* The coronavirus pandemic has led many businesses to shift their employees from an office set-up to work from home arrangements. * We reached out to companies such as Canva, Employment Hero and Culture Amp to find out what initiatives they have implemented to keep staff motivated while working from home. * Some of the perks include 'virtual pubs', stipends to order lunch and even extra days of leave if someone has to self-isolate. * Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.* * *Many companies are making their employees work from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with some dishing out the perks to make it an easy transition.Canva, Culture Amp, SAP and SafetyCulture are just a handful of the many tech companies that have got their employees working remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic.We spoke to these companies to find out what they have been doing to keep staff connected and motivated during this period. Canva Canva not only managed to get its more than 800-strong workforce working remotely in less than 24 hours but also managed to implement a range of initiatives to keep its workers productive while at home.The company offers staff a daily stipend for lunch to support small businesses in their community, holds virtual company-wide Netflix nights and hosts Friday night musical acts via Zoom to support local artists who can't get gigs.Oh and there's more. Canva has moved all of its clubs online including its meditation, wine and pasta clubs. It has an internal website filled with daily updates, work from home tips and Slack channels with food challenges and podcast suggestions.The company's resident chefs have even developed weekly menus, shopping lists and how-to videos with cheap and easy recipes employees can follow. Meanwhile, Canva's resident health and wellbeing coach delivers fitness sessions via Zoom. Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins told Business Insider Australia via email the company has emphasised a culture employees love working in since it launched. "This same ethos has continued as we’ve moved our entire team to remote working," she said. "Early on, we decided our guiding principles are to ensure our team’s safety and well-being, to support our community, and to rally together and grow. These principles have guided all of our decisions during recent weeks, and make sure we all move in the same direction."Perkins added that most of Canva's work is already being done online, making its transition to remote working "relatively smooth". "We’ve concentrated extra effort on connecting team members across the business," she said. "We’ve increased proactive communication and context sharing, with weekly company-wide meetings and a host of new initiatives. It’s been critical that we continue the same special traditions as we have moved online, to help our team stay connected, to continue striving to do the best work of their lives, and to create a product that serves our community."And for companies that may be employing work from home arrangements for the first time, Perkins emphasised social connection. "The whole world is in the same boat right now, while everyone has to be physically distanced, it’s important we keep our social connection," she said. "We’ve implored our whole team to have compassionate leadership - to be compassionate with their teams, compassionate with their communities and compassionate with themselves." Culture Amp Australian employee engagement platform Culture Amp told Business Insider Australia its full workforce of more than 440 employees - across offices in Melbourne, San Francisco, New York and London – has been working from home for more than three weeks. "Our first priority was (and still is) employee health and productivity, and then also how we can help all our people support the communities they live within as well," Culture Amp CEO Didier Elzinga said. "We were fortunate that being a global technology company we were already fairly well set up to work remotely."Elzinga explained the measures the company has taken to keep its staff engaged and motivated while working from home. It introduced a digital ‘aperitivo’ – a 10-minute drink with colleagues at the end of the day – and ‘hours of power’ where everyone joins a call not to meet but to work on their own with colleagues working in the background. That's not to mention opportunities to have morning or afternoon tea via video conferencing so workers can chat like they would in the office and adding more time to meetings to see how everyone is doing. "Simply adding 10 mins to the start of a virtual meeting to check-in is really impactful for individuals craving connection," Elzinga said. "This is a simple yet effective practice that is helping our team to stay engaged and supported."Elzinga shared his tips for making the most of work from home arrangements, highlighting how important it is to communicate with workers."It is extremely important to intentionally build upon your culture during these trying times," he said. "Leaders cannot over-communicate. Be the voice of calm in a sea of uncertainty. Be human, share how you’re processing this experience, the questions you’re asking and how you are approaching the challenges.""Checking in with your team is also critical. Maintaining regular feedback to understand whether people feel supported if they have the right information and what they need to do their job." Transferwise All of Transferwise's offices around the world have transitioned to working remotely. To keep its staff connected and engaged, the company has several activities available via Zoom including yoga classes, a book club, meditation and a mobility training session that has tips on how workers can stretch while at their desks. Not to mention a dedicated slack channel where creative workers can showcase their artwork. Plus, the company has a virtual 'Fika' – a communal afternoon break for coffee & biscuits and chatting – as well as a virtual pub on Fridays for an end of the week catch up."This is clearly a very unsettling and challenging time and we felt it was more important than ever to come up with creative ways our team, who we call Wisers, can stay connected, feel supported and also to keep them smiling, since we implemented a global work from home policy on March 16th 2020," TransferWise global head of people operations Rose Stott told Business Insider Australia."We’re fortunate as a company that we already had a culture of working from home but adapting to that full time is a shift for many, especially the social aspect of work."To make sure its team is comfortably set up to work from home for a long period of time, Transferwise has given everyone a set budget to put towards setting up their own workspace at home. It also recommends workers use the mental health platform Modern Health which offers free online webinars for people to ask questions about how to manage stress, isolation and loneliness. Every worker also gets access to the company's employee assistance programme, where they can discuss any issues they're having with a counsellor. Employment Hero Employment Hero CEO and co-founder Ben Thompson told Business Insider Australia that since the company has supported flexible working for a while, its transition to working from home has been "quite seamless".Each Wednesday Thompson films a short video sharing government updates and thanking the team for their hard work. He also shared the importance of having a routine when working from home. "In the mornings, we have 8:30 AM ‘stand-ups’ with leaders and their teams to debrief, and then at 9 AM we do a leadership ‘stand-up’," he said. "It’s a quick check-in, but this daily communication creates a steady cadence which is key to staying motivated and productive." To make life a little easier for employees to work from home, Employment Hero encourages communication via Slack and Zoom, with some meetings even having themes like 'wear your favourite headwear'."We tend to forget how important ‘water-cooler’ chats are for morale. So we’ve organised virtual group Zoom calls most mornings and afternoons as an optional initiative for teams to get together and have a laugh," Thompson said. "On top of this, we encourage our teams to take regular breaks, get outside for some fresh air and keep active."Thompson also shared his tips for companies newly transitioning to working from home: communicate with your team, focus on new ways to acknowledge the hard work of your team, encourage team members to set goals and check in on how your staff are feeling. Clipchamp Video creation platform Clipchamp has had its employees working remotely since March 16. Co-founder and CEO Alex Dreiling told Business Insider Australia workers were quick to sort out virtual solutions to rituals they had in the office. These included Slack channels dedicated to coffee corner chats, board games and virtual Friday afternoon drinks. "Our own reliance on video communication is at an all-time high, as we transition to video conferencing and one-on-one video calls to replace in-person interaction," Dreiling said. "In the transition to becoming 100% remote during this period, we are working to ensure that our company rituals continue without disruption."Clipchamp head of culture and talent Julia Poloai advised that while employees work from home, it's important for business leaders to acknowledge everyone’s individual needs fairly. "When operating remote teams, leaders should take into consideration employees’ families, networks and connectivity, the ways individuals absorb information when digitally communicating, and the varied energy levels of staff at different times throughout any given day." Evanto Aussie digital assets platform Envato has been a big supporter of flexible working even before the coronavirus pandemic. It made the decision that its workforce work remotely from March 18."As a company that has had workplace flexibility in place since day one, we understand that working from home can be both a blessing and a curse, especially in our current working climate, where care responsibilities and isolation from family, friends and work colleagues put extra strain on our wellbeing and in turn, our productivity," Michelle Ridsdale, chief people officer at Envato said.In addition to Slack channels, Google hangouts and remote social events to encourage employees to gather together, Evanto has ramped up its leave arrangements.It provides 10 days additional personal leave for staff who fall ill, are in isolation or are caring for someone sick or isolated. It is also offering up to 15 days 'negative leave' to be taken if a worker runs out of their existing leave entitlements but still needs to take on extra care responsibilities.As for advice the company would give to businesses embarking on a work from home arrangement for the first time, Ridsdale said businesses should be clear in what it wants to achieve during this time, ensure workers can regularly connect and remove any barriers employees may be facing to achieve their work. SafetyCulture SafetyCulture has implemented several initiatives to keep its staff motivated while working from home, including virtual trivia, weekly team drinks, sending birthday cards for an employee's birthday and launching virtual fitness sessions. It's UK team also created a virtual pub."[The pub] has four rooms that you can enter to have a drink with colleagues - a karaoke tavern, a wine & cheese bistro, a jazz bar and a cocktail bar," SafetyCulture COO Alistair Venn told Business Insider Australia. "They are themed accordingly and staff can enter and exit as they please to socialise and have a drink at home but feel like they are with their colleagues."SafetyCulture has an employee assistance program that provides counselling services and a wellness app that focuses on mental, physical, social and financial health. The company is also providing flexible working hours for parents working from home with children and allowing workers to expense office equipment they need. SAP All SAP employees in Australia and New Zealand are working from home, with its more than 100,000 strong global workforce working almost entirely remote as well. To maintain its culture during this time, an SAP ANZ spokesperson told Business Insider Australia via email the string of measures it has introduced. "To help boost team spirit and maintain an element of normalcy, we’ve rolled out a range of fun initiatives, including weekly yoga sessions, twice-weekly virtual exercise bootcamps, a companywide 'Quaran-tunes' playlist, a 'virtual happy hour' every Friday, and a LifeatSAP hashtag where staff can share social snaps of their home setups," the spokesperson said.On top of that, the company's giving its more than 1,400 employees in Australia and New Zealand a $250 working-from-home grant to help improve their home office setup, as well as free flu shots, a $25 meal voucher in the absence of the company's normal end-of-quarter celebratory lunches and a monthly, ‘Healthy Habits’ online program, which offers exercise and nutrition advice.
* Australian eateries are battling to stay afloat during the coroanvirus crisis, with many moving into grocery delivery in the interim. * However, with platforms like Deliveroo and Uber taking commissions of up to 35%, the businesses are battling to make them sustainable. * Meanwhile, Deliveroo has launched its 'Essentials' service, directly competiting with many of the platform's partners. * Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.* * *Necessity is said to be the mother of all invention, with the coronavirus giving businesses plenty of reasons to reinvent at the very least.With cafes and restaurants largely forced to shut their doors on normal trading by a combination of government lockdowns and dwindling demand, many Australian eateries have tried to pivot to one of the few markets still thriving: groceries.Hoo Haa bar and Miss Kuku restaurant on Melbourne’s Chapel Street were two such businesses, deciding to deliver fresh produce for the interim, but owner Paul Kasteal is struggling to make the new business work after delivery platforms take their cut."We did about $900 in sales in our first pivot week. After taking out our cost of goods and GST we are left with $476. Uber and Deliveroo then come along and hit us for another 30% which leaves us with about $230," he told Business Insider Australia in an email. "My wage bill to keep my visa workers employed on a bare minimum was $2,500 and l haven’t even included fixed costs. Even if we can make $1,000 per day, with only two to three staff working, we won’t survive with these guys taking 30% and no other revenue coming in."As unsustainable as the business was, Kasteal said he was incredulous when Deliveroo then went and launched its new 'Essentials' service, to deliver its own groceries to customers, directly competing with the businesses on its own platform."Like many restaurants on Chapel Street, we’ve started selling essential grocery items as a part of our delivery menu. Our business now relies on deliveries and Deliveroo Essentials is the final nail in the coffin. Rather than support us they want to cut our lunch," Kasteal said.Neighbouring businesses, like Italian restaurant Ladro, deli LaManna and Sons, and Lucky Penny cafe, are all in the same boat. Chapel Street Precinct Association (CSPA) general manager Chrissie Maus is calling on Australians to show where their loyalty lies."We recommend Australians help independent businesses by ordering direct from restaurants because every dollar counts during these exceptionally tough times," Maus said in a statement. "Many of our cafes and restaurants are jumping through hoops in order to survive and selling essentials was an innovative way to pivot and get money through the door during this harrowing period."Deliveroo’s action is short-sighted and a simple money grab at the expense of the Chapel Street Precinct cafes and restaurants they will need on the other side of this pandemic."While they attempt to grow their customer base, many are now looking to Mr Yum, a food ordering startup, which charges just a fraction of the commission. "Mr Yum is only charging 4.5% on the transactions," Maus said. "This is such a brilliant and innovative way for staff to utilise their workers who are now employed under JobKeeper and would otherwise be underemployed."But while the coronavirus crisis may have forced businesses to diversify into other markets, it may become the new status quo. "The pivot to takeaway and selling produce is more than a survival strategy during the COVID crisis, the silver lining is that these are sustainable new revenue streams," Mr Yum co-founder Kim Teo told Business Insider Australia.As the coronavirus crisis looking to stretch on for months yet, the reality ismany businesses will simply not make it to the other side.Deliveroo and Uber were both contacted for comment.
Online learning and education platforms have made their services free of charge as thousands of workers are laid off.
Good morning and welcome to the week. 1\. British PM Boris Johnson has been taken to hospital, just 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus. "This is a precautionary step, as the Prime Minister continues to have persistent symptoms of coronavirus," including a high fever, a spokesperson said. 2\. COVID-19 has taken an enormous toll on Italy, Spain and France but its fatality rate appears to finally be coming off the boil , as daily deaths in each European nation declined over the weekend. Italy, which currently has the highest death toll in the world, recorded 525 more deaths on Sunday, its lowest in around two and a half weeks and the third consecutive day of decline. In a sign social distancing is here to stay, however, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said: "it is likely that we are not going to see an end to confinement that would happen in one move everywhere and for everyone."3\. China came to a standstill over the weekend, to mourn those who succumbed to the coronavirus outbreak. Photos capturing the three-minute national silence, stopping police on deserted highways, are pretty eery. 4\. The Coalition is pushing the Federal Opposition to support legislation that would allow bosses to cut workers' hours to slash their wage costs over the next six months, according to the AFR. Labor and the unions meanwhile are concerned the proposal would erode workers' rights and leave casual workers with nothing. Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter, pushing the idea of 'Team Australia', said 'we are pushing a $130 billion lifeboat out into the roughest economic seas Australia has ever seen and people will need to decide whether or not they are going to help us push the boat out."5\. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has urged Australians to stop trying to buy and import dodgy home testing kits after the country's Border Force intercepted a series of different consignments in March. The minister said "inaccurate results could prevent people from seeking the medical help they need". 6\. Speaking of government advice, Australians have also been told not to wear face masks unless they're infected with COVID-19. Australia’s deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said it was a) because masks aren't really effective in stopping you from being infected, and b) we need to conserve supplies for the healthcare system.7\. If like Bonnie Tyler, you're holding out for a hero, you may have to wait a little longer. Marvel has just changed its film release schedule, with each and every coming title being pushed back. 'Black Widow' should now be the first to land in November, while the 'Captain Marvel' sequel has been announced for the middle of 2022. https://twitter.com/marveIstuff/status/12461548782815313938\. As renters try to negotiate lower rents, some real estate agents appear to be getting a bit big for their boots. On Friday, the financial regulator ASIC had to warn agents across Australia to simmer down after some were found instructing struggling tenants to use their superannuation to pay their rent if they couldn't make ends meet. Hardly a good look for the industry, nor a legal one, given agents aren't licensed to give financial advice.9\. Extremist organisations like ISIS and al-Qaida could use the coronavirus outbreak as a chance to ramp up attacks across the globe. According to the International Crisis Group, ISIS has acknowledged security forces that normally work against the group will be overloaded dealing with COVID-19, and believe fighters should take “maximum advantage” of that distraction. It comes just weeks after the group issued its own travel warnings to members.10\. In the US, Amazon is facing criticism for carrying on business as usual despite the coronavirus crisis. Despite promising two weeks ago it would only fulfil essential orders, like medical and sanitation supplies, workers in its warehouses claim otherwise, saying sex toys, video games, and dolls are all still being shipped. Depends on your definition of 'essential', I guess. Bonus item Let's face it. You, along with just about everyone else, probably spent the weekend binge-watching Tiger King, essentially the life and times of one Joe Exotic. If so, here's a little more. If not, you'll get the gist of what it's all about from watching a bewildered Louis Theroux interview Joe years ago. "You must have been a pretty weird cop".https://twitter.com/BBCArchive/status/1245377884224491520
* The New South Wales government is offering $10,000 grants to businesses impacted by the coronavirus related shutdowns. * To be eligible, businesses must have between 1 and 19 employees and a turnover of more than $75,000. * The Restaurants and Catering Association supports the move but is also lobbying the government to support rent abatements for the industry. * Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.* * *Small businesses hit by coronavirus related shutdowns will be eligible for $10,000, under a new grant scheme offered by the New South Wales government.The state government is putting $750 million into the Small Business Support Fund to help businesses stay afloat during the federal government's shutdown. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new funding was based on a similar scheme rolled out during the NSW bushfires, which gave $42 million to 4,200 businesses within the first 10 days of it launching. "This is about getting cash into small businesses when they are struggling right now in the face of an unprecedented situation," Berejiklian said in a statement. "These grants will provide a big boost, and we will make the application process easy to ensure small businesses can receive some cash-flow as soon as possible to meet pressing needs."The grants are offered through Service NSW and will stay open until June 1, 2020.To be eligible, businesses must have between 1 and 19 employees and a turnover of more than $75,000. They must also be "highly impacted" by the government's order to shut down businesses and use the funds for "unavoidable business costs" like utilities, legal costs, overheads and financial advice.The types of businesses eligible include cafes, restaurants, gyms, corner shops and small accommodation providers. State Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the grants will help ensure businesses that aren't eligible for payroll tax waivers and deferrals can "live to trade another day".The government claims it is the largest support package for small businesses in the history of New South Wales. The Restaurant and Catering Industry Association supports the state government's new grants Restaurant and Catering Association (RCA) CEO Wes Lambert told Business Insider Australia the industry body "absolutely supports" the government's $10,000 grants."Small businesses need [a] direct injection of cash," he said. "So any funding from the state and federal government is absolutely applauded and appreciated."RCA represents 45,000 cafes, restaurants and catering businesses throughout Australia. Lambert said members in the industry have seen sales drop from anywhere between 25% to 100%."A third of the industry is closed so these grants will go to help them pay fixed costs," Lambert said.The organisation is also advocating for states to continue offering as much help as possible to restaurant businesses."40% of meals were eaten out of home up to this point. Now 100% of meals are eaten in the house," Lambert said. "So it's very important that diners can continue to support their favourite restaurants or they won't exist on the other side. And it's very important that the government ensures that as many businesses as possible stay in business, so that they can keep as many people employed as possible."Lambert also highlighted two other factors the RCA is lobbying the government for – rent abatements and support for temporary skilled workers."Deferment just creates future liabilities which may create future business collapses under the weight of a lot of debt on the other side," he said. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already announced a moratorium on evictions for the next six months for both residential and commercial tenants who aren't able to "meet their commitments"."Under the coronavirus temporary changes, you can't be evicted on a state level now," Lambert said. "The rules have changed but they're all temporary changes. And we don't want there to be a bout at the end of this where businesses are faced with bills that went unpaid that have accrued for that whole time".Lambert also mentioned making temporary skilled migrants eligible for the Jobkeeper program, announced earlier this week by the federal government as part of a $130 billion package. The program will subsidise wages for employers affected by the economic downturn with full-time, part-time, casual employees and sole traders eligible for $1,500 a fortnight."We are lobbying for at least temporary skilled sponsored migrants be added to the list because they moved their families and their career to Australia to fill skills gaps and they're not here on a holiday and certainly should be considered for the Job Keeper [allowance]."The NSW government's $10,000 grant is just its latest assistance package. It's previously announced more than $5 billion in payroll tax waivers, deferrals and other tax deferrals, and a $1 billion fund to create jobs.READ MORE:Apps like Menulog are reporting a surge in restaurants signing up for delivery – as a petition circulates demanding platform fees be slashed
* ASIC has written a scathing letter to the real estate industry, after reports agents have been providing unlicensed advice to tenants. * The regulator said it would prosecute agents who instruct struggling tenants to access their superannuation early in order to pay their rent. * Agents found guilty of doing so face up to five years in prison and fines of $126,000 per contravention. * Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.* * *It's not every day that one of Australia's financial regulators have to put an entire industry on notice.So it's quite an achievement then that Australia's real estate agents have managed to incur the bitter wrath of ASIC on Friday as the watchdog urged them to stick to their lane."ASIC is aware that some real estate agents are advising tenants who are unable to pay their rent, or who may find themselves in such a situation in future, to consider applying for early release of their superannuation," executive director Tim Mullaly scorned in the scathing letter sent to all of the country's real estate institutes."[This matter] is of significant concern to ASIC and, we would hope, you."It comes as the threat of COVID-19, and the government restrictions aimed at stemming its spread, have shut down large swathes of the Australian economy and rendered hundreds of thousands of Australians newly unemployed through no fault of their own. As the virus simultaneously cannonballs large industries like hospitality, tourism, retail and aviation, many are now facing significant financial stress.ASIC's damning accusation therein lies that agents have been offering unlicensed, and presumably also unsolicited, financial advice, to such tenants wishing to defer or reduce their rent as a result -- a clear breach of the law. "Financial advice must only be provided by qualified and licensed financial advisers, or financial counsellors, not by real estate agents who neither hold the requisite licence, nor are an authorised representative of an Australian Financial Services Licensee," ASIC said."Tenants facing financial difficulty need sound financial guidance and potentially debt counselling. Specifically pointing them to and recommending them to consider the specific possibility of accessing superannuation is, again, likely to amount to a breach of the [Corporations] Act."Agents who have done so face up to five years imprisonment and fines of up to $126,000, while corporations may pay up to $1.26 million.That's not even to touch on the questionable ethics involved in attempting to squeeze rent out of those who simply can't afford it. As economists and the super industry itself have warned, accessing super should be "a last resort" for those who have no other choice, given its potential to decimate the retirement savings of those who withdraw from it. Fortunately, renters, by and large, shouldn't be forced to draw down their super simply to put a roof over their heads. State and territory governments have put a six-month moratorium on residential evictions, while the federal government has announced it will support Australian incomes through its separate JobSeeker and Jobkeeper programs. With Prime Minister Scott Morrison repeatedly referring to 2020 as "the toughest year of our lives", landlords and real estate agents alike have been urged to work with tenants struggling to pay their rent, rather than try to bleed them dry. It's hardly an unreasonable suggestion given rents are expected to come down anyway. The number of new rental listings around the country has surged around 20%, and even more in certain areas, according to the latest Domain figures, while the number of Australians looking for a place has actually decreased.In the meantime, ASIC is talking tough, pledging to go after rogue agents."We will be raising these concerns with the relevant state regulatory bodies and will be writing directly to firms where it is alleged or brought to our attention that they have breached the law," Mullaly said. "ASIC intends to monitor this situation closely, and if contraventions of the licensing requirements of the Corporations Act are found, ASIC will not hesitate to act swiftly to protect vulnerable consumers."Has your real estate agent or landlord been unreasonable during this difficult time? Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
* The coronavirus pandemic has led several retailers to close their doors. * We created a list of retailers that have suspended operations, including Noni B, Michael Hill and The Athlete's Foot. * These closures have left thousands of Australians without a job. * Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.* * *Just when you thought the retail apocalypse couldn't get any worse.With the coronavirus outbreak leading the federal government to implement social distancing rules, travel restrictions and business closures, the retail sector has been hard hit.Several retailers have closed their doors, leaving thousands of Australians out of work. We compiled a list of companies that have halted operations amid the pandemic: Uniqlo Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo has temporarily closed all 22 of its Australian stores amid the coronavirus outbreak. The stores will close from April 2 until further notice, with online delivery still available."This is a challenging decision for any business to make and not one that we make lightly, but we believe it is the right thing to do for our community," Uniqlo said on its website."We will continue to work closely with our teams, the Government and public health officials throughout the country on the best way to navigate the days and weeks ahead, and will share information with you as we move forward together." Freedom Furniture Freedom has temporarily closed all of its stores, except for one in Toowoomba, with its online stores remaining open."We’ve kept our stores open for as long as possible, but due to the unfolding situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Government recommendations we have temporarily closed our stores (with the exception of freedom Toowoomba) and retail support centres," the company said on its website. Hanesbrands Hanesbrands, which owns brands including Bonds, Bras 'N Things, Champion and Sheridan closed all of its roughly 450 stores in Australia on March 31. More than 3000 employees have been stood down, with the company continuing to pay the salary of permanent workers for at least two weeks after stores closed. Workers can also access their annual leave or long service leave if they want to.It comes after Hanes Australia closed around 40 stores in the US, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK."We have been doing our best to keep our stores open and our people safe and in work," David Bortolussi, group president of Hanesbrands said in a statement. "However, with the federal and state governments announcing over the past couple of days increasingly stringent measures for social distancing to keep us all safe, we now have no choice but to close all of our store networks across Australia, to protect our store teams and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.” Cotton On Cotton On closed all of its 650 Australian stores on Sunday March 29 amid the coronavirus outbreak, with its online business remaining open. Cotton On Group CEO Peter Johnson said in a statement the company will continue paying its part-time and full-time workers in Australia.“As we navigate through some pretty tough times right now, our number one priority is to protect the livelihoods of our teams around the world as best we can," he said. Lovisa Jewellery chain Lovisa has closed its stores in Australia and New Zealand, with online orders and delivery still available. Myer Myer is temporarily closing all of its stores for an initial four weeks, from March 29 until April 27. Its online business will continue operating.Myer is standing down around 10,000 staff and they won't be paid during that period. Full time and part-time workers, however, can access their annual and long service leave, as well as government assistance."The decision to temporarily close all Myer stores and stand down so many loyal and dedicated team members is one of the toughest decisions this Company has faced in its 120 years of operation," Myer CEO John King said in a statement."Our focus must remain on operating our business in a manner that protects the health and wellbeing of customers and team members, whilst supporting the government, and the communities in which we operate, in limiting the spread of COVID-19." RM Williams RM Williams has temporarily closed all of its Australian stores from March 28 until April 27. This is on top of the company temporarily shutting RM Williams Boot Rooms in New Zealand, the UK and the US. Kathmandu and Ripcurl Kathmandu Holdings – which owns Kathmandu, Rip Curl and Oboz brands – is closing its Australian retail stores by 5pm on Friday to ensure the health and safety of its workers. Its retail and head office workers will, save for some skeleton crew, will be stood down without pay for four weeks. However, they have access to leave entitlements and government assistance.It comes after the company closed its New Zealand stores and distribution centres on March 24 for at least four weeks. Online retail will continue in Australia, Europe and the USA. Premier InvestmentsPremier Investments – which owns retailers including Just Jeans, Jacqui-E, Jay Jays, Smiggle and Peter Alexander – is temporarily closing all of its retail stores following the coronavirus outbreak. The stores will be closed from 6pm on Thursday 26 March until Wednesday 22 April 2020. It comes after the company made a similar decision in New Zealand, the UK and the Republic of Ireland.More than 9,000 workers will be impacted globally, with all employees stood down except for a few who will be required to do "essential work".Workers won't be paid during this time, with the company putting in place special arrangements for them to access accrued annual and long service leave entitlements.Premier Retail CEO Mark McInnes voluntarily decided to work from home without pay or any other entitlements until April 22."This is the hardest decision ever made by Premier- our team are our family and we want to do everything we can to keep them employed, but we believe that it is necessary and the right decision for them, their families, our customers, and the country," the company said in a statement. Accent GroupAccent Group, which owns footwear brands including The Athlete's Foot, Platypus and Hype, is closing all of its stores from 5pm on Friday 27 March. The closure will remain for four weeks, with all employees and most of its support office employees being stood down without pay during that time."It is with a heavy heart that we have made this decision, but we believe this to be in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of our team members," Accent Group CEO Daniel Agostinelli said in a statement. "The company intends to do everything possible to return the business to normal operations when environmental conditions normalise whilst always prioritising the safety and wellbeing of our team."According to The Australian, the closure affects more than 5000 workers across more than 500 stores. During the stand down period, workers will continue accuring entitlements and can access their annual and long service leave.The group will continue trading through its 18 websites and wholesale business. Mosaic BrandsMosaic Brands, which owns Noni B, Rivers and Katies, announced the suspension of all store operations from Thursday, with no specification on how long it will last. This includes more than 1300 stores, with nearly 7000 workers stood down.“The group has recently seen a significant drop in store traffic and revenue, a direct result of the community’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the government’s “social distancing” recommendations,” Mosaic said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.“The group is working with its business partners and is reviewing its cost of doing business, with a view to reducing costs to match expected revenue.”Online operations, however, will continue. Michael HillMichael Hill jewellers closed its stores in Australia, New Zealand and Canada amid the coronavirus outbreak. The retailer has around 2,500 staff across its 300 stores globally, which are now shut for an indefinite period of time. Workers will get access to their leave entitlements and can access unemployment measures such as Newstart."Whilst it is clear that the suspension of our store networks is necessary for the safety and wellbeing of our people and our customers – we know also that this will be a time of great uncertainty for them too, and we are doing our best to provide them with the support that they need through this difficult time," Michael Hill chair Emma Hill said, according to the SMH. Tigerlily Fashion brand Tigerlily went into voluntary administration, with administrator KordaMentha saying it was due to the impact of the coronavirus, the ABC reported.The company, which has 200 employeees, was founded by businesswoman Jodhi Meares, the ex-wife of James Packer. Its stores will stay open while the administrators find a buyer.READ MORE:* A look back at the Aussie retailers which have collapsed or gone into administration over the past few years* Scott Morrison has announced pubs, clubs and other venues 'where people congregate' will be shut across Australia from midday on Monday* The Federal Government will force even more businesses shut as Australia approaches a full lockdown. This is what the new rules mean.
* Nighclubs are hosting live streaming sessions as a way of keeping the party going through the coronavirus shutdown. * Business Insider Australia spoke to One Six One and Poof Doof about their new livestreaming initiatives. * Some of these nightclubs want to ensure they're paying DJs so they continue to have an income. * Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.* * *Following the closure of nightclubs in Australia to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, business owners have turned to live streaming.Several venues and organisations in Australia have taken to either Facebook, Instagram, Twitch or Youtube to live-stream DJ sets while still adhering to social distancing measures. Some of the venues getting onbaord include The Breakfast Club nightclub in Melbourne, The Stonewall Hotel in Sydney and House of Mince's 24 hour live stream at Sydney's Club 77 nightclub."A bunch of nightclubs and promoters were really quick out of the gate to start their streams online," Kat Dopper, creative director of inclusive events platform Heaps Gay told Business Insider Australia. Dopper also sits on the Nightlife Advisory Panel with the City of Sydney and was the creative director of the 2020 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Jane Slingo, executive producer of Australia's Electronic Music Conference, and a board member of Music NSW, told Business Insider Australia via email it was "fantastic" to see the community so motivated and quick to keep their creativity alive online."By nature, those in the electronic music community are digital natives," she said. "In this part of the music sector there's already a history of live streamed events well before COVID-19 - global streamed events from the likes of Boiler Room, Cercle, Worldwide FM events. So it's not surprising how quickly DJs and club nights have made a significant imprint on our feeds as life moves more permanently to online." Poof Doof and One Six One switch on live streaming Melbourne-based queer nightclub Poof Doof switched to live streaming after business completely dried up following the coronavirus-related shutdowns. Owner Anthony Hocking told Business Insider Australia the business has been operating every Saturday night for over eight years. It has put on shows all over Australia, doing seasons in Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney. In November 2019 it even partnered with major venue group Merivale, hosting an event at its iconic Ivy nightclub in Sydney. "It just went gangbusters," Hocking said, explaining how there were between 2000 and 3000 people turning up each night. On top of that, Poof Doof was involved in a big season of Mardi Gras events before everything went silent because of the coronavirus outbreak."We were really lucky that we had such a great Mardi Gras campaign and a great summer because in a split second it was closed," he said. "All of my promoters, DJs, performers, management team, everyone in the industry is just without work."But, to "keep the party going", Poof Doof decided to take its service online by live-streaming on Facebook every Saturday. It also posts the full streams on social media afterwards so people can go back and watch during the week."We're still going and we still haven't missed a Saturday in eight years and four months," Hocking said. The live stream goes from 9pm until 2am and is hosted by Jimmi the Queen. There is a multi-camera setup in the club, with DJs doing one-hour sets each.View this content at Business InsiderAnd Hocking said it has been a success, with the company's first stream two weeks ago gaining more than 32,000 viewers. "People were...getting dressed into drag at home and they were sending photos of their outfits," he said, adding that there was a lot of positivity online, "which was fantastic."One Six One nightclub in Victoria also made the switch to live-streaming. It held its first live stream DJ set on Saturday night from 6pm until midnight, with four different DJs. Zok Szoeke, special project manager at One Six One, told Business Insider Australia the club did a callout on social media asking for music requests people wanted them to play. He added that the event even started at the early time of 6pm because parents wanted something for the kids to dance along to as well.Over Friday and Saturday, the nightclub had around 500 viewers in total, with between 30 and 60 people on at any one time.One Six One is going to be doing the live stream once again this Saturday but with the social distancing rules constantly shifting in the past, Szoeke has a plan if there are more changes. "The goalposts do keep shifting a little bit," he said "If that happens, we will be running it from home." And Szoeke aims to get the DJs to work remotely as well.Szoeke also mentioned his hopes to make live streaming more interactive, with apps like Zoom and Houseparty allowing users to see each other. "We'd love to be able to hook into something like that where we can have our audience on screen in front of us maybe," he said.> View this post on Instagram> > Tonight - onesixone Live Streams returns! Our beloved Zok is back hosting AudioPorn Live Stream from 6:00pm with Jen Tutty, DAYLE from The Breakfast Club, and our very own Jay Ramon back for round 2! Streaming link below in our bio. Tune in! ✌ @jay_ramon @daylemarina @jennifer.studiolegal @dr_zok> > A post shared by onesixone Nightclub (@onesixone_nightclub) on Mar 27, 2020 at 9:49pm PDT The challenges of monetising live streams Dopper highlighted some of the main challenges facing venues who utilise these live streams.The first is being able to navigate the different types of technology it requires, especially for those who are new to it. The second is how to monetise it, "whether it's sponsorship dollars or click per view or crowdfunding," she said."It's going to be quite a saturated market as well because everyone's doing the same thing," she said.Slingo also raised concerns around the difficulty of monetising these events. She said it is "setting a precedent that artists, creatives and technical crew should offer free labour to produce these streams during a time when the music sector has been particularly hard hit by the crisis and desperately need to be paid for their work." Nonetheless, Slingo said the 24 hour House of Mince managed to raised over $9,000 via a GoFundMe, which the promoter is splitting equally among all those involved with the stream.View this content at Business InsiderPoof Doof pays its DJs and performers, with Hocking adding that it was about providing some income in the queer community."All of the DJs and all the drag performers, they've all lost their booking," he said. "There's just absolutely no cashflow whatsoever, so at least we can pay some DJs, pay some performers and then we can deliver a really fun product to people in their homes." The company has also set up a PayPal donation link on the stream, with people sending anywhere from $5 to $20 to support the artists. Poof Doof's partners including Red Bull and beverage company Lion are also going to support the live stream while the club is shut."I've been funding [it] up to this point, but it looks as though our partners are going to contribute to the costs of running it," Hocking said.One Six One didn't hold its livestream for free on Facebook. Instead, Szoeke set up a Vimeo page which cost viewers $2 per stream – all to ensure DJs were paid."The idea was we could pay the DJs," he said. "And if it builds, we can split the profits amongst the DJs playing and at least give them some work. If it takes off, we could do three, four nights of it – if there's a demand for it. And that will mean we can put our whole roster effectively back on where there's no paid gigs at the moment." There are concerns about licensing laws when live-streaming over FacebookSzoeke pointed out his concerns about licensing when he considered doing a livestream on Facebook."We did think about Facebook, because that's where everyone's doing it," he said. "But we're also mindful of copyright and we want to pay music licences. That's something I don't think is being really enforced at the moment but we're aware that there's copyright involved here and everyone in the chain needs to get paid."Slingo also raised the licensing issue, pointing out that there should be a model in place that ensures the streams are licence-compliant.She said APRA AMCOS – the music rights body that licences organisations to perform and play music from its members – currently has blanket license options for the publishing rights for live streams on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The organisation also added an update to online licensing amid the coronavirus outbreak, with advice for both commercial and around non-commerical streaming online.However, Slingo emphasised how complex licensing can get, especially during this time."There's the master (recording) rights, which is particularly prevalent in DJs performing on live streams," she said. "PPCA [a non profit organisation that represents record companies and recording artists] don't have the same blanket license options as APRA, instead referring to the record labels for licensing clearance for use of recordings. "If you can imagine the number of records one DJ plays in a two hour set, and multiply that by full DJ lineups on livestreams, it's a minefield." Nonetheless, Slingo saw this issue as an opportunity for the music industry to create a new – and much more simplified – payment model for licensing."I hope that the various copyright owners and respective copyright collection societies work together with the clubs, venues and artists to create a new world remuneration model that's manageable and fair," Slingo said. "Simply applying a pre COVID-19 license payment model to the period we are in now isn't the solution in my opinion. Already so many are confused at best or not aware of what they need to get in place to ensure they're license compliant. The licensing process needs to be dramatically simplified." Trying to keep audience alive with no source of income Dopper said artists are a "resilient" bunch and are used to creating their own work. But with their work being completely gone right now, it has become a challenge."We're used to working on minimal budgets and creating our own work and we've done that for a long time. So that's not really new to us," she said. "But having all our work completely wiped out pretty much for the remainder of the year, it does mean that we have to really think on our toes."Dopper said the biggest factor for her now is on how to stay connected to the audience Heaps Gay has worked so hard to build, without a source of income."An artist friend of mine explained it really well actually," Dopper explained. "He said it's like most of us have built our houses on quicksand. Because we've worked so hard to build these audiences and we want to come out the other side as a business or as an artist and still have those audiences. Seeing all of our work just disappear, it's pretty sad."Slingo also shared the same views about audiences, especially the long term effects of people at home having access to so many content options. "Many artists, venues and promoters have very healthy social media numbers," she said. "Many are more niche but very important to their local club or electronic music culture. I worry about artists or collectives that don't have a massive digital footprint looking to streaming as a lifeline and having low viewer numbers or lack of engagement as factors that compound the anxiety already being experienced by so many.""Right now, it feels in some ways like a tsunami of a race for attention from so many individual parties, during a time when the viewer is more heavily distracted than ever by the COVID-19 updates on their news feeds." Looking ahead to the future is a hard thing to do for nightclubs and those in the arts industry as it is hard to know when the social distancing rules are going to end and forced closures are going to be reversed."That's going to be the biggest impact on the arts industry, that we can't plan," Dopper said. "I don't know when I should be booking in venues to do big events."
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* Uber has emailed its Australian drivers recommending they apply for the federal government's JobKeeper wage subsidy, if they are eligible. * The JobKeeper payment, which is available to sole traders if they have taken a hit to their income due to the coronavirus, is $1,500 per fortnight. * A spokesperson for Uber told Business Insider Australia that drivers are still entitled to apply for the company's COVID-19 compensation scheme if they are infected with the coronavirus or instructed to self-isolate. * Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.* * *Uber has contacted its Australian drivers to encourage them to apply for the federal government's recently announced JobKeeper wage subsidy.In an email, seen by Business Insider Australia, Uber acknowledged that recent restrictions on movement to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have had a "particularly tough impact" on drivers, as they have led to significantly reduced demand."The Australian government is introducing a new payment for businesses and self-employed workers impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – the JobKeeper payment," the email reads."You may be eligible to claim $1,500 a fortnight for up to 6 months under the new scheme."The email contains a link to the Australian Tax Office website for drivers to register their interest in receiving the JobKeeper payment.The JobKeeper wage subsidy, which was announced on Monday, is a $1,500 fortnightly payment from the government to Australian businesses. It is intended to keep Australians on payrolls through the coronavirus downturn, which has had a devastating impact on a variety of sectors.While it is intended to prevent employers standing down or laying off their employees due to the coronavirus, it is also available to sole traders – as long as they can prove they have taken a 30% hit to turnover. Uber drivers are sole traders who work with the company as contractors, and are thus eligible.In March, Uber announced its own coronavirus compensation scheme, agreeing to pay drivers for two weeks if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or instructed to self-isolate by a health authority. A spokesperson for Uber confirmed to Business Insider Australia the above scheme still applies in Australia regardless of whether a driver has applied for the JobKeeper payment or not.Other rideshare platforms operating in Australia have also announced compensation schemes for drivers through the COVID-19 pandemic.In March, DiDi announced it would pay a lump sum to drivers who had either contracted COVID-19 or been instructed to self-isolate."Driver-partners who have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 will be paid a one-off payment of an amount equal to their net earnings from the DiDi Driver app up to the past 28 days, from the date they were last online," the company wrote on its blog.A spokesperson for DiDi confirmed to Business Insider Australia that the above scheme was still active, as well as a reduction of DiDi's service fee to 5%.Ola also announced a compensation scheme of up to 14 days for drivers who were either infected with COVID-19 or instructed to self-isolate. However, Ola stipulated on its blog that its 'Driver Relief Fund' was only available to partners who "are not able to receive or participate in any financial assistance program offered by the Australian Federal or State or Territory governments" – which would preclude those who apply for the JobKeeper payment.
* The Federal Government unveiled a $130 billion fiscal stimulus package yesterday which will subsidise Australian workers' wages. * The "incredible" spend will save many jobs, CBA economist Gareth Aird said, but will not save all businesses. * Nor will it stop the unemployment rate from rising, or even save Australia from a recession, economists agree, but it will go a long way to cushioning the economic pain. * Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.* * *The Australian government's latest $130 billion economic package is its latest attempt to keep Australians employed and businesses alive over throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.The economic life-support package included its so-called 'Jobkeeper' payment, a fortnightly $1,500 wage subsidy for businesses that keep eligible workers on, as well as a significant expansion of its existing JobSeeker allowance."We are living in unprecedented times with the twin battles that we face and that we fight against the virus and against the economic ruin that it can threaten," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. "This calls for unprecedented action, governments making decisions like they never have before."But just how much will the government's policies help ease the economic burden of the coronavirus pandemic?Describing the sheer scale of the package as "incredible", Commonwealth Bank chief economist Gareth Aird said it should pump the brakes on the number one economic concern right now: rising unemployment."[The] JobKeeper [subsidy] will limit the rise in unemployment because many firms who could not afford to retain staff due to a drop in sales as a result of COVID‑19 will now be able to do so. In essence, the cost of labour for impacted firms will drop to zero -- or close to zero depending on other arrangements between a worker and their employer," Aird said in a note issued to Business Insider Australia."This is an extraordinary incentive for businesses to retain staff over the next six months as the economy contracts primarily due to the imposed shutdown [or] shutdowns, so on that score we can expect less damage done to the labour market than otherwise.Of course, it will not save all businesses. Aird concedes "many businesses will struggle financially to remain viable over the next six months" as revenues drop to zero due to shutdown measures and wages only constitute one of many costs for businesses.On that count, the ability to defer loan repayments for six months combined with a moratorium on evictions will at least help some businesses survive, if not operate. Many Australians then can still expect to lose their job, according to the Royal Bank of Canada's (RBC) Australian branch."We expect a front-loading of job shedding in the next few months with the unemployment rate set to test 9.5-10% by the third quarter, possibly earlier," RBC economist Su-Lin Ong said. "Today’s package may temper this rise."However, the government should be careful not to overhype its own policies, Ong said."Coupled with the previous two packages – $17.6 billion and $66 billion, the latter [of which] was not all new money – this now puts total Commonwealth fiscal stimulus close to 10% of GDP and on par with the global efforts," she said. "We caution against some political spin from the Treasurer [yesterday] as he included the $105 billion of support from the RBA which are funds set aside to lend [and] support the economy but not yet deployed to suggest $320 billion of stimulus or 16% of GDP."That accounting error aside, the government's latest package is still the largest fiscal spend in recent memory, outsizing Labor's two-year stimulus package during the global financial crisis.https://twitter.com/ShaneOliverAMP/status/1244548691635003393"[It's] absolutely necessary given the hit to the economy from [COVID-19]," AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said in a tweet. "[It] may not stop [a] recession but [it] will help limit collateral damage and boost recovery."Put simply, the Morrison government was right to diagnose 2020 as "the toughest year of our lives", but there may be light at the end of it."The economy will still contract sharply from here and the unemployment rate will rise," Aird said. "It is inevitable given the enforced shutdown but [this] incredible stimulus package will limit the rise in unemployment and help the economy to recover faster when restrictions on activity are lifted."
* The Australian government has expanded the eligibility of Centrelink payments as the coronavirus outbreak continues. * Australians who lose or have lost their jobs will now be able to receive JobSeeker payments as long as their partner earns less than $80,000. * The threshold was previously $48,000. * Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.* * *The federal government has expanded its support again for Australians who have lost their jobs.Fronting the media on Monday afternoon the Prime Minister revealed the eligibility governing the JobSeeker allowance, which financially supports unemployed Australia, would be broadened.Under the new arrangements, any Australian that loses their job will be eligible for government support as long as their partner earns less than around $79,600, raised from $48,000. It's expected the change will mean tens of thousands of Australians who were previously ineligible will now be able to receive government payments. It came as the government also unveiled its much-anticipated wage subsidy package, called the Jobkeeper Allowance, which will subsidise wages of workers up to $1,500 a fortnight for eligible workers. Morrison emphasised the need to "keep the engine of the economy running.""It may run idle for a while, but it must continue to run," he said, noting this is what the government's "hibernation phase" is about, keeping businesses afloat and Australians employed.
* The government has announced a wage subsidy of $1,500 per employee per fortnight, to be paid to employers affected by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus. * The 'Jobkeeper' payment will apply to full-time, part-time and casual workers, as well as sole traders. * Businesses will be eligible to receive the wage subsidy if they have taken a 30% hit, with businesses with more than $1 billion turnover eligible if they have taken a 50% hit due to the coronavirus. * Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.* * *The government has announced it will pay businesses seriously affected by the coronavirus a wage subsidy, to ensure they keep employees on the books through the coronavirus pandemic.Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the 'Jobkeeper' payment in a press conference on Monday afternoon, saying it was intended to "cushion the blow" of the coronavirus-led downturn, and prevent the loss of potentially millions of jobs.“We are living in unprecedented times," Morrison said. "This calls for unprecedented action."The wage subsidy is a flat payment of $1,500 per employee per fortnight, which Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said represented 70% of the Australian median wage and 100% of the median wage in the industries most seriously affected by the coronavirus, including hospitality, retail and tourism.Employers with turnovers of under $1 billion will be eligible to receive the subsidy if they have taken a 30% hit to their annual turnover. For businesses with turnovers of more than $1 billion, they will have had to take a hit of 50% or more.Full-time, part-time and casual workers are all eligible for the Jobkeeper subsidy, as well as sole traders. Casual employees must have been with their employers for 12 months or more to be eligible. In a first, New Zealanders on 444 visas who have been working for more than one year will also be eligible.It is a flat payment, both Morrison and Frydenberg stressed, meaning that for some employees – especially casual workers – it may represent more than 100% of their fortnightly earnings.The payments to employers will start on 1 May, and will be backdated until 1 March, which is the cutoff date for eligibility. “That means they can still have them on the books and start working together on how they can resuscitate the business on the other side,” Morrison said.Those already stood down due to the coronavirus crisis are eligible, encouraging employers to put them back on the books. The payments will be delivered through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).The wage subsidy will cost $130 billion, bringing the current stimulus effort to $320 billion. That represents around 16% of Australia's GDP.In announcing the program, Morrison said it was intended to prevent nothing short of an economic collapse – the likes of which we may see internationally through the pandemic.“Many countries, in the months ahead and perhaps beyond that, may well see their economies collapse," Morrison said. "Some will see them hollow out. In the very worst of circumstances, we could see countries themselves fall into chaos.""This will not be Australia."
The Australian government has announced wage replacements of $1500 a fortnight in a bid to help businesses keep their workers during the coronavirus crisis.
* The film industry has been seriously impacted by the coronavirus, with cinemas in Australia ordered to shut. * Some distributors are launching titles which otherwise would have been shown in cinemas on streaming and home video. * The Independent Cinema Association told Business Insider Australia it is optimistic about the prospects of the industry once theatres are allowed to open again, but says the sector faces unique challenges. * Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.* * *Cinemas have been hit hard in Australia due to the coronavirus outbreak and the restrictions imposed by the government, and it could be some time before they bounce back.On March 23, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced cinemas, among several other venues, must close to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.And while streaming may be an ideal solution for many of us who are stuck at home during this pandemic, it isn't necessarily the answer for cinemas."Once the film is streamed, it's dead," Independent Cinemas Australia (ICA) president Scott Seddon told Business Insider Australia. "No one is going to go and pay money to see it."ICA is a nonprofit organisation that represents independent cinemas including Palace, Dendy and Cineplex.While the federal government has announced stimulus packages to help the economy amid the coronavirus, Seddon said existing guidelines are confusing, especially when it comes to paying staff."Do we keep paying them? What are we actually getting if we pay them? Are we getting a credit for their entire wages or just for their PAYG tax?" he said, emphasising that cinemas at the moment don't have any money coming in at all.Amid the cinema shutdown, Seddon pointed to a set of unique challenges for the industry. For example, cinemas require at least one person to go into the venues once a week – or every two weeks – and run the projection equipment so it doesn't break down."We can’t just leave it unattended for months on end," he said. "If we leave it off, without regularly restarting it then there are some components that just won’t restart.”Seddon added that test screenings need to be performed, especially on older projectors – which are mainly found in independent cinemas.“That’s because of the security within digital projectors of cinemas, so that you can’t plug into them and copy things off them," he said. "They have some rather complex onboard software running on all the boards in the projector to detect any interference. So they really need to go. Especially some of the older ones, what are called Series One projectors, the early digital projectors...that came out when "Avatar" was out. "Unfortunately, it's independent cinemas who are more likely to have some of that much older equipment. If you don't turn them on every two weeks, [when] you turn them on, they are gone."Seddon added that these particular projectors are no longer supported and getting a new one comes with a hefty price tag. "You're then looking at $80,000 to $90,000 for a new projector before we're going to open the doors in the case of one of my sites," he said. The coronavirus has caused several films to shut down production and film releases to be postponed “A Quiet Place Part II”, Disney's "Mulan" remake and the latest James Bond flick "No Time To Die" are among a list of film releases that have been postponed because of the coronavirus. So far only two Aussie films have had to bump their release dates back: "I Am Woman" and "Never Too Late".However, some studios got creative with films set for cinema release by allowing them to head directly to the small screen. In the US, NBCUniversal released "Trolls World Tour", "The Hunt" and "The Invisible Man" to video-on-demand services.Plus, "The Lovebirds", which stars "Insecure" creator Issa Rae and comedian Kumail Nanjiani, was initially set for a theatrical release but will instead go straight to Netflix globally (including Australia). Its release date is yet to be announced.Aussie streaming provider Stan told Business Insider Australia that it "is always engaged in a range of discussions with content partners and distributors relating to new content opportunities and windows."Screen Australia CEO Graeme Mason told Business Insider Australia by email that while there are examples of films being released on streaming services in the US, that's hasn't necessarily been the case yet in Australia."This isn’t something that is happening here yet but I would think some filmmakers and distributors will consider it," he said.He added, however, that it was "disappointing" to see Australian films "with great potential with audiences" like "The Invisible Man" and "Miss Fisher and The Crypt of Tears" cut short by the current coronavirus situation.However, distributor Roadshow Films has since fast-tracked the home release date of "Miss Fisher and The Crypt of Tears" and other films such as "Birds of Prey, The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn" so you can get it on services like iTunes. There is optimism over the cinema industry recovering once theatres are allowed to reopen Mason said the impact of COVID-19 on the Australian film industry is evolving every hour, with the exhibition and distribution market hardest hit."We are very concerned for all the individuals and businesses already impacted here and will continue to work with them," he said.Cinema chain Hoyts said 98% of its employees are on permanent full-time or part-time contracts and is allowing them to access personal, annual and long service leave as required over the coming weeks and months."We are doing our best to manage in this rapidly evolving environment by working with our crew in a collaborative manner on a number of alternatives to prioritise job security," the company said in a statement.Seddon believes the cinema industry has a chance of recovering "quite well" once cinemas are allowed to reopen, especially as people will want to go out."When you look at the global financial crisis, we recovered very well from that," he said. "When the fog does lift and the lockdown issue is finished and we do have cinemas opening again, we're going to have millions of people who have been stuck in their house – who have completely exhausted the catalogs of their streaming providers – going to have a bit of cabin fever and want to get out."And there will be a lot of films coming out for people to watch."Once we get to that stage, we're going to have a lot of products," Seddon said. "We've got all the big titles that have been postponed plus all the other titles that are waiting in the wings that had already been scheduled for that time. Once we do open, I think as long as cinemas survive and are able to open, I think we have a chance to recover fairly well. But the really big issue, of course, is surviving until then."Mason suggested ways we can support the Australian film industry during this pandemic, such as buying or digitally renting Australian films and TV shows, or streaming them from services offered by free-to-air broadcasters (think ABC iview or SBS on Demand)."With people spending more time at home this presents a unique opportunity to explore the back catalogue of diverse and inspiring Australian titles," he said.Mason was also confident about Aussies supporting cinemas once they reopen."Despite the challenges, for over 100 years our industry has been characterised by its resilience and when the cinemas open again there’s no doubt Australians will go out and support both exhibitors and filmmakers," he said.