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.


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 and 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.


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 a 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