Wagga business owners said new Dine and Discover vouchers announced by the state government on Thursday will do little to address plummeting trade seen in the city since 'Freedom Day'.
On Thursday, the state government announced two new Dine and Discover vouchers will be made available for shoppers in bid to boost business.
Wagga owners say, however, a better boost would have been more appropriate restrictions for regional areas. Industry 33's Kosta Papaioanou said the extra vouchers are welcome, but after businesses across the city nosedived in the first week of the roadmap, more is needed.
"It's nowhere near enough," he said. "Better support would be restrictions not being applied as harshly here."
While Greater Sydney and other regional LGAs emerged from stay at home orders when the roadmap commenced on Monday, LGAs already out of lockdown like Wagga saw freedoms cut back as the city came into line with Sydney.
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Mr Papaioanou said there is so now much confusion and difficulty around policing partially and unvaccinated patrons, he is considering scrapping dine-in altogether until December 1.
At Forum 6 Cinemas, owner Craig Lucas welcomed additional vouchers but said after this week, he would be hard pressed to find patrons to use them.
"It is dismal, that's how quiet it is," Mr Lucas said. "We've seen a massive difference this week, we might as well shut the doors. I won't, but it is atrocious."
Wagga pubs haven't fared much better. Sean O'Hara, who owns four venues in Wagga, said his establishments have all dropped by at least 50 per cent since the roadmap began this week.
"You think it's going to help us but we've gone backwards, all four venues in Wagga are down by more than half in the last three days and we were trading really well before that," he said.
General manager of the pubs Rene VanDelft said the Dine and Discover boost is good news, but unlikely to mitigate the poor business entirely.
"Of course we'll welcome any government assistance with open arms but I'm not sure these measures are going to be enough to compensate for the downturn in business," she said.
Mr Papaioanou called the roadmap a "huge backwards step" for Wagga businesses.
"It's a bit of a slap in the face for regional areas," he said. "On Freedom Day I didn't see people popping bottles of champagne in Wagga.
"You feel for Sydney, but why couldn't we delineate between metro and regional areas?"
Mr Lucas agreed.
"It was Freedom Day for Sydney but it's been lockup day for Wagga," he said.
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