Support for NSW businesses announced as Nambucca Valley braces for quiet school holiday period


A STATE government support package for businesses across New South Wales affected by the current Covid-19 restrictions was announced Tuesday, June 29, as the Nambucca Valley tourism and hospitality industries braced for a quiet school holiday period.

The package includes grants of between $5,000 and $10,000 for small businesses, depending on the amount of lost income experienced during the restrictions, and payroll tax deferrals for all employers.

The Dine & Discover program was also extended until the end of August and the vouchers can now be used on takeaway meals.

The announcement came after coronavirus restrictions announced on Saturday, June 26, threw plans for what would usually be a busy school holiday period in the Nambucca Valley into disarray.

The restrictions require anyone who has been in the Greater Sydney region (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong) on or after June 21 to follow stay-at-home orders for a period of 14 days after they left the area.

The rules also re-introduce the one-person-per-four-square-metre rule for all indoor and outdoor settings, prohibit drinking while standing and dancing at indoor venues, and mandate mask wearing in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces, among other restrictions.

Nambucca Heads and Valla Chamber of Commerce treasurer Julie Garvey said the timing of the restrictions was unfortunate for local businesses.

“The Nambucca Valley was gearing up for these school holidays,” she said, adding that cafes, clubs, restaurants and holiday parks would be among the hardest hit.

“Particularly during the winter months, when trade is slower, they really do rely on the trade from visitors to the area.”

Major disruptions include the postponement of the 2021 Veterans Week of Golf tournament that was set to take place at Nambucca Heads Island Golf Club from July 4 to 9, with venue manager Jonathan Zirkler saying he hoped to be able to reschedule it for late August.

“We had 140 people plus reserves booked in per day,” he said, adding that at least 50 of that number were from the greater Sydney region and would’ve been unable to attend.

He noted that the postponement would have a knock-on effect for other local businesses, particularly the nearby holiday parks popular with tournament attendees.

V-Wall Tavern Manager Benjamin Abbott said the restrictions will be tough on businesses and staff.

“A lot of local businesses really rely on that influx of tourists over the holidays.

“We’re probably three times quieter than what we usually are in this period. I’ve just cut my roster in half for the next two weeks, which means everyone is getting fewer shifts,” he said.

In addition to the sharp fall in tourists, Abbott said trade from locals had dropped off after the restrictions were announced but that, so long as it remains safe to do so, he hoped to see it pick up again in the coming days as people adjust to the situation.

“I’d encourage locals to still get out and support local businesses,” he said, adding that, following a slow period in the immediate wake of previous coronavirus restrictions being announced, “locals started coming out again after four or five days, so we’re hoping that happens again”.

Businesses will be able to apply for the state government grants via Service NSW, with payments available from July 19.


By Brooke LEWIS

Leave a Reply