Coronavirus in Tasmania: Financial help and advice
Find information on Tasmanian stimulus packages, border closures, school and business shutdowns and more.
Tasmanian coronavirus help and contact information
This page has information about coronavirus in Tasmania. We're updating it with the latest government announcements, including information on stimulus packages and financial support for Tasmanian residents and businesses affected by COVID-19.
- If you think you may have COVID-19 due to travel or contact with someone confirmed to have it, call the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.
- The Tasmanian government department of health has set up a coronavirus page that includes information about restrictions on entering the state, along with further resources.
What's in this guide?
- Tasmanian coronavirus help and contact information
- Tasmanian state stimulus packages, financial support and relief
- Current advice on school and business closures and other restrictions
- Ban on evictions to support renters
- Current travel restrictions
- Where to get help for COVID-19 in Tasmania
- Mental health and wellbeing
- More coronavirus support and information
Tasmanian state stimulus packages, financial support and relief
The Tasmanian government announced a $420 million support package to support businesses and workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. On 17 March 2020, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said this was the first stage of the package and further measures will be included in the state budget.
"We are working on a second Tasmanian Government stimulus package that will help Tasmanians even further, and I will announce this in coming days," Gutwein said in a media statement.
Below, we have summarised the key details of the initial $420 million support package.
Individuals and families
- Emergency relief payments. People required to self-isolate by public health as a result of coronavirus can access one-off emergency relief payments of $250 for individuals and up to $1,000 for families.
- Emergency accommodation. An emergency accommodation support fund of $1 million will be established for individuals and families who have been placed in home quarantine and cannot return to their regular place of residence due to self-isolation measures being in place.
If you are struggling financially, you may also be eligible for support through the federal coronavirus stimulus package.
- Small business support loans. The Tasmanian government has allocated $20 million towards interest-free loans for hospitality, tourism, seafood and export businesses with an annual turnover of less than $5 million. You can apply for a loan to purchase equipment or restructure business operations, with a maximum interest-free period of up to three years.
- Payroll tax waiver. Businesses working in hospitality, tourism and seafood will not have to pay the state payroll tax for the last four months of the 2019-20 financial year. This is estimated to save businesses around $7 million. Other small to medium businesses affected by coronavirus can apply to have payroll taxes waived for the three months from March to June 2020 if they have an annual turnover of less than $5 million.
- Youth employment payroll tax rebate. From 1 April 2020, the state will introduce this rebate to encourage businesses to employ young people.
- Apprentice and trainee support. $2.1 million worth of one-off $5,000 grants will be available for businesses that hire an apprentice or trainee. This is designed to complement the Federal Government's apprenticeship package.
- Faster payments from government agencies. Unless otherwise required by contractual arrangements, the normal terms of trade for payments by government agencies will be reduced from 30 days to 14 days. This could assist the cash flow of small business by requiring agencies to pay quicker.
- Reduced liquor licensing fees. The Tasmanian government will provide a 50% discount on liquor licensing fees and waive all application fees for the calendar year, backdated to 1 January 2020.
If you run a business in Tasmania and want to discuss your support options, call Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or visit the dedicated coronavirus page on the Business Tasmania website.
Other tourism specific support measures
In addition to the business support measures above, the Tasmanian state government has announced the following:
- $100,000 for the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Hospitality Association.
- Waived tourism operator lease, licence and entry fees for the fourth quarter of 2019-20, benefiting around 300 tourism businesses.
- Waived annual fees and levies for rock lobster, giant crab and fin fisheries as well as abalone divers, with an estimated government cost of $670,000.
Health, mental health and charities
- Organisations supporting vulnerable people. $1 million of support has been allocated to Communities Tasmania for organisations that are providing food hampers, medical supplies or counselling, such as the Salvation Army, The Red Cross and Rural Business Tas.
- Primary health care sector support. $2 million will be made available to ensure that GPs, pharmacists and other health care providers are supported. Examples of how this money could be used include the purchase of PPE (primary protective equipment) and minor capital works.
- Front line worker accommodation. $1 million to help front line workers with accommodation needs so they can continue to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Mental health organisations. The state government will provide an additional $1 million in grants to mental health organisations to support individuals experiencing mental health difficulties as a result of the challenges associated with the pandemic.
Public sector stimulus
- Interest-free loans for local governments. $50 million in interest-free loans over 3 years will be available to encourage local governments to invest and employ Tasmanians to upgrade, renovate and do necessary maintenance on tourism assets.
- Public building maintenance. The government will bring forward $50 million for the maintenance of public buildings over the next 12 months.
- Business advice services. The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been allocated $80,000 in assistance to provide advice to businesses on the implications of related workplace issues.
Current advice on school and business closures and other restrictions
The Tasmanian Department of Education has stated "schools will remain open for as long as it is safe to do so" on its website.
But parents can choose to keep their children at home during the coronavirus outbreak. The department asks that parents let the school know in writing if they have chosen to take their child or children out of school at this time.
Business shutdowns and restrictions
The federal government announced the closure of the following types of businesses:
- Hotels, pubs, casinos, clubs and other registered and licensed venues
- Cinemas and other entertainment venues
- Gyms, indoor sports venues and swimming pools
- Auctions and open house inspections
- Galleries, museums and libraries
- Amusement parks, arcades and play centres
- Outdoor and indoor markets, with some individual states and territories able to make decisions around major food markets that may be considered as providing "essential services"
- Beauty therapy, tanning salons, spas, massage parlours and tattoo parlours
On 24 March 2020, the federal government announced that the following types of businesses were able to trade with some restrictions:
- Restaurants, cafes and food courts. These businesses can only offer delivery or takeaway services.
- Weddings. Restricted to 5 people: the couple getting married, the celebrant and 2 witnesses.
- Funerals. Restricted to 10 people.
- Bootcamps and personal training. Restricted to 10 people and must observe social distancing measures. Note that these businesses and individuals must also follow the rules around the closure of gyms and indoor sports venues, so it is likely these activities would be outside.
On 29 March 2020, the federal government announced the following updates to restrictions:
- Indoor and outdoor gatherings are limited to 2 people. Exceptions include people living in the same household, family units, weddings (maximum 5 people) and funerals (maximum 10 people)
- Playgrounds, skate parks and outside gyms are closed
- Fitness bootcamps are limited to 2 people (including the instructor)
- People are advised to stay indoors unless they are exercising, shopping for essentials, going to a medical appointment or going to work
On 02 April the Tasmanian government announced a temporary ban on horse and greyhound racing.
Ban on evictions to support renters
To support struggling renters the Tasmanian government has issued a moratorium on evictions during the pandemic. Tenants still need to pay their rent, but a landlord cannot evict a tenant for 120 days. This period may be extended if the pandemic continues.
Learn more about support for renters in each state here.
Current travel restrictions
From March 29, all non-essential travellers who arrive in Tasmania, either through airports or the ferry port, will be placed into a Government-operated facility for 14 days of self-quarantine. This includes both interstate visitors and Tasmanians who are returning home. Premier Gutwein announced that these facilities would be operated by Communities Tasmania and managed by Tasmania Police with support from the Australian Defence Force.
Essential travellers may be exempt from the 14-day quarantine period, although they will still need to observe strict quarantine measures. Essential travellers could include the following:
- Senior government officials
- Active military personnel who will be working in Tasmania while there
- Health clinicians who are requested by the Secretary of the Department of Health to present for duty in Tasmania
- Transport, freight and logistics workers
- Paramedics and ambulance officers
You must apply for essential traveller status before arriving to be considered in this category.
Fines of up to $16,800 apply for breaching the quarantine. Note that travel restrictions do not apply to Tasmanian residents on King Island, Flinders Island or other state islands if they need to fly into mainland Tasmania.
A ban has also been placed on all non-essential international travel, effective from 25 March 2020.
Any interstate travel will require you to observe the state or territory travel requirements.
Where to get help for COVID-19 in Tasmania
If you're showing symptoms of coronavirus and would like to arrange testing, please contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 first as testing clinics are not available unless you have an appointment. Your GP can also refer you to a clinic, as long as they have assessed you as a patient and believe you require the COVID-19 test. Remember to call your GP before seeing them to tell them about your symptoms and any travel details.
There are currently four respiratory clinics open in Tasmania with coronavirus testing available. The clinics are located in Hobart, Launceston, Burnie and Latrobe.
After being referred to a clinic, patients will be assessed and tested by a nurse. You are then required to return home to quarantine until you have been told your test result. Results are usually available within 24 hours.
The following contact numbers may also be helpful:
- Tasmanian Interpreting Service (TIS): 13 14 50
- National coronavirus hotline: 1800 020 080
- Emergencies: 000
Mental health and wellbeing
If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or unsupported, the following organisations can help.
- Lifeline Australia (13 11 14) offers crisis support services and short-term support for those who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.
- Kids Helpline (1800 551 800) offers free and confidential counselling services for young people aged 5 to 25 years, both online and over the phone.
- Tasmanian Mental Health Services Helpline (1800 322 388) offers mental health advice, assessments and referrals when you or someone you know is experiencing difficulty coping.
More coronavirus support and information
If you're struggling financially because of the coronavirus, check out some of our guides below:
Ask an Expert