The City of Sydney has unveiled a $5 million COVID-19 lockdown support package, with the majority made up of small business grants, as Lord Mayor Clover Moore lashes out at a federal government she says has let the city down.
A total of $4 million will be available to help small businesses collaborate with creatives on initiatives to support the revitalisation of the city, once the worst of the health crisis has passed.
The idea is to encourage outdoor dining, as well as outdoor events, live music and performances.
“As restrictions ease, we will once again need to revitalise our city and attract workers and visitors back, safely,” Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore said in a statement.
“We will continue to work closely with the NSW Government to help businesses reopen, attract patrons and operate in a COVID-safe way when the lockdown lifts.”
A scheme waiving fees associated with implementing street and outdoor dining has been extended to June 30, 2022, and the council is also ‘working on’ rent relief for tenants in City of Sydney-owned properties, on a case-by-case basis.
The support package includes $250,000 in emergency community ‘quick-response’ grants, with up to $10,000 available for not-for-profit organisations and unincorporated community groups.
The city is also donating $300,000 to both Foodbank and OzHarvest, and $100,000 to SecondBite, to help vulnerable residents access food; and is investing $50,000 in face masks to be distributed.
“We are providing support through the crisis and ensuring we’re ready to help breathe life back into the city when lockdowns are lifted,” the Lord Mayor explained.
However, Moore also said the need for support at the city level shows “just how seriously we have been let down by the federal government”.
She called for urgency in the vaccine rollout, better management of hotel quarantine for returning travellers and better support both for businesses and individuals, including the “urgent reinstatement of JobKeeper”.
The federal government’s role is to care for individuals, and the state government’s role is to care for businesses, she went on.
“It is the City’s role to reinvigorate the CBD and attract workers, visitors and tourists back to support our businesses when the time comes – but we must survive before we can look to recovery,” she added.
“JobKeeper helped Sydney’s businesses and workers through the worst of the first lockdown. We need it back, now.”
Information about how to apply for the City of Sydney small business grants is not yet available, however, details about other support measures from the council are available online.
This story originally appeared on SmartCompany and has been republished with permission.