Lower Hutt cafes and restaurants will be eligible for a free 12 month licence to install more outdoor seating and tables under a scheme announced by Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry and Cr Deborah Hislop today.
“We have asked our Council to identify simple, low-cost ways we can support businesses recover through the COVID-19 pandemic. Waiving license fees for outdoor seating and tables costs our Council very little, but will provide some relief to our local hospitality businesses,” Campbell Barry said.
Under the new scheme, encroachment fees (including the application fee) will be waived for 12 months to encourage businesses to install more outdoor seating. Council will offset the small loss in revenue resulting from waiving the fees.
Councillor Deborah Hislop, who chairs Council’s Regulatory Committee, says she is pleased to see Council taking sensible and pragmatic steps to support local businesses.
“We know these are tough and challenging times for businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector. We are looking at every tool available to us to provide relief, and waiving these fees is one small and immediate step we can take,” Cr Hislop said.
Mayor Campbell Barry says these changes are both about supporting local businesses and making it easier to comply with government physical distancing requirements.
“Physical distancing requirements mean hospitality businesses are unable to turnover the same number of customers they would normally expect to. More outdoor seating increases capacity and therefore supports the bottom line of these businesses.”
“These changes will also allow businesses to safely seat more customers and comply with the Government’s physical distancing guidelines,” Campbell Barry said.