As we can see in the city's boarded-up restaurants and lagging event ticket sales around the state, even when lockdown is over, it's not really over. The dining, arts and entertainment sectors have been among the hardest hit as a result of the pandemic, but now the NSW government has a plan to encourage people to get out and support their cultural and food institutions.
In the NSW budget announced today, treasurer Dominic Perrottet outlined a new scheme called Out and About, which would give residents of the state aged 18 and over four $25 vouchers to use to enjoy their cities and towns. Two are to be used in cafés and restaurants, and the other two are dedicated for use in entertainment venues like cinemas, theatres, amusement parks and performing arts centres. But there are a few disclaimers: the vouchers can't be combined, they can't be used for alcohol, gambling, retail or cigarettes, and you can only redeem them at registered venues that are part of the scheme.
It's all quite similar to the UK Government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which gave diners 50 per cent off their bill when they dined on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If NSW Parliament approves the scheme, it'll be rolled out as a trial in Sydney's CBD in December, before expanding to the rest of the state in early 2021.