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Haircuts, shopping to head outdoors across Victoria

THE Victorian government will spend $54.5 million to help push retailers, gyms and hair salons outdoors.

Much of the money will be funnelled through councils and target businesses and other organisations who want to operate safely.

Small business minister Jaala Pulford said many groups that did not qualify for similar funding for outdoor dining in 2020 would be included.

"That will be able to [allow them to] explore new options to take some, if not all, of their trade outdoors," she said.

The package includes $2000 grants for outdoor options.

"So things like marquees, heating, screens, umbrellas, insurance, training staff and promoting these new options for trade," Ms Pulford said.

"One in five of these vouchers will go to organisations in regional Victoria."

The package also includes money for councils to help with things like fencing, furniture, public art and entertainment to "bring outdoor precincts to life", Ms Pulford said.

Councils will also be able to set up permanent or semi-permanent outdoor precincts.

"We have designed this in a way that these funds will be able to get to councils very, very quickly," Ms Pulford said.

They will need to provide us with a plan and account for what it is that they are doing with the funding.

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"But this is about making the support available within days to help our small businesses to recover and get back on their feet."

Councils will not be able to create or impose any new or net additional fees and charges on businesses to use the outdoor spaces.

"There is a task for all of us, councils included, to be supporting businesses that have borne a heavy burden, really significant burden," Ms Pulford said.

Photo: File

Photo: File

Regional Victoria has recorded 166 new COVID-19 cases on Monday as "spot fires" broke out across different parts of the state.

The proportion of Victoria's total cases are growing steadily, COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said.

Mr Weimar thanked health services in spot fire communities for their quick action in workplaces and households.

"Swift contact tracing and support by local agencies has contained those quickly and we don't see any significant onward spread at this point in time," he said.

This story Haircuts, shopping to head outdoors across Victoria first appeared on Bendigo Advertiser.