The ACT government has signed off on measures to protect tenants against evictions, in a further acknowledgement an extended lockdown will have a lasting economic fallout.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr has pinned his hopes on a post-lockdown Christmas spending spree to help Canberra's economy rebound.
But Mr Barr dampened expectations of Canberrans on Wednesday, saying it was likely that large events and holidays would be off the cards until summer.
He said people should not make plans to leave the ACT in the upcoming September school holidays.
The ACT's extended lockdown is set to run until September 17, which is the day school holidays start.
"I think you can be much more confident about planning your summer holidays for December and January," Mr Barr said.
"I don't want to shatter people's hopes but I think it is highly unlikely that any state would be open to us or that you'd be going to a place that's got even more Covid than the ACT does at the moment."
The ACT reported 23 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday from more than 3700 tests. Of the cases, 14 have been linked to previous cases while nine are still under investigation. Thirteen of the linked cases were household or close social contacts.
There were 11 cases in the community for part of their infectious period, 11 were in quarantine and the infectious status of one was under investigation.
There are 13 people in Canberra hospitalised with the virus, four are in intensive care and one is ventilated. Twelve of the hospitalised cases were unvaccinated and the other has received one dose of the vaccine.
ACT deputy chief health officer Dr Vanessa Johnston revealed the youngest person in hospital is 18 and the oldest is 54.
In light of Canberra's two-week lockdown extension, Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury has signed off on declarations for measures to protect residential and commercial tenants who have lost income during the pandemic.
The declarations, posted to the ACT government's legislation register, showed the government has reimposed negotiation principles for commercial landlords and tenants.
The "in good faith" negotiation set out a code of conduct for negotiations between landlords and businesses that have been hit financially by the lockdown.
An eviction moratorium has also been imposed, which would ban evictions of residential tenants who have been financially affected by the pandemic and cannot pay their rent.
Tenants who receive the federal government's COVID-19 disaster payment or sole traders who receive a business support grant are covered by the moratorium.
Households who have had a 20 per cent reduction in income due to members being infected by COVID-19 are also eligible.
Mr Barr had foreshadowed the changes earlier on Wednesday, and said rebates for landlords who agreed to reductions were also being worked through.
"Further information on government tax incentives tied to reductions in rent for commercial and residential tenants through rates and land tax schemes similar to those implemented last year will be announced in the coming days," he said.
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Mr Barr, who is also the ACT Treasurer, said the territory's budget would have to be "somewhat reworked" due to the virus.
The budget was scheduled to be handed down on Tuesday but was postponed due to the outbreak.
Mr Barr said the government would "invest very heavily" in health services, healthcare staff and the Covid vaccine program.
"We've got a massive business support package as well, that's going to cost hundreds of millions," he said.
However, Mr Barr said he expected the territory's economy to bounce back over Christmas, with a spending bonanza expected over the holiday period and into 2022.
"Canberrans have an extraordinary amount of disposable income on average, not every Canberran but on average, we're the highest income earners in Australia so there's a lot of money being saved now by a section of the community that's going to be spent massively at Christmas and in 2022," he said.
Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee was critical of Mr Barr's remarks, saying it was disappointing to hear the Chief Minister to make these comments when so many were suffering.
"That just goes to show out of touch his government seems to be in terms of the business owners that are absolutely suffering but also the vulnerable Canberrans who we know have been struggling even before the pandemic and their circumstances that are exacerbated by the pandemic," she said.
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