial edge after 18 months of intermittent lockdowns exposed to toppling over if premiers and chief health officers order another. 

‘As restrictions ease the economy is well positioned to bounce back,’ federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg said. 

‘Today’s announcement about the winding down of the Covid disaster payment will provide businesses and households with the certainty they need to plan for the future.’ 

FEDERAL COVID-19 DISASTER SUPPORT PAYMENTS PHASE OUT

When a state of territory reaches 70 per cent fully vaccinated, those getting payments need to reapply each week their area remains a Commonwealth designated hotspot. 

At 80 per cent the $750 payment reduces to $450 for one week and income support $200 payments are halved. 

In the second week after the 80 per cent mark, the payment reduces to $320 for those who have lost more than eight hours work – in line with the JobSeeker payment. Income support payments will also be stopped. 

At two weeks after 80 per cent vaccination target the payments will stop regardless of any restrictions or lockdowns in place by state and territory leaders.

Business support payments will also end after the 80 per cent vaccination target is reached. 

The phasing out plan for support payments follows NSW, Victoria and the ACT announcing their roadmaps out of lockdown in recent days. 

In line with the plan agreed at National Cabinet, restrictions will begin to be eased at 70 per cent vaccination with almost all removed by the end of 2021 as more of the population is immunised. 

Under the current reopening plans many workers could experience a sudden reduction in income as payments are phased out with venues unable to immediately return to full capacity. 

In NSW fully-vaccinated residents at 70 per cent coverage can go to small indoor gatherings and access hospitality venues and hairdressers.

Those freedoms will almost certainly be triggered on October 11.

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At 80 per cent coverage, expected around October 25, travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW will again be permitted.

Gathering caps will increase to 10 fully vaccinated visitors in homes, 20 people outdoors, a maximum of 200 people for COVID-safe events and up to 500 people at ticketed and seated events.

Entertainment venues such as cinemas and theatres can operate at 75 per cent capacity, libraries and museums can reopen and community sport will resume. Nightclubs will remain closed.

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Caps will lift for retail stores, personal services such as hairdressers and hospitality venues, but group bookings are limited to 20 people.

Gathering limits will also lift for weddings, funerals and religious services, while masks will remain mandatory indoors.

A plan for aged care settings is yet to be completed.

From December 1, unvaccinated people are able to reintegrate with society when the ‘four square metre’ social distancing rule reverts to two square metres.

Almost all remaining restrictions will ease at this point, including on all gatherings, all business, office, hospitality and entertainment settings and all weddings, funerals and religious services.

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NSW’s roadmap to freedom 

Restrictions eased at 80 per cent: 

Gladys Berejiklian has released a roadmap revealing the new freedoms that will be granted to residents when 80 per cent of NSW is double jabbed. 

The below restrictions will only be eased for fully-vaccinated residents. 

Home and outdoor public space gatherings: 

-Up to 10 visitors will be allowed in a home (not including children 12 and under).  

-Up to 20 people can continue to gather in unregulated outdoor settings. 

-Up to 200 people can attend COVID Safe events. 

-Up to 500 people can attend controlled (ticketed and seated) events  Community sport permitted.

-Those who are not fully vaccinated may only gather outdoors in groups of 2 people. 

Hospitality venues, retail stores and gyms: 

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-Retail stores can operate at one person per 4 sqm (those who are not fully vaccinated will continue to only have access to non-critical retail via click-andcollect).  

-Personal services such as hairdressers, spa, nail, beauty, waxing, tattoo and massage) can operate with one person per 4 sqm (uncapped). 

-Hospitality venues can operate with one person per 4 sqm inside and one person per 2 sqm outside, with the requirement to be seated while drinking indoors removed. Group bookings will be limited to 20 people. Those who are not fully vaccinated can only access hospitality settings for takeaway.  

-Gyms and indoor recreation facilities (excluding indoor pools) can operate with one person per 4sqm, capped at 20 people per class. 

Major outdoor recreation facilities:

-Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can operate with one person per 4 sqm, capped at 5,000 people (or by exemption). 

Entertainment, information and education facilities:

-Entertainment facilities (including cinemas, theatres, music halls) can operate with one person per 4 sqm or 75 per cent fixed seated capacity (whichever is larger).  

-Information and education facilities (including libraries, galleries and museums) can operate with one person per 4 sqm.  

-Amusement centres and nightclubs will remain closed.

Working from home:

-Employers must continue to allow employees to work from home, if reasonably practicable.  

-Employers must require employees who are not fully vaccinated to work from home, if reasonably practicable. 

Education:

-Return to school with COVID Safe measures on 25 October (as previously announced). 

Weddings, funerals and places of worship: 

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-One person per 4sqm (uncapped) for weddings with dancing permitted and eating and drinking allowed while standing. Those who are not fully vaccinated may only attend weddings with a maximum of 5 guests (no receptions). 

-One person per 4 sqm (uncapped) for funerals. Those who are not fully vaccinated may only attend funerals with a maximum of 10 people.  

-Churches and places of worship can continue to open with one person per 4 sqm, with no singing. Those who are not fully vaccinated will be allowed.  

Travel:

-Unrestricted trips between Greater Sydney and Regional NSW will be permitted.  

-Caravan parks and camping grounds can operate, including for those who are not fully vaccinated. 

-Carpooling is permitted. Those who are not fully vaccinated can only carpool with their household. 

Masks:

-Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor premises and settings, except children under 12.  

-Only hospitality staff will be required to wear a mask while outdoors.

More restrictions eased on December 1 

More restrictions will be eased on December 1. This time, the new freedoms will apply to all residents, regardless of vaccination status. 

Home and outdoor gatherings:

-No limit on the number of visitors to a home  

-Density will shift to one person per 2 sqm for indoor and outdoor settings  No limit on the number of people who can attend informal outdoor gatherings

-COVID Safe plan required for outdoor events with more than 1,000 people  Community sport permitted for all people. 

Hospitality venues, retail stores and gyms:

-Retail stores can operate at one person per 2 sqm 

-Personal services such as hairdressers, spa, nail, beauty, waxing, tattoo and massage can operate with one person per 2 sqm  

-Hospitality venues can operate with one person per 2 sqm inside and outside, with no seating required for eating and drinking  

-Gyms and indoor recreation facilities, including indoor pools, can operate with one person per 2 sqm (uncapped)  

-Intimate services can open with one person per 4 sqm 

Major outdoor recreation facilities:

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-Major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos can operate with one person per 2 sqm. 

Entertainment, information and education facilities: 

-Entertainment facilities (including cinemas, theatres, music halls) can operate with one person per 2 sqm  

-Information and education facilities (including libraries, museums and galleries) can operate with one person per 2 sqm  

-Amusement centres and nightclubs can open with one person per 4 sqm

Working from home:

-Working from home will be at employer’s discretion 

Education: 

-All year groups return to face-to-face learning.

Weddings, funerals and places of worship:

-One person per 2 sqm for weddings with dancing permitted and eating and drinking allowed while standing  

-One person per 2 sqm for funerals  

-Churches and places of worship can operate with one person per 2 sqm, with singing permitted. 

Travel:

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-Domestic travel, including trips between Greater Sydney and Regional NSW  Caravan parks and camping grounds can operate  

-Carpooling is permitted  

-Quarantine settings for vaccinated arrivals will be altered. A cap on unvaccinated travellers may remain. 

Masks:

-Masks wearing will be mandatory while travelling on public transport, on planes and at airports, and for front-of-house hospitality workers.  

-Mask wearing is not required when outdoors. 

 

Victorians will finally be released from lockdown on October 26 when the state is predicted to hit 70 per cent double vaccination. 

There will no longer be any restrictions on leaving home, the 9pm-5am curfew will be scrapped and the travel distance extended to 25km.  

Students in Year 12 will return to on-site learning as early as the first week of October with all pupils to return to classrooms at least part-time. 

Fully-vaccinated residents will be allowed to gather outdoors in groups of 10, with pubs, clubs and restaurants to open for 50 double-dosed people outdoors. 

Weddings and funerals will resume with a cap on 50 vaccinated guests with hairdressing and personal care services to restart for five vaccinated clients.  

Mr Andrews promised Christmas Day would be as normal as possible with 30 visitors to be allowed inside homes once 80 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. 

‘Make no mistake, we are opening this state up,’ Mr Andrews declared. 

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Victoria’s roadmap out of lockdown

When the state hits 70 per cent double vaccination on October 26: 

*No restrictions on leaving home and 9pm-5am curfew scrapped with the travel limit increased to 25km

*Masks will remain mandatory both indoors and outdoors 

*Year 12 students will return to the classroom from the first week of October

*Kindergarten to Year 2 will then return to school followed by all remaining years which are due to be back by the end of the month

*Early childcare to reopen for children of fully vaccinated parents

*General retail will reopen for outdoor service only with click and collect services to remain available

*Hair salons will reopen for the fully-vaccinated with a limit on five patrons

*Hospitality will reopen for seated and outdoor service only for fully-vaccinated patrons and a capacity limit of 50

*Fully-vaccinated groups can gather outdoors in groups of ten while unvaccinated groups will be capped at five

*Entertainment venues will be reopened for 50 fully vaccinated people for outdoor services only

*Groups of 50 fully vaccinated or 10 unvaccinated people will be able to attend outdoor weddings

Groups of 50 fully vaccinated or 20 unvaccinated people will be able to attend outdoor funerals 

When the state hits 80 per cent double vaccination on November 5:

*Ten people including dependents will be allowed inside homes with masks only to be required while indoors

*Pubs, restaurants and cafes can open for seated service only, with a cap of 150 fully vaccinated people inside and 500 outdoors

*Indoor dining will also be capped at 150 people while 30 people will be permitted to gather outside

*Gyms will reopen to the fully vaccinated with indoor community sport to be permitted for the minimum number required

*Victorians will still be asked to work from home if possible but will be allowed to travel to work if they are fully-vaccinated

*Hair salons, beauty and personal care services will be available to the double-jabbed and all retail stores can reopen

*Early childcare education will reopen with all students to return to school with additional safety measures in place

*Weddings, funerals and religious services will return for 150 double-dosed guests indoors and 500 outdoors

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