Hamilton’s struggling hospitality industry gets another financial safety net

Hamilton City Council is offering hospitality businesses another helping hand as they struggle to keep doors open during the Omicron outbreak. Photo / Danielle Zollickhofer

As Hamilton CBD hospitality businesses face tough times with a drop in foot traffic due to Omicron, City Council has approved another financial relief package to help local food businesses.

The council has approved a 50% fee reduction for food safety checks that take place before the end of June this year.

Audits are required under the Food Act 2014 to help operators meet the requirements of their food control plans for things like training, food storage, hygiene and other safety requirements .

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Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said the decision would put about $60,000 back into the pockets of local businesses.

“The pandemic has had a significant impact on business and the hospitality sector, in particular, has really struggled with the latest restrictions. This decision is part of a series of changes the council has already implemented to make our part to help keep the doors open.”

With Omicron cases still high across the country and 1,650 new community cases in the Waikato yesterday, Hamilton’s CBD is going through a tough time due to Covid-19 reporting a drop in revenue, foot traffic and staff.

CBD foot traffic is down because people are sick or in isolation, working from home or just playing it safe and staying home.

Hamilton Central Business Association (HCBA) chief executive Vanessa Williams said she estimates foot traffic is down 20-25% from a year ago.

“Any reduction in day-to-day expenses incurred by hospitality businesses in the current environment is welcome. We are grateful that the board have been both receptive to the idea and have actively explored how this could be easily implemented. implemented.”

HCBA Chief Executive Vanessa Williams, Mat Pedley of Waikato Food Inc, Mayor Paula Southgate and Deputy Mayor Geoff Taylor are working together to support the hospitality industry.  Photo / Provided
HCBA Chief Executive Vanessa Williams, Mat Pedley of Waikato Food Inc, Mayor Paula Southgate and Deputy Mayor Geoff Taylor are working together to support the hospitality industry. Photo / Provided

Deputy Mayor Geoff Taylor and Southgate have worked closely with the HCBA to research ways to support struggling businesses.

He says the reduced food safety audit fee is the result of discussions about what support the council could offer businesses to ease the burden.

“Our central city is the economic heart of Hamilton and with many people now working from home, the last thing they need is those extra costs when it’s hard to get people through the door.

“We can all play our part by grabbing a coffee at our neighborhood cafe, shopping at your local store, and planning a meal downtown.”

The temporary food safety audit fee reduction applies from March 1 to June 30 and is expected to help about 250 businesses.

Companies will not need to request the discount, it will be automatically applied to invoicing.

The additional financial support package follows a 50% rent relief package approved three weeks ago for council tenants of Hamilton Gardens Cafe, Veranda Cafe at Hamilton Lake Domain, Naughty Nan, Kampong Restaurant , Nivara Lounge, Morepork Cafe at Zoo, Coffee Hub at Waterworld, Rototuna Family Golf Cafe, Kiwi Travel Cafe at Transport Centre, Jin Wing Takeaways and Mexico Restaurant.

Hamilton City Council also offered a support program in October and December last year where a total of $283,000 was made available to tenants in the hospitality and retail sectors, including $142,000 of these funds have been allocated.

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