News | 24 February 2022
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Council approves Pandemic Response Plan

Wellington City Councillors have voted unanimously to support struggling Wellington businesses with a $2.3 million Pandemic Response Plan.

People walking on a bust Wellington street.

The plan includes: $1 weekend parking, fourth quarter rates deferral for hospitality and retail businesses who own their building without penalty for six months, free outdoor dining permits, extension of parking time limits, and a significant reduction in licencing fees. 

Councillors also supported an investigation into how the City growth and Destination Wellington funds can be bolstered and targeted to support businesses during this challenging time. 

“The city’s retail, hospitality, and arts sectors have been forced to manage through two years of the pandemic and now Omicron. This situation has cast the daily threat of business closure, and loss of jobs across the entire city but especially in the CBD,” said Mayor Andy Foster. 

“As Council met today, an unprecedented protest occupied the grounds of Parliament, surrounding streets and important public places. The protest is hurting local businesses, local schools, our ability to move about our own city freely, and it’s causing anger and frustration in our community.

“This is on top of an already incredibly tough time for business owners, many of whom after two years of the pandemic have no reserves left to make it beyond a few weeks. 

“Today’s adoption of Council’s Pandemic Response Plan will help our struggling businesses get through and preserve the city’s vitality. 

“Across the city we have many major projects progressing well, as does the private sector. In the near future Tākina - the Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre, and the refurbished St James will open, and work will start on the new Central Library and the National School of Music.

“We will manage a resolution to the parliamentary protest, we will get through Omicron and then we can celebrate, get our people back and get our city - that we all love - really humming again,” said Mayor Foster.