Blue Mountains City Council has announced that it is waiving all footpath dining and storage fees for local businesses for a three-month period, commencing February 1.
The council is also providing targeted support for businesses and tenants in council buildings who can demonstrate financial hardship. Their fees will be waived by 50 per cent for three months from February 1 to April 30.
Blue Mountains mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, declared the importance of continuing support for local businesses in the wake of the escalation of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 since December.
"This is the third year in a row that local businesses have been under strain due to the pandemic," he said. "The impact of COVID-19, together with the impact of natural disasters since 2019, means local businesses have experienced significant reductions in income, patronage and job losses.
"Council continues to support local businesses at this difficult time."
The council previously waived footpath dining and storage fees for over 100 businesses for six months amid the pandemic's first wave in 2020, at a cost of $22,000. Council also waived rents for tenants and businesses offering service from council buildings from December 2019 to October 2021, support valued at $585,000.
Given the escalation of COVID-19 since December, tenants will now be able to access the new 50 per cent reduction in lease fees from February 1 to April 30 by providing evidence (through a Business Activity Statement lodged with the ATO or a statement from an accredited accountant) that they have experienced a decline in turnover of 30 percent or more from November 2021 to January 2022.
"Council has provided financial relief to local businesses throughout 2020 and 2021 and this latest urgent action means that council will continue to provide this much-needed support," Cr Greenhill said.