Letter to Member; COVID-19. Reopening Businesses & Services, REX, JobKeeper Extension, COVIDSafe, Mental Health (29 April 2020)

April 29, 2020

Dear Member/Friend,

Activity seems to be slowly picking up in the Armidale CBD. I urge you again to support these businesses while keeping within the social distancing rules.

Should any business be doubting as to whether to reopen or struggling financially to do so, please contact Mandy Walker, business coach on 0459 909 618. Alternatively, talk to your bank or financial adviser. One of our sponsors, Regional Australia Bank, are also available to deal with any enquiries you may have. I am available to assist where possible. Please feel free to call me.

Rex has announced that following the receipt of additional funding from the Federal Government and several State Governments, it will resume service to Armidale, offering 2 weekly return services. I have not been able to obtain the commencement dates, though early May would be likely. The flight timetable is presently being determined.

The ATO has extended the employee payment to 8 May 2020. For the first two fortnights (30 March 2020 – 12 April 2020 and 13 April 2020 – 26 April 2020) the ATO will accept the minimum payment of $1,500.00 provided it is paid by 8 May 2020. You must pay your employees by that date otherwise you will not be able to claim JobKeeper for those fortnights.

Here is a link to the ATO to assist with navigating JobKeeper: https://www.ato.gov.au/general/JobKeeper-Payment/

You may have thought that you do not qualify for JobKeeper, because you are a start-up or operate through different entities for example. The rules about qualification for the package have been expanded as mentioned in my last newsletter. If you are in doubt please seek advice.

Last Sunday, 26 April 2020, the Federal Government launched the app, COVIDSafe. The app uses technology to enable the government to quickly identify people who have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.  That work to date has been done manually. The App enables much quicker action to stop the spread of the virus provided sufficient people download the App. There has been a lot of discussion about privacy issues associated with use of the app. I make no comment about that and refer you the Prime Minister’s media statement today:


For myself, I have downloaded the App.

COVID-19 apart from causing severe physical symptoms among those who fall ill,  has imposed a very considerable mental stress to all Australians as we try to manage our personal and business lives. At a personal level the social distancing rules create hardship hurt and pain and put families under stress. For people in business who lose their jobs or have closed their business for example it is an awful time, difficult to manage and difficult to see your way out of. Digger’s ditch comes to mind.

While it looks as if things are on the mend with some rules changing, we may be forgetting our mental health; where we were 3 weeks ago and where we are now.

Help helps. Please contact any of the following to talk:


Take care and stay distant.

Best wishes


Anthony Fox
Armidale Business Chamber
m. 0402 838 077


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