BATHURST'S dining and entertainment venues are set for a multi-million dollar COVID recovery boost thanks to the NSW Budget that was released last week.
The economic lifeline will come in the form of four $25 vouchers to be offered to every NSW adult to be spent in cafes, restaurants and cultural institutions
About 32,000 of the Bathurst region's 43,000 residents will be eligible for the vouchers, potentially pouring more than $3 million in government support into local cash registers.
Two of the Out And About vouchers can be redeemed in restaurants, cafes and clubs and two vouchers can be redeemed for entertainment in cultural institutions, performing arts, cinemas and amusement parks.
The vouchers cannot be used for retail or on alcohol, gambling and cigarettes.
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Nick McKechnie, owner of Bathurst's Dudley Hotel, said that from what he had read about the scheme it was a great idea.
"Hotels and especially smaller cafes are all trying to come back after being shut down," he said.
"I think the hotel industry has come back fairly strong, probably stronger then smaller cafes, but I still think it's a long road ahead after being closed for 10-12 weeks."
Mr McKechnie said he thinks the stimulus will make a difference to the industry.
"I really think it will," he said, adding that at this stage he was unsure how the program would operate.
"I do think it will take a little bit of working out. But I think it will be good.
"Because of lockdowns people are getting used to staying home. I think this will help, I think every little bit will help."
General manager of the Bathurst RSL Club, Peter Sargent, also welcomed the initiative.
"It's great to see that the NSW Government recognises the impact on the hospitality and entertainment industries and has taken steps to get people 'out and about' again," he said.
"I think the vouchers are a great form of stimulus that will deliver real revenue for business operators, as opposed to simply providing cash handouts."
Mr Sargent said he also thinks the NSW Government deserves credit for the manner in which they have managed the state's emergence from lockdown and reopening NSW.
Service NSW will run the scheme and a business must register to be part of the voucher program. Businesses will also need to register as COVID-safe to participate.
A trial of the program will be run in Sydney's CBD next month.
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