Modelled on the UK’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, the NSW government has announced a $500 million Out and About scheme, offering the state’s adult citizens $100 worth of digital vouchers to help out local cafés, restaurants and cinemas.
The scheme, announced on Tuesday, is the centrepiece of the state’s budget, which also includes key measures to get people back to work.
According to Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, two vouchers can be redeemed in restaurants, cafés and clubs, while the remaining two vouchers can be used for entertainment such as cultural institutions, cinemas and amusement parks.
The scheme will be run by Service NSW, with businesses asked to register to partake in the program.
According to the criteria, the vouchers cannot be used for retail, alcohol, gambling and cigarettes. Moreover, two $25 dining vouchers cannot be used for a single transaction, and if a voucher is used to pay an amount short of $25, the residual amount will expire.
The program is not expected before next year, with the government expected to trial the program in the CBD in December.
“The dining and entertainment industries were among the hardest hit by the pandemic and I would encourage people to utilise this scheme once it is up and running and to make sure they spend a bit extra on the way through, too,” Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.
The NSW scheme mirrors a similar initiative in the UK, the Eat Out to Help Out program, which in August saw the consumption of 100 million meals from 84,700 establishments.
The scheme has, however, come under scrutiny in recent weeks, with new research suggesting it could in fact have caused a sixth of new coronavirus case clusters over the summer. The Treasury has rejected these claims.