Mayor Foster says the Council is proud of its response to COVID-19 and acknowledges the incredibly hard work that has gone into supporting businesses and communities across the city through a very challenging time. Wellington was one of the first councils in the country to activate a comprehensive pandemic response, recovery and revitalisation plan.
“During the response phase our Emergency Welfare Team worked with multiple welfare organisations to support the most vulnerable people in our community, ensuring they had access to food and accommodation throughout the lockdown. Every person was provided with supported accommodation,” says Mayor Foster. The Council received 107 applications for additional community grants funding.
“The Council supported local businesses by providing to date about $2 million in rates and rent relief, fee rebates and pavement licence refunds to the hospitality sector, and more than
$1 million worth of vouchers to help businesses access expert advice on employee relations, financial and cashflow management, health and wellness, business continuity, marketing support and digital enablement services through the Regional Business Partnership.
More than 800 local businesses and community organisations are using the locally developed Rippl application that supports contact tracing, which has been downloaded over 70,000 times.
“The Council also stepped up to look after small, independent music venues like San Fran, Meow, Valhalla and Rogue and Vagabond. Thanks to our support these venues will collectively deliver 30 live music and comedy events through June and July.
“This is just one part of a strong events programme for the remainder of the year, being developed with arts, culture and sporting providers, which will help bring back the vibrancy and energy to our central city. Details will be publicised in over coming weeks.
“As we move into the recovery phase, we’re working hard to bring people back into the CBD to work and play. Our ‘Wellington Unlocked’ programme which encourages Wellingtonians to shop at local retailers has kicked-off. There will be in-store offers, spot prizes and major weekly prizes for those who shop local.
“We know that our response to the economic impact of COVID-19 will need to be far reaching and ongoing, so we’re working to implement a revitalisation package through our 2021 Long Term Plan which will help us build a city that is resilient, connected and re-invigorated.”