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Update on COVID-19- The safety of our communities, customers and staff is our top priority. We are continuing to monitor daily developments in response to COVID-19. Find out the latest.

COVID-19 business support

To help businesses during COVID-19, we have established a business support service to provide information on government support, advice and professional services.

Call our Small Business Support Hotline on 02 4988 0255 or email ed@portstephens.nsw.gov.au and our team will connect you with the advice and support you need.

Help to operate your business safely

Here are some frequently asked questions for businesses operating during COVID-19.

Create a COVID Safe plan.

To work out how many people can be in your business at once, use the square metre rules:
  • calculate the area of the room (length of room in metres x width of room in metres = area of room in square metres)
  • divide the area of the room by 2 or 4 (depending on your location).

For example, if you had a room that was 160 square metres, you should only allow up to 40 people in the room to allow each person to have 4 square metres of space.

You must also make sure people keep at least 1.5 metres apart wherever possible.

You should consider and make adjustments to the layout of the workplace to enable workers to keep at least 1.5 metres apart.

For example, this could be achieved by, spreading out furniture or plant to increase distancing, or considering floor and/or wall markings and signage to identify 1.5 metres distancing requirements.

Where people can't physically distance, consider wearing a mask.

We can help supply floor stickers and posters to support physical distancing in your business. Contact us for details on 02 4988 0255 or email ed@portstephens.nsw.gov.au

Employers and business operators may become aware a case has been linked to them by:

  • being notified by public health authorities
  • an employee or other contractor notifying them that they have been diagnosed.

The NSW Government has advice on what to do if your business has been linked to a COVID-19 case.

Isolate them and seek help.

Anyone who is unwell should not be at a workplace. If anyone develops symptoms at work such as fever, cough, sore throat or shortness of breath, you should ask them to seek medical advice. You are not expected, and should not try, to diagnose workers.

If you reasonably suspect someone at work has the virus, or has been exposed, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Isolate the person to prevent the spread.
  2. Call the National Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for advice.
  3. Ensure the person has transport either home or to a medical facility, if necessary.
  4. Clean and disinfect.
  5. Identify and tell close contacts.
  6. Review risk management controls in consultation with your workers.
  • Visit Safe Work Australia for in-depth information on what to do if you reasonably suspect someone at work has COVID-19.

It’s important to have posters around the workplace to remind workers and customers about the risks of COVID-19.

Disinfecting kills germs.

Cleaning physically removes germs (bacteria and viruses), dirt and grime using a detergent and water solution.

Disinfecting chemically kills germs on surfaces. It’s important to clean before disinfecting to ensure it’s effective. Disinfectants contain more than 70% alcohol.

Find out more about proper cleaning and disinfecting for businesses from Safe Work Australia.

Financial help

If you're experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, please contact your bank or creditors immediately. Most will to proactively work with you towards a solution.

Practical advice

COVID-19 and Australian workplace laws – find out about workplace entitlements and obligations.

Business advice

Destination Port Stephens is committed to supporting the tourism sector during this difficult time. Access Destination Port Stephens' resources for local businesses.

Free business mentoring — talk through your situation and develop strategies to minimise the impact and take advantage of opportunities. Phone Cheryl Royle on 0407 991 277

Need some inspiration? COVID-19 has impacted small businesses in different ways, and many have re-invented or re-launched their products and services to reach new markets and take advantage of new opportunities. In a series of interviews, small businesses share how they shifted the way they work to reach new customers while facing the challenges of COVID-19.

The Business Centre in Newcastle is running a free Business Disruption webcast series providing practical support and information for businesses. You can watch the following webcasts online:

The Business Centre also provides 4 hours of free advice with a dedicated business expert who will work with you on specific challenges.

The University of Newcastle's Business School discusses How Industry Placement 'Works' in this 1 hour webinar.

Introduced by Mayor Ryan Palmer and featuring Dr Paul Stolk on what’s required from businesses, the types of projects students can work in during their 100 hour placement and the opportunities this creates for businesses.

Jan Dobbie (Varley), Mel Rowe (Newcastle Airport) and Naomi Farrelly (Lighthouse Tourism) shared their experiences from an employer perspective.

View the webinar now.

Hints, tips and ideas

  • Try and keep it local as much as possible. If you are shopping online, consider buying from local businesses before you use the big online platforms. Similarly, if your household or business will benefit from the economic stimulus package, please think about spending or investing that money within the region where you can.
  • Can you deliver your services online? Learn how to host an online event or webinar that live event attendees will love.
  • If staff are underutilised, can they take advantage of an online learning or professional development opportunity while away from the office? Learn something new online for free — try FutureLearn and EDX and University of Newcastle.
  • Check out the myriad of podcasts on offer. Try The Company You Keep.

Helpful links