BURGER bars, fish and chip outlets and hole in the wall coffee joints are among a swag of northern beaches businesses to be excluded from the Dine and Discover scheme.
The initiative is the NSW Government's centrepiece in helping COVID lockdown impacted businesses, but some business owners are discovering that they're not eligible.
One business owner, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution, accused the government of forgetting many local businesses.
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"My business is ineligible because it is categorised as a takeaway business," she said. "We do not have any tables in our setup, we just sell over-the-counter. In the fine print apparently the scheme excludes takeaway food businesses.
"Our local member even suggested I register so it seems even he wasn't aware of this restriction. So all the hundreds of coffee bars, fish and chips, burger joints, holes in the wall without seating on the Beaches are excluded, yet we all suffered badly during the lockdown.
In the fine print apparently the scheme excludes takeaway food businesses.Business owner
"I'm hoping the government reconsiders and permits all food businesses to register."
A Service NSW spokesman confirmed the scheme does exclude takeaway outlets.
"Dine vouchers are targeted at food providers that offer dine-in options for customers and have suffered from the downturn in foot traffic due to COVID-19 Public Health Orders and associated lockdowns," he said.
"Some food court businesses are currently eligible to register for the program if they have dedicated seating/table service for that particular business."
Mona Vale Bakery manager Sam Khun said he understands why takeaway businesses were excluded as they were able to stay open and operate in a relatively normal manner during the lockdowns.
"We stayed open throughout the whole lockdown period, but I could see other businesses that had seating and they all had to close," he said.
Mr Khun said while his regular customers supported his business during the lockdowns, he said it would have been difficult for less established takeaway businesses.
Salty Rooster owner Jimmy Sagiotis said eligibility for inclusion in the Dine and Discover program should be means tested so that the businesses that need it most receive the help.
"We did really well through it and I look at other businesses and the lockdowns have turned them inside out," he said.
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