NSW Is Giving Residents $100 in Vouchers to Use at Restaurants and Entertainment Venues
The scheme, called 'Out & About', is designed to encourage NSW residents to support struggling hospitality and entertainment businesses.
Both in Australia's nationwide lockdown between March and June and since New South Wales slowly started returning to normality, the state's hospitality businesses have been doing it tough. Temporary closures, pivoting to takeaway and delivery, stocking sought-after grocery items, enforcing social distancing, operating at limited capacity, using QR codes — these have all been on the cards to help stem the spread of COVID-19, and they've all had a sizeable impact on restaurants and cafes.
The situation is the similar in NSW's entertainment industry, too — so, as part of the just-announced State Budget for 2020–21, the government is starting a new scheme to help both sectors. Called 'Out & About', the program is designed to encourage folks to head out of the house, have a meal, and see a movie or show. And, to do so on multiple occasions.
When Out & About comes into effect from late January 2021 — with the exact date yet to be revealed — every NSW resident over the age of 18 will be eligible to receive $100 in vouchers. You'll score four $25 vouchers, in fact, with two available to use at restaurants, cafes, clubs and other food venues, and the other two specifically for cultural institutions, performing arts, cinemas and amusement parks.
There are a few caveats, understandably. You won't be able to use your vouchers on tobacco, alcohol or gambling, for starters. And, you can only use each voucher once, including if your transaction totals less than $25. You'll also need to use your vouchers separately, because the idea is to get NSW folks heading out several times to several different places.
To access the vouchers, you'll also need a MyServiceNSW account — and the corresponding app, so you can use the vouchers digitally. You'll only be able to redeem them at participating and COVID-safe registered businesses, however, with further details about where you can use them set to be revealed in the coming weeks.
In total, the program will cost the NSW Government $500 million. A pilot scheme will be run first, before launching Out & About statewide.
Obviously, NSW's social distancing requirements and other COVID-19 hygiene practises still apply to anyone venturing out of their house for something to eat, a night at the flicks or some time mashing buttons.
And if it all sounds a bit familiar, that's because the UK implemented something similar earlier in 2020, offering up half-price meals to encourage folks to eat out — although it has been suggested that the British scheme might've contributed to a rise in coronavirus cases.
For information about the 'Out & About' scheme, visit the NSW Government's website.
Top image: Cassandra Hannagan
Published on November 17, 2020 by Sarah Ward