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Thursday, 19 March 2020

Northern Beaches Council has announced a sweeping package of measures aimed at supporting local businesses through the COVID-19 emergency.

The $1.2 million package includes financial relief for small businesses in the form of waivers on outdoor dining, food health inspections and fire safety fees for approximately six months, effective from 25 March 2020. The plan will go to Council’s Meeting next week for endorsement.

Mayor Michael Regan said Council was committed to supporting local business through this very challenging period.

“This is a tough time for our whole community but we know our local businesses will be hit particularly hard.

“Our priority is to make sure local businesses feel supported, are well informed and know where and how to get the best advice about funding and practical resources.

“That’s why we have announced a package for our businesses, on top of that on offer from state and federal governments. We want to get them through a this particularly difficult time so that they can keep operating out the other side.”

Council will adopt a flexible and pragmatic approach on parking restrictions for supermarket and food businesses. This will make it easier for suppliers to get deliveries to supermarkets and parking for take-away pickups. It will allow restaurants not currently licenced to undertake a take away service to do so.

In other initiatives, Council is applying its Rates and Annual Charges Hardship Policy to help impacted eligible small businesses suffering financial hardship to enter into payment arrangements and to waive associated interest costs, if deemed necessary.

Council will also assist local businesses to find new ways to connect with customers. This includes helping businesses with social media marketing and promoting ‘shop local’ initiatives.

“We will draw upon our relationship with State Government agencies to continue to provide advice and support to our local businesses, including NSW Government business advisory provider, Realise Business, who are running an upcoming webinar on Small Business Interruption from the Coronavirus,” Mayor Regan said.

“With a growing database of over 10,000 local businesses, we will continue to regularly update on Government advice and support for business on COVID-19.”

With local economic conditions changing rapidly, Council will continue to look at ways to support local businesses and scale-up our responses, where necessary.

“We will continue to meet regularly with the business chambers and send regular updates to keep the business community informed,” Mayor Regan said.

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