What can the AMA do for us amid this pandemic?
Our executive committee has been working behind the scenes to provide a connection between suppliers and retailers as this crisis has deepened. And to provide as many resources as we can into one place that hopefully sends you to the right place.
At our remote meeting this week, the committee offered to be available should members need advice. If you could channel any urgent questions you have through Rob Walker – firstname.lastname@example.org, and if he can’t answer immediately or refer you to the right resources, we’ll workshop it amongst the group.
Members are anxious as to when they might be directed to close. And therefore, when they might be forced to stand staff down and so on – and rightly so.
The Fair Work website is prescriptive for businesses with staff matters and the coronavirus, and your accountant should guide you through it.
The AMA is also using it’s end-user platforms to inform the consumer about where they can get their gear. We will also be promoting initiatives that support people making music during these most difficult of times.
The association would not intervene in matters of a commercial nature, but recommends that retailers maintain pro-active communication with their suppliers throughout this crisis and vice versa of course. We will all have a role to play.
We wish you all the best through this crisis, and assure you of our support throughout it and on the other side.
Q What Resources can the AMA Provide?
Besides the information in this Q & A, (which we are updating
as often as we can with new information) we have designed a few generic
posters for you to print. These can be download at these links
Q How do I manage my staff if I am forced to close by business? Can any non-essential employees that cannot be provided with a reasonable workload off site be stood down? Are all casual staff shifts to be cancelled if a business is forced to shut down for any period of time?
Are all questions that have been filtering through the ether of the music retail network.
There are fairly clear guidelines at Fair Work Australia that directly addresses these and many more questions. CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION
Our group has observed a “we’re in this together” attitude in the industry and that frank and open discussions with staff are what’s required. We want their jobs available at the end of any shut down.
We have included information state-by-state of government assistance to workers.
The Australian Retailers Association conducted a Webinar on Managing Health and Safety in the Worplace – VIEW IT HERE
Will my business be forced to close?
There is much anxiety in arriving at the point when businesses are going to be asked to shut. Victoria and NSW are both working on tougher measures.
The current measures can be viewed here – What are non-essential activities?
At March 26, music retailers were able to trade, both instore and online – provided the work practices adhered to government guidelines.
Stores must apply a limit to the number of people that are instore at one time. Observe the 4m2 social distancing rule.
Stores must enforce strict personal hygiene measures. This may include providing staff with hospital-grade hand sanitiser and hand wash. Furthermore, staff should be advised to only cough into their elbows and regularly wipe down surfaces. Having hand sanitiser on retail counters in view of customers engenders confidence in the cleanliness of the store.
What government assistance is available for my business? And my People?
The Guardian produced a good overview of what federal assistance there is for both businesses and people, as well as a state-by-state guide. CLICK HERE
What do I have to do to get government PAYG credit funds if any are applicable to me?
As we understand it, Nothing. Up to 100k will be credited to qualifying businesses in the April activity cycle. If you are unsure whether you qualify call your accountant. There is a summary of the government
Can we still ship online orders and if so, how many staff?
Online orders can still be shipped. Freight, logistics, home delivery are considered essential. Operations would have to observe government social distancing regulations of the day (and it is changing by the day).
What do I do if I can’t pay rent?
The federal government has said that Renters plunged into economic hardship by the coronavirus will be protected from being kicked out of their homes under a national plan to protect Australians from homelessness.
This still has not happened with the federal government now looking to the States to put something formal in place
Tasmania has put a moratorium on rent of 120 days announced March 26.
Victoria and NSW has indicated it will make announcements this week.
What will supply look like in the coming months
Suppliers have different issues to deal with. Most suppliers have a broad supply chain. It is thought there would be 3 months stock – this will be a moot point if shut down of retail occurs. From all accounts this is being considered in Victoria and NSW at least. The real challenge will be down the track according to key wholesalers.
What About Laybys?
Retailers have started being asked to cancel and refund Laybys. As per Fair Trading regulations retailers are legally allowed to charge a cancellation fee. Our feedback has been that retailers have decided to wave that fee and refund anyone who needs their deposits back.
Summary of Government and Help Sites
- Australian Government – Economic Response to the Coronavirus
- Fairwork Australia – Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws
- Australian Tax Office – COVID-19 Support if you are experiencing difficulties
- Australian Banking Association – Help on offer for small businesses financially affected by coronavirus
- Worksafe – Preparing for a pandemic: guide for employers
- Monash City Council Hardship Policy – Financial Hardship Policy
- Lifeline – Mental health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak
- Beyond Blue – Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak