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NSW COVID-19 Lockdown: What Financial Support Can Hospitality Businesses Get?

NSW COVID-19 Lockdown: What Financial Support Can Hospitality Businesses Get?

We’ve been inside for 3 weeks now, and it’s starting to get old.

You can’t socialise (apart from that stuff we’re all creatively labelling as ‘exercise’), which is putting a massive financial strain on a lot of our favourite hospitality businesses.

But it’s all for good reason; we need to get on top of this latest outbreak, so that when we open back up, we can stay open. It’s hopefully the lockdown to end all lockdowns.

To support this, the NSW government has introduced new grants, and extended some of its existing schemes.

To make things easier, we’ve broken down the grants and initiatives currently available to hospitality businesses: 

COVID-19 Business Grant

This tax-exempt grant is available to tourism or hospitality businesses that have a turnover of more than $75,000 and an annual wage bill of below $10 million, as at 1 July 2020.

Grants can be used for business expenses such as rent, utilities and wages, for which no other government support is available.

Three different grant amounts will be available depending on the decline in turnover experienced during the restrictions; $7,500, $10,500, and $15,000.

Eligibility

Businesses must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the Hospitality & Tourism COVID-19 Support Grant:

  • A decline in turnover of 30% or more for a $7,500 grant
  • A decline in turnover of 50% or more for a $10,500 grant
  • A decline in turnover of 70% or more for a $15,000 grant
  • Have an ABN registered in New South Wales or;
  • Be able to demonstrate they are physically located, or primarily operating in New South Wales
  • Full eligibility criteria will be available soon

How to apply

Applications will be available from 19 July 2021.

Micro Business Grant

This tax-exempt grant is available to small businesses or sole traders that have an annual turnover of more than $30,000, but less than $75,000.

Eligible businesses can receive a $1,500 payment per fortnight of restrictions.

Eligibility

Businesses must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the Micro Business Grant:

  • A decline in turnover of 30%
  • Have an ABN registered in New South Wales or;
  • Be able to demonstrate they are physically located, or primarily operating in New South Wales
  • Full eligibility criteria will be available soon

How to apply

Applications will be available from late July 2021.

Tax relief for all employers

There’s also been some tax relief introduced in the form of deferrals, waivers, and interest-free repayment arrangements.

Businesses have an optional deferral of payroll tax payments (due in July 2021) to August 9th.

They also have the option of a 25% payroll tax waiver. This is available to businesses with annual wage costs between $1.2 million & $10 million who have suffered a 30% decline in turnover.

Hotels & clubs will also have the option to defer their June quarter gaming machine tax payments, which would usually be due in July. 

Clubs can defer these payments until December 21st 2021, whilst hotels can defer until January 21st 2022.

The Chief Commissioner of State Revenue is able to provide for appropriate repayment arrangements on a case by case basis.

How to apply

For a payroll tax deferral, call the Payroll Tax team on 1300 139 815 or email  [email protected]

To defer your June quarter gaming tax, call the Tax Debt team on 1300 368 710 or email [email protected]

Dine & Discover

In March 2021, the NSW Government launched the Dine & Discover scheme, aimed at encouraging the community to get out and about to support dining, arts, and recreation businesses.

Under the scheme, eligible NSW residents receive 4 vouchers (2 for dining out at bars, restaurants, and cafes, and 2 for entertainment and recreation at places like cinemas, art galleries, and live music venues) , each with a value of $25.

The scheme was due to expire on June 30th, but has now been extended (again) to August 31st.

The government has also made available the ability to use Dine & Discover vouchers for takeaway, delivered directly to your home, or picked up from a venue after a QR code check in. This, however, does not apply to third-party delivery services (like Deliveroo, Ubereats, Menulog etc.).covid delivery driver

Eligibility

Businesses must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the Dine & Discover scheme:

  • Have an active ABN 
  • Operate in NSW
  • Be registered for GST
  • Be registered as COVID Safe and have a COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • Operate in an eligible industry

How to apply

If you want your business to participate in the Dine & Discover scheme, you can apply online here.

COVID Disaster Payments

The Jobkeeper scheme is dead, which is frustrating.

Enter the COVID-19 Disaster Payment. Think of it as a de facto-Jobkeeper, a Jobkeeper-lite.

Aimed primarily at casual workers who have seen their weekly hours drop, the Federal Government has made this scheme available for all affected by the NSW Lockdown.

These payments of either $375, or $600 will depend on the individual’s circumstances. 

If you’re in a declared COVID-19 hotspot where the lockdown restrictions remain in place, this will be a recurring payment, removing the previous need to re-apply week by week.

There has been, however, an announcement made on getting a Jobkeeper-like scheme going for NSW residents.

Eligibility

To be eligible for a one-off COVID-19 Disaster Payment, you must:

  • Meet the general eligibility rules 
  • Have seen your weekly hours reduced by 20 hours to receive a $600 payment
  • Have seen your weekly hours reduced by less than 20 hours to receive a $375 payment
  • Live or work in the following local government areas: 
    • City of Sydney
    • Waverley
    • Randwick 
    • Canada Bay 
    • Inner West 
    • Bayside 
    • Woollahra 
    • Greater Sydney 
    • Blue Mountains 
    • Central Coast 
    • Wollongong 
    • Shellharbour

You may also be eligible if you have visited Sydney during the relevant periods, and were subject to a restricted movement order.

The previous criteria that you must have less than $10,000 in liquid assets to make a claim has recently been dropped, meaning that workers with more than $10,000 in their bank account are eligible as well. The government has also dropped the one-off payment aspect of this scheme.

How to claim COVID Disaster Payments

If you’re finding it difficult to make ends meet, and you want to apply for a COVID-19 Disaster Payment, Australian residents can claim online via your myGov account (provided it’s linked to a Centrelink online account)

Australian residents working in hospitality can apply for COVID-19 Disaster Payment online via their myGov account (provided it’s linked to a Centrelink online account). While working visa holders can apply by calling 180 22 66, or 131 202 if you need a multilingual phone service.

Jobsaver employee retention scheme

As mentioned above, the NSW government has introduced a new Jobsaver employee retention scheme, to help businesses retain their staff.

Eligible businesses can receive a cash boost of up to 40% of their weekly payroll costs, with a payment of between $1,500 to a maximum of $10,000 per week.

Eligibility

  • Businesses must show a 30% drop in turnover compared to an equivalent two week period in 2019
  • Businesses must maintain their full-time, part-time, and long-term casual staffing levels as of 13 July 2021
  • Full eligibility will be available soon

How to apply

Applications aren’t currently open, however, businesses can register their interest from 14 July 2021

Small business fees & charges rebate

Small businesses, sole-traders, and not-for-profits can apply for a rebate of $1,500 on government fees and charges.

This rebate aims to help businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19, as well as encouraging growth by reducing running costs.

Eligible businesses need only to apply once, but can submit multiple claims until the full value of $1,500 is reached. Only one payment of $1,500 is available per ABN.

These funds can be used to offset the costs of government fees & charges both due, and paid from March 1st 2021.

These fees & charges include, but are not limited to:

  • Food authority licences
  • Liquor licences
  • Event fees
  • Outdoor seating fees
  • Council rates

Eligibility

  • Total wages below the NSW Government 2020-2021 payroll tax threshold of $1.2 million
  • Have an ABN registered in NSW and/or have business premises physically located and operating in NSW

How to apply

If government fees & charges are cutting into your takings, you can lodge your one-time application here.

Additional support for hospitality businesses 

In addition to the available assistance for NSW eligible businesses, (you can apply now), a requirement on landlords to participate in mediation before taking actions to evict or lock out tenants was also introduced.

And there you have it. 

Hopefully this helps you ease your way back into reality and we’ll all see each other on the other side, battle-hardened and with a new-found appreciation for our amazing small businesses. 

Or maybe it’s all just a glitch in the Matrix, because this doesn’t feel like reality at all.

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