More NSW residents can use the state government’s hospitality voucher scheme, designed to boost the pandemic-hit hospitality industry.
From Monday an additional 700 businesses in Bega Valley, the northern beaches and Sydney CBD will take part in the second pilot of Dine & Discover NSW.
That means more than 125,000 NSW residents in those three areas are eligible for the vouchers, the bulk of those living in the northern beaches.
The scheme gives residents four $25 vouchers to be spent in local businesses and cultural venues.
The expanded pilot follows an initial trial which started earlier this month, in Sydney’s Rocks district and Broken Hill.
The statewide rollout of the program is expected to begin in March.
The $500 million scheme was the centrepiece of the NSW government’s November budget in a bid to get more people spending.
Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said the stimulus would bring much needed relief to businesses affected by COVID-19 and last year’s bushfires.
“These communities have been brought to their knees due to the pandemic and bushfires, and the vouchers will deliver a boost for businesses and encourage customers to get out and about safely,” he said.
Only businesses registered for the program can accept the vouchers and “it’s not too late for eligible businesses to register”, Mr Dominello says.
Business NSW, the state’s peak business group, also encouraged businesses in the hospitality, entertainment and tourism sectors to register for the program.
“No one needs extra encouragement to have a meal out or enjoy some down time after the past year we have all endured, so I encourage businesses to do the right thing and register so they can reap the rewards,” said Business NSW chief executive Nola Watson.
“It’s important business owners understand that vouchers can only be used at premises that have a COVID Safety plan and are registered as COVID safe.”
Two of the $25 vouchers can be used at restaurants, cafes, pubs and other hospitality venues between Mondays and Thursdays. The other two vouchers can be used at entertainment and recreation venues like live music and arts venues.
Vouchers are provided through the Service NSW app, which is already required for checking in at hospitality venues.