Help for Businesses

COVID-19 business resources

Customer Service officer receiving a phone call

Regional Victoria Roadmap to Recovery

We understand that Victoria's coronavirus restriction levels are regularly changing. For information on our pathway to 'COVID Normal' see the Regional Victorian Roadmap to Recovery.


Outdoor dining

The City of Ballarat is working to make it as easy as possible for our hospitality industry to re-open. We are working with Food Act registered businesses to help facilitate outdoor dining for those who haven’t had it previously, or an expanded outdoor dining footprint for those who have.

We have waived outdoor dining permit fees to allow hospitality businesses immediate outdoor dining options.

The City of Ballarat is currently: 

  • Consulting with Food Act registered businesses throughout Ballarat so that they are ready to start or expand their outdoor dining offer, as soon as it is permitted
  • All new and existing permits will be valid until July 2023. Fees will be waived until the end of January 2022. Applications after this date will need to pay the full fee
  • Businesses who have already paid their fees will be given a refund.
  • This is in addition to waivers and deferrals of fees and charges, including liquor licensing fees, offered by the Victorian Government as part of the recovery plan to get businesses operating again.
  • To apply for a free temporary limited outdoor liquor licence visit Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation

Apply for an Outdoor Dining Permit

Read the 'Opening Your Business Safely' information below.


Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package

The Victorian Government's Business Resilience Package allows Ballarat businesses to apply for funds to purchase outdoor dining equipment to serve patrons outside, such as umbrellas, furniture, screens and other equipment 
Grant Amount: Up to $5,000 
Closes: 11 December, 2020 
Eligibility: Hospitality businesses, including restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs

Apply for the Outdoor eating and entertainment package business grant


Licensed Hospitality Business Grants

Support is still available for licensed pubs, clubs, hotels, bars, restaurants and reception centres to help them survive through ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. 
Businesses can opt whether they choose foe the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund or the Business Support Fund (Round 3) 
To find out which grant is best for your business, consult with your accountant.  
Grants up to $25,000 


Using a City of Ballarat space for recreation

The City of Ballarat recognise the challenges facing Ballarat’s recreation industry, in particular our gyms, fitness centres, recreational studios and spaces.
If you cannot operate indoors, we encourage you to work with the City of Ballarat to find alternative solutions.  
To help you, we have waived the fee for using a Council owned outdoor space during COVID-19 restrictions.

Applying for an outdoor recreation space is easy: 

  1. Apply for an Activity Permit
  2. Please contact Council on 03 5320 5500 or to discuss the availability of the site you wish to use  
  3. Remember to follow the restrictions and advice of the Victorian Government.


Frequently asked questions 

How long will it take to get a permit? 
We will endeavour to process your application within one week 
How long does this permit last? 
Up to 12 months.  
Do I need a permit? 
Yes, if you would like to use a Council owned space, you will need a Local Law Activity Permit. 

Why do I need to apply? 
There are two reasons you need to apply:

  1. If you make a commercial gain while using a Council space, a permit is required under Council’s Community Local Law 2017 (Clause 66.19)
  2. This helps our community ensure we are adhering to the Department of Health & Human Services physical distancing guidelines.

How much will this cost?  
Council has waived the fee associated with using Council outdoor spaces for recreational purposes.  

I no longer need the space, do I need to cancel? 
Yes. Cancelling the space allows the opportunity for other users to use it.


Need further recreation support?

We realise that not every business can operate outdoors. If you fall into this category, please touch base with us. We will be pleased to explore other ways we can help you.

Grants and Fee Waivers

In addition to the fee waivers for outdoor dining, the following fees have been waived for businesses operating within Ballarat: 

  • Footpath trading, inclusive of a-frame signage and display of goods
  • Fees for the recreation industry to use a City of Ballarat space
  • Access fees to the Australian Tourism Database Warehouse for tourism businesses 

Businesses facing financial hardship are encouraged to contact the City of Ballarat to discuss their options.


Business Support Fund (Round 3)  

Grant range: $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the business’ annual payroll 
Closing23 November 2020 (or when funds are exhausted) 
Eligibility: To be eligible for a grant from this program, applicants must meet all of the following criteria: 

  • Operate a business located within Victoria;  
  • Participate in the Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper Payment scheme;  
  • Employ people and be registered with WorkSafe;  
  • Have had an annual payroll of less than $10 million in 2019-20;  
  • Be registered for Goods and Services Tax (GST) ;  
  • Hold an Australian Business Number (ABN);  
  • Be registered with the responsible Federal or State regulator. 
  • Business who have received the Licensed Hospitality Business Grant <provide link in page> are not eligible to also receive this grant

Apply for the Third round of the Business Support Fund



Sole Trader Support Fund 

Grant Amount: $3,000 
Closing: 23 November 2020 (or when funds are exhausted) 
Eligibility: Sole traders who operate from a commercial premises or location as a tenant, in sectors such as Retail, Accommodation and food services, Creative and media, Hairdressing, Gyms, Events, Education & Training

Apply for the Sole Trader Support Fund



Export Recovery Package 

Support for Victorian exporters to get their products to market by addressing logistics and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic. 
Businesses will be connected to international markets through virtual trade missions as well as assistance to adapt their export strategies to respond to the rapidly changing global market.

Learn about the Victorian Government's Export Recovery Package.


Looking for more grants and support? 

Reopening your business safely

To help keep our community healthy, it is important that you are familiar with the restrictions in place for your business. Together we can help to stop the spread of COVID-19. 
Do I need a COVIDSafe Plan?  
All businesses in Victoria that have five or more people working on any premises must have a COVIDSafe Plan in place

This is enforceable and the Victorian Government will be conducting random spot checks.

You may also need a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan, depending on what industry you are in.  

Do I need a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan? 
Maybe. If your business falls in one of the following sectors, you will need a High Risk COVIDSafe Plan

  • construction 
  • postal and distribution 
  • meat processing 
  • medical and pharmaceutical supply 
  • supermarkets and distribution centres
  • wholesale trade and warehousing 

Where do I start in preparing a COVIDSafe plan? 
Information and resources to assist you are available on the Victorian Government Coronavirus website.  

Is there a template I can use? 
Yes. A COVIDSafe Plan template is available on the Victorian Government Coronavirus website. Signage templates are available too. 
Further questions 
The City of Ballarat Environmental Health Unit is available to speak to regarding your operating obligations.  
Phone: 5320 5702  

For more information on restrictions and for support to help form your workplace plan to respond to coronavirus, visit Business Victoria.

The Victorian Government has developed Industry Restart Guidelines with information applicable to each sector including hospitality and accommodation.

Further Support

Additional support is available from the following organisations: 

  • Commerce Ballarat 
    Commerce Ballarat is offering access to resources, webinars and other online events to members and non-members.
  • Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry 
    Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry will waive membership fees for one year for all Victorian businesses (up to $700 value). Existing members will receive an additional $500 credit.
  • Central Highlands Water 
    Central Highland Water have additional support options are available to residential and business customers during COVID-19.
  • Business Victoria 
    Business Victoria provide an range of programs, grants and information about business support services for Victorian businesses.

Economic Response Contact Centre

We have a dedicated team, available to talk to you about how Council can assist and support you. Please contact our Economic Response Contact Centre

Hours: 8:30am – 5pm Monday to Friday  
Call: 5320 5500