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The impact of COVID-19 has been felt by our entire community, but in particular, by our local businesses.
Since March, we’ve been supporting our businesses community in as many ways as we can, and we’ll continue to do so, helping our local economy and community rebuild.
One of the ways we are lending a helping hand to local businesses is through fee waivers, adding up to over $1.5million approved to date. This includes fees waived for 222 outdoor dining permits, 37 footpath merchandise permits, 358 food and other environmental health inspections and numerous fire safety inspections.
Sixty six of our commercial tenants have had their annual rental or fees waived, discounted or deferred for three months with a further consideration for up to six months. Those supported include cafes, restaurants, tennis centres, golf clubs, lawn bowls clubs, gyms, dance studios and more. We have also deferred the business rate payment for 40 commercial properties through our Hardship Rate Relief policy.
For those food businesses looking to adapt to takeaway, our Environmental Health Officers dropped fees and charges for inspections and are now assisting businesses to adjust to COVID Safe requirements.
While a lot of our community were working from home, we wanted to make sure parking was not an obstacle to visiting our local businesses so we installed 27 P10 parking spaces in many of our town centres, encouraging click and collect takeaway.
We held a series of free business webinars supporting business owners on adapting and surviving during COVID-19 with 181 businesses registering to take part. Between March and May we communicated fortnightly with 16,000 businesses through our Beaches Biz Newsletter, sharing news on the changing requirements for businesses and what support was available to them. This publication continues fortnightly.
Over 60 businesses signed up to our B2B Support Hub so they could share their skills and expertise to help other local businesses- you can still sign up to lend your skills. And 51 artists and small creative businesses received our Creative Community Support Grants to help them adapt their practice.
We have been working closely with the five local chambers of commerce through regular online meetings with Mayor and CEO, cross promotion of chamber events and shop local initiatives.
Once regional travel was again allowed from 1 June, we promoted the Northern Beaches as open for business in a social media campaign from our Hello Manly Visitor Information Centre aimed at our regional neighbours on the Central Coast, Newcastle and the South Coast. We further promoted 29 tourism businesses through our Hello Manly map which we have extended until the end of 2021 at no additional cost to advertising businesses.
While we have supported local businesses as much as we can, we know there is still a long road to recovery. We’re keen to hear from you about how your business has been impacted, how you are adjusting and what support you need.
If you’re a local business owner and would like to know more about the support we’re offering, check out our Business Support page.