Dubbo businesses will not be charged for having chairs tables or signs on the footpath as part of ongoing support to help get them back on their feet.
At the recent Dubbo Regional Council meeting, mayor Ben Shields raised the plan to waive the $140 application fees for footpath dining, displayed goods on the footpath and portable signs on the footpath.
"Many businesses have done a fantastic job in adapting to change in the current pandemic crisis, and it means many have had to make sacrifices and change the way they do things," he said.
"Many businesses now have to spread out their operations in order to meet COVIDSafe requirements, by expanding their outdoor dining or putting chairs outside their shops in case people have to wait for appointments."
ALSO MAKING NEWS:
Cr Shields said applying for a permit for the businesses to increase their outdoor footprint could add to their financial pressure.
Council has already cut the fees for permanent outdoor structures like pergolas but now things like sandwich boards, tables and chairs have also been added to the list.
"We've had great success so far with, you'd call it a stimulus almost, our outdoor diners and our retailers in our CBD. Trying to get them out trading again, trying to make sure the costs are as minimal as possible when it comes to council services," the mayor said.
However, he has warned businesses that they still need to follow the rules.
"This doesn't mean they can't go by the usual safety standards, of course it means council rangers and officers could come along if something's unsafe or they're not doing the right thing. We can make sure retailers can do the right thing, particularly around safety," Cr Shields said.
"But waiving the fee is a good way we can a, help stimulate the Dubbo market place because as we know, businesses that look vibrant, that have customers around, and particularly out the front, tend to trade better. And also b, it's making it cheaper for our businesses to do retail in the Dubbo region. I think that's very important."
Businesses are still required to apply to council if they wish to place tables or signs on the footpath. Any business that has not applied for a permit will be required to remove the non-compliant items until approval is granted.
More details will be provided to businesses through an upcoming campaign.
Cr Shields has said multiple times since the COVID-19 pandemic hit that he wants the Dubbo region to be the area that recovers the fastest economically.