This next week is going to be really tough.
Until at least Friday 9 July, Sydney residents will be in lockdown.
You must stay at home unless you are shopping for essentials, receiving medical care, exercising, or working/studying if you can’t do so from home.
This is going to be particularly hard on our businesses. Businesses that were just starting to recover from an awful year. While preventing further spread of Covid is necessary, we must help those whose livelihoods are affected by the health measures.
Fortunately, there has been some relief, with the NSW Government responding to our calls for hardship grants.
The Government is providing emergency grants up to $10,000 for businesses struggling with rent, wages and stock and has also announced an extension of the Dine & Discover program – vouchers can be used till the end of August and can now be used for takeaway.
This is really welcome relief. But for many sole traders and our arts and creative community, the $75,000 turnover threshold for this support is too high.
Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Scully has launched a petition calling for the Government to reduce the income threshold for these and any future Covid hardship grants, so that small businesses and sole traders can receive much needed support.
You can read more about the issue and sign the petition here. It will help the Government understand how critical it is to help sole traders in our creative and cultural sector – if we get over 20,000 signatures it will be debated in Parliament.
It will also be hard for our most vulnerable communities, including rough sleepers.
The Department of Communities and Justice has announced temporary accommodation will be made available to people experiencing homelessness, and the City’s Public Space Liaison Officers will be patrolling daily to make sure people know this accommodation is available.
They will also provide masks and sanitiser to those who need it.
Council services and facilities
There will be some changes to City services and facilities, including some closures:
- Our pools, libraries, community centres, gyms, customer and neighbourhood service centres will closed;
- Sydney Town Hall, Customs House and Town Hall House will also be closed to the public; and
- Venues for hire are closed and anyone with a booking will be contacted.
Essential City services, such as waste collection, will continue as normal. As will childcare, after school care and vacation care, and our Meals on Wheels and homelessness services.
The City’s parks, playgrounds and outdoor fitness stations will remain open in line with directions issued by NSW Health. The City will implement additional cleaning for playgrounds and fitness stations.
We will also be leaving the lights on at our sporting fields a little longer into the evening, to give everyone a little more time for exercising outdoors.
Please look after yourself and others
We know the pandemic has had a big impact on people’s mental health and now more than ever it is important that you look after yourself and those around you.
Please stay home, get tested if you have Covid symptoms, and check your eligibility to book a vaccine.
Exercise, get fresh air and sun when you can, take solace in music, reading, or however you can, and be kind to each other. We will get through this, together.