Victoria’s café industry is welcoming the $200 million stimulus package announced by the state government on 21 February.
The package will support hospitality businesses devastated by the financial impact of COVID-19 and provide a “much-needed” boost to the entire tourism sector.
The centrepiece of the stimulus package is the voucher program, which will reimburse 25 per cent of the bill when diners spend between $40 and $500.
Ten million dollars in vouchers for cafés and restaurants located in Melbourne’s CBD will be launched on 7 March, with a further $30 million in state-wide vouchers slated to be released on 22 March.
The package will also address the critical labour shortage affecting many small hospitality businesses, with $34.2 million set aside to connect job seekers with potential employees.
The announcement has been eagerly awaited by industry bodies such as Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA).
“Who ever heard of Christmas in February?” says R&CA CEO Wes Lambert.
“[The package] is exactly the step in the right direction that our industry needs after such a tough two years.”
The R&CA says the package will be a “much-needed boost” to the more than 16,000 restaurants, cafés and catering businesses operating across Victoria.
In addition to the voucher schemes, the package will provide some direct support to café and restaurant owners.
Rebates and matched grants will be available from mid-March for small businesses to help improve ventilation for better COVID safety, and modernising digital tools such as online menus, inventory management and e-commerce platforms.
For more details on each program, including launch dates, see the Victorian government website.