Tasmania's tourism sector "has had the rug pulled out from underneath it" due to the pandemic. Image by MEDIANET IMAGES PHOTO


Tasmania boosts small business virus help

2020-07-30 15:40:01

The Tasmanian government will roll out an extra $20 million in support for small businesses struggling in the coronavirus pandemic. 

The extra funding, on top of an earlier $60 million package, was announced on Wednesday. 

It includes $17 million for grants and $3 million towards existing small business support programs and mental health support.

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Michael Bailey said the money would be especially useful for accommodation and hospitality businesses. 

The island state, which relies heavily on interstate and international tourism, was the first jurisdiction to close its borders in mid-March.

It will reopen to South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory on August 7 but is staying closed to remaining states and territories indefinitely. 

“The visitor economy has had the rug pulled out from underneath it,” Mr Bailey told reporters. 

“Unless we can really see borders change quickly, there may need to be future support as well.”

Applications for the grants of $5000 will be open for three weeks from August 3.

More than 18,200 small businesses have already received state government grant support. 

Tasmania has just one active COVID-19 case, a young woman who tested positive while in hotel quarantine on July 20 after returning from Victoria. 

The state has gone more than two months without a new case.