Rent relief part of support package for Nelson hospitality sector

25/02/2022 1:57pm

Nelson City Council is extending rent relief for outdoor dining, street stallholders and concession holders until 30 November 2022.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says while the new support package will provide some assistance to businesses in need, the key to keeping Nelson businesses in the best shape possible through the pandemic is for people to get out and support them.

"There will be disruptions due to staffing issues but these will be temporary," the Mayor says. "Our vaccination rates are excellent although they can always be improved and boosters are critical."

She says as long as we're following the guidelines, we can go about our lives as normally as possible in these times.

"Businesses are doing their part to work together to minimise the impact on their customers when disruptions and temporary closures happen."

Mayor Reese says it is essential that Council supports Nelson’s hospitality sector as they cope with loss of trade due to the Omicron outbreak.

“Council is committed to supporting Nelson’s vibrant hospitality sector, which has had a tough couple of years. I’d like this package of support to help business survive this period and for people to come and support them now.”

The support package offered by Council runs in conjunction with the central government announcement on Monday 21 February, providing businesses that have suffered a 40% loss of revenue due to Omicron with financial support.

President of Hospitality New Zealand’s Nelson Branch Ian Williams said any reduction in outgoings for hospitality providers was welcomed.

“When Omicron arrived and we shifted into Red setting on 23 January, our summer season effectively ended on top of a poor summer with cancelled events, and I know a lot of businesses are struggling more than at any other time. This rent relief will help those smaller providers and those with outdoor dining facilities continue to be able to offer this option at a time when many patrons prefer to sit outside.”

As well as rent relief, Council is looking at a range of other ways to support the sector. The following actions are underway or being planned:

  • A city-wide graffiti sweep and extra cleaning at Upper Trafalgar Street so the city is looking its best.
  • Potential support from the Events Fund for small-scale events like buskers in the city centre, Stoke and Tāhunanui.
  • Assistance with the sector’s recovery once the Omicron peak has passed. This could include advertising, local street art initiatives, and funding for events from May and beyond.
  • Supporting the work of Uniquely Nelson in keeping the retail and hospitality sector afloat.

Nelson City Council first offered rent relief for outdoor dining, street stallholders and concession holders in March 2020 for three months. This was further extended to the end of November 2020. Rent relief was reintroduced in March 2021 and was due to end at the end of this month. 

To date, 20 licence holders in Nelson have applied for relief, collectively saving over $60,000. The estimated cost to Council of extending the relief to the end of November is a further $42,000, met by COVID-19 relief budgets.

Mayor Reese urged all outdoor dining, street stall and concession holders to apply as circumstances may have changed since this relief was first offered.

To qualify, licence holders need to provide Council with turnover for the last three years verified by their accountant, demonstrating a downturn in revenue.