Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed COVID disaster payments will come to an end as states and territories meet vaccine milestones.

The absence of financial support will result in an additional challenge for businesses as they reopen with restrictions in place.

“These were emergency payments, and they couldn’t continue forever,” said Treasurer Frydenberg on Nine radio.

Changes to the payments will commence as each state and territory meets the 70 per cent double-dose vaccine target.

Individuals who have lost 20-plus hours of work are currently receiving $750 per week, with those who have lost between eight and 20 hours receiving $450 a week.

From 70 per cent, recipients will be required to reapply for the payment on a weekly basis.

From 80 per cent, the payments will be reduced and phased out over a two-week period.

The amount will reduce to $450 for all individuals who have lost more than eight hours of work a week, with the following week seeing the payment drop to $320 before it ceases completely in the third week.

However, the pandemic leave disaster payment ($1,400 per fortnight) which provides support to people who cannot work due to COVID-19-related reasons will continue until the end of June 2022.

“Our announcement is all about backing Australia’s plan to reopen, it’s about doing our best to bring to an end these lockdowns so Australians can get their lives back,” said Treasurer Frydenberg.

“We can’t continue with these emergency payments indefinitely, and that’s why we’re making these announcements.”

There could be replacement financial support on the cards, with New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian commenting on the matter:

“Going forward it will be a much more targeted approach … certainly, we’ve started conversations with our federal colleagues,” she said.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed group bookings restrictions in New South Wales will be scrapped once the state is 80 per cent vaccinated.

Initially, numbers were limited to 20 people per booking, however operators will now able to make the most of the busiest time of the year while restrictions are still in place.

Image credit: The Upsider