Blue Mountains City Council has waived all footpath dining and storage fees for local businesses for a three month period, starting 1 February.
Council says it is also providing targeted relief and support to local businesses and tenants in Council buildings who can show financial hardship, by waiving fees by 50% for a period of three months from 1 February to 30 April 2022.
Blue Mountains Mayor, Mark Greenhill, said it was critical Council supported local businesses given the escalation of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 since December 2021.
“This is the third year in a row that local businesses have been under strain due to the pandemic,” Mayor Greenhill said.
“The impact of COVID-19, together with the impact of natural disasters since 2019, mean local businesses have experienced significant reductions in income, patronage and job losses.
“Council continues to support local businesses at this difficult time.”
Council first waived footpath dining and storage fees for more than 100 local Blue Mountains businesses for six months in 2020, at a cost of $22,000. The new 3-month fee waiver in 2022 will be issued in March.
Council also waived rents for tenants and businesses offering service from BMCC buildings from December 2019 to October 2021. This support was valued at more than $585,000, the Mayor confirmed.
At the Council Meeting on 26 October 2021, the Council resolved to introduce a staggered approach to recollecting rent for its properties over three stages – 50% rent from 1 November 2021, 75% rent from 1 December 2021 and 100% rent collection from 1 January.
“Given the escalation of COVID-19 again since December, tenants will now be able to access the new 50% reduction in lease fees from 1 February to 30 April 2022 by providing evidence (through a Business Activity Statement lodged with the ATO or a statement from an accredited accountant) that they have experienced a decline in turnover of 30 percent or more from November 2021 to January 2022.”
“Council has provided financial relief to local businesses throughout 2020 and 2021 and this latest urgent action, enacted under joint delegation by the Chief Executive Officer and myself, means that Council will continue to provide this much needed support,” Mayor Greenhill said.