The $25 million package of measures include the following, which will be in place for an initial period of six months:
- Waiving fees for Health and Building compliance activities
- Reviewing, in conjunction with its tenants, rents in City premises for tenants that require support on a case-by-case basis
- Waiving its standard contractual terms and returning booking and banner fees to people and organisations who have booked City of Sydney venues and are now unable to proceed with their bookings
- Waiving footway dining, market permit and filming fees on the grounds of hardship
- Flexible parking infringements.
The City will also work with major business partners and contractors, whether or not services continue to be provided in their current form, to support them as much as possible so they can continue to pay their staff during this period and maintain business continuity in the long term.
The Lord Mayor said the City was working on a second stage of its support package, targeting those in the creative, arts and entertainment industries.
“The social distancing that is so crucial for public health is, sadly, hurting the livelihoods of many in our community. Those who work in our creative, arts and entertainment industries are facing months of cancelled events, lost income and uncertainty,” the Lord Mayor said.
“I also support the call from welfare and arts bodies for a ban on housing evictions in the coming months, to give some certainty to those who have lost their income due to coronavirus.
“We stand together with those who enrich our cultural lives and help us reflect on and understand the world we live in - especially during this crisis.
“The situation is changing daily. No one knows how long this crisis will last. This is the first of our financial support measures and we are now developing a small business quick response grants program, and will continue to work with the State and Federal Governments to ensure communities receive the financial relief that is needed.”
The Lord Mayor said the City would continue to monitor the situation and do everything in its operational control to maintain community health and safety.
“We will remain vigilant and continue to work with NSW health authorities to ensure the city and our staff are prepared for further spread of the coronavirus,” the Lord Mayor said.
“This week, we announced that we would be cancelling or postponing all non-essential events and in-person meetings, closing our gyms and aquatic centres and placing restricted hours on libraries and community centres. We did not come to the decision to cancel events or close facilities lightly, but we believe it’s best for the community that we do so.
“Staff from our Homelessness Unit have been out across the City over the past fortnight talking with people who are sleeping rough. They are sharing basic health information on laminated cards, and working with the Department of Communities and Justice who are trying to get people sleeping rough into temporary accommodation and housing.
“This is an unprecedented health emergency. We stand ready to support our residents, businesses, cultural and vulnerable communities through this challenging time.”