‘Severely impacted’ pharmacies gain funding boost

an pharmacist holding up a piggy bank employee pharmacist wages money earning funding salary salaries wage

Victorian pharmacies that have soldiered on through the pandemic can now apply for financial relief

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has welcomed the $180 million Small Business COVID Hardship Fund announced by Martin Pakula, Minister for Industry Support and Recovery and his special acknowledgement of pharmacies.

“Pharmacies in the CBD, shopping centres and airport have been hugely impacted by the lockdowns and we are grateful to the Minister and the Victorian Government for extending support to these businesses,” said the Guild’s Victorian branch.

The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund, will provide small- to medium-sized businesses whose operations have been severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions with financial relief in the form of $10,000 grants.

To be eligible, these businesses must have experienced a reduction in revenue of at least 70% because of the COVID-19 restrictions in place between 27 May and August 2021.

“Businesses will have to demonstrate the downturn in their turnover, that can be done pretty simply with a letter from their accountant, so it’s not especially onerous but it will take – as these things do – a few days to be assessed. They will be paid as we go, it’ll be some every day I imagine,” Mr Pakula explained on 3AW.

The funding couldn’t have come at a better time, said Guild Victorian branch president Anthony Tassone.

“Pharmacies in the CBD, shopping centres and airport have remained open throughout the lockdowns despite a significant drop in trade and been there for their patients and communities in very challenging circumstances,” said Mr Tassone.

“Previously pharmacies have not been eligible for any Victorian government business support payments – but this is greatly welcomed by our members to help keep their doors open and maintain essential healthcare services in the community.

“The Guild thanks the Minister for acknowledging the important work pharmacies do every day,” he said.

“The pathway out of lockdowns and COVID-restrictions is vaccination, and community pharmacies stand ready to work with the Victorian and the Commonwealth Governments to ensure as many eligible patients can receive the vaccine as possible.”

Applications for the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund are now open and will close once program funds are exhausted or at 11:59 pm on Friday, 10 September 2021, whichever is earlier.

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