The state's peak business organisation, Business NSW, believes businesses impacted by the Omicron surge need to be provided short term support by the NSW Government as they battle to keep their doors open.
"It's been a really challenging Christmas and New Year period for businesses of all sizes across industries as they battled with staff becoming infected and isolating, and a lack of consumer confidence," Business NSW Regional Manager - Western NSW, Vicki Seccombe, said.
"It was an imperfect storm as customers voted with their feet and stayed away from venues that would normally be thriving during the Summer break, and those that did attend were met with venues that were severely understaffed.
"Business NSW has been working closely with Government on measures that can provide some swift and short-term support for businesses, at a time when they need it most."
These relief packages proposed include:
Allowing all close contact employees to return to the workplace on the presentation of a negative RAT, reducing the need for mandated periods of isolation;
An extension of the SME Summer Stock Guarantee to allow impacted businesses to apply to the guarantee if their business has been closed due to a case on their premises leading to majority staff stand-down for more than three days and/or to abide by close contact instructions from NSW Health;
An extension of the commercial rent relief for commercial tenants who have and likely will have closed or ceased trade between 15 December and 14 January due to current COVID trade impacts;
and the Reinstatement of the Hardship Review Panel to assess business impacts into 2022.
"Vaccination is still a critical step we can all take for community safety, and booster shots are incredibly important against the Omicron variant," Ms Seccombe said.
"Business is not seeking a free handout, but support to keep the doors open for the first three months of 2022."