The NSW government is rolling out grants for hospitality venues along with additional Dine & Discover vouchers as part of a broader initiative to revive the NSW hospitality industry post-lockdown.
Restaurants, bars and cafes will be offered $5,000 in grants and will be able to expand outdoor dining into car parks and gardens this summer as part of a government package geared towards jumpstarting economic growth after the 2021 Delta lockdown, which cost the NSW economy billions.
The state government will also provide two additional Dine and Discover vouchers to NSW residents aged 18 years.
Those who have not yet applied for any of the Dine and Discover vouchers will receive all six $25 vouchers via their ServiceNSW app if they apply before the program ends.
Close to 4.8 million people have used the Dine and Discover vouchers since they were rolled out by the state government in 2020, providing businesses with a $430 million boost according to government figures. The rollout of the new vouchers is expected to cost up to $250 million.
NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said the program’s success during the last reopening in April meant it was “doubling down efforts with an additional two $25 vouchers – one for Dine and one for Discover venues.”
Under the government’s $66 million Alfresco Restart Initiative, set to be announced by Kean on Thursday, outdoor dining exemptions on footpaths for small bars and pubs will also be made permanent.
Under the plan, the first 5,000 hospitality businesses to successfully apply for the new government grant will be given $5000 to expand or make improvements to their outdoor areas.
Kean said the dining initiative was also being supported as it was a “safe way to socialise as we open up.”
“That’s why we are supporting new outdoor entertainment and dining precincts to pop up right across the state,” Kean said.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes said a six-month emergency exemption will be given to hospitality venues to expand onto private land, including car parks, bowling greens and gardens.
“In addition to the permanent easing of rules for dining on footpaths and public spaces, we’re temporarily allowing outdoor dining on privately owned bowling greens and car parks, meaning businesses can expand outdoors on almost any piece of land they own to welcome more customers,” Stokes said.
As part of the plan, councils will also be offered up to $500,000 in grants to improve high streets and surrounding areas, with outdoor dance floors, live music, theatre and comedy shows to be rolled out across The Rocks, Darling Harbour and the Domain this Summer.
The state government will also spend $6.5 million funding the opening of streets in the 12 former LGAs of concern and the City of Sydney to open streets for community events and activities.
Hospitality venues will be able to use the $5000 grant for measures including weather protection, musicians, lighting, temporary ground surfaces and additional furniture.