Department of State Development

General advice

Make the immediate safety and well-being of your people here and overseas a priority and invest as needed to ensure a safe and healthy working environment. Enable employees to work from home where this is possible. Check in with your overseas and interstate business partners and see how they are doing and how you might be able to support them during this time.

If travel is necessary, make sure you check the most recent DFAT advice via Smart Traveller

Business continuity planning

  • Be proactive and keep regular communication with in-market staff and ensure they are safe, healthy and supported.
  • Review your travel policies in line with official advice.
  • Setup communication plans and systems for working remotely.
  • Take a strategic look at your 2020 plans, to incorporate the latest market condition changes into your 2020 budget, and rebalance costs and activity based on revised revenue forecasts.
  • Expect delayed payments from importers and distributors in affected markets.
  • Monitor your supply chain closely, realign your product offerings, commercial organisation, channel partners and marketing approach to respond to changing market conditions - both now and after the pandemic ends.
  • Keep an eye on potential opportunities and be ready to move quickly if they emerge. 

Risk management

  • Map and prioritise key risks to your business.
  • Map potential future scenarios and develop an action plan for each scenario.
  • Update business continuity and emergency plans.
  • Communicate these plans to employees, customers, suppliers and partners.


  • Stay actively in touch with your insurance provider.
  • Review relevant insurance policies to ensure coverage.
  • Consider the potential impacts of force majeure in relation to your existing contracts.
  • Prepare the groundwork for possible claims.


  • As the impact of COVID-19 escalates, Australia’s banks are providing various support packages and exemptions.
  • If your business is facing challenges with cash flow or loan repayment issues, it is imperative that you contact your bank as soon as possible.
  • The Australian Banking Association advises that Australian banks will now defer loan repayments for six months for businesses with business loan facilities up to $10 million where they have been affected by COVID-19 (this potentially represents up to 98% of all Australian businesses).
  • Businesses need only self-assess impact, with no further verification required.
  • Businesses with loans above $10 million may also be eligible on a case-by-case basis.
  • Other banking services to assist may include waiving of fees and charges, interest free periods or debt consolidation support.

Supply chain impact management

  • Risk management and supply chain diversification is being highlighted in this situation. Companies should consider identifying and testing the feasibility of sourcing vital components from other suppliers and minimise over-reliance on a single source.
  • Business continuity is the priority in the immediate term, and this will depend on maintaining close communication with supply chain and logistics partners to understand their issues.

Consider alternative practices - virtual engagement

  • Virtual meetings – keeping contact through available internet conferencing with clients and distributors.
  • Videoconferencing and teleconferencing through Austrade – speak to a TradeStart Adviser.
  • Company websites can always be improved to engage better with overseas clients or potential new clients.
  • Over the medium term, consider exploring e-Commerce platform.
  • Podcasts can provide a lot of information in a short space of time.

Frequently asked questions

Providing a simple definition of an essential service during COVID-19 is not straightforward – there are inconsistencies across different jurisdictions and countries depending on the stage of lockdown.
During our community response to COVID-19 essential services will continue.

  • The Australian Government has issued restrictions on non-essential business and activities in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The SA Health website has the latest information and the list of businesses and activities that are required to remain closed to the public until further notice.

Businesses will likely need to put in place alternative ways of working to keep employees safe, including shift-based working, staggered meal breaks, flexible leave arrangements and physical distancing.

Yes, if a business is required to close, penalties apply for continuing to run that business.

For businesses that have been directed to close, South Australia Police have undertaken a major education focus to assist businesses fully comprehend what the restrictions really mean for them and their staff.

There isn’t an application process for your business to become an ‘essential service’.

The National Cabinet which consists of all Commonwealth, State and Territory leaders has overarching responsibility for developing the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the implementation of restrictions designed to limit the spread of the Coronavirus.

For information about current restrictions and directions to businesses in South Australia, visit