The $500 million voucher scheme was the centrepiece of the NSW government’s state budget delivered in November.
Under the program, every adult in NSW will receive four $25 vouchers to spend separately on dining and entertainment to support cafes, restaurants and cultural institutions.
Two of the vouchers can be redeemed in restaurants, cafes and clubs and two vouchers can be used for entertainment such as cultural institutions, performing arts, cinemas and amusement parks.
Residents will need to have a Service NSW account to access the vouchers.
More than 50 COVID-safe registered businesses have been invited to take part in the pilot.
Five hundred people who have a MyServiceNSW account will be invited to be among the first to redeem their vouchers. The selection process is still underway.
The first voucher holders will be asked to commit to visiting The Rocks area during the pilot period.
Artist Graham Atwell, owner of ATTY Gallery in The Rocks, said he didn’t mind the delay because businesses were “lucky to have it” in the first place.
“At the end of the day, there are worse things happening out there. We’re remaining positive; it’s still a good thing,” he said.
Mr Atwell said the program was a “great idea” that would “drive foot traffic into the area”, which is a tourist destination.
“The Rocks needs more Australians to come along and spend their hard-earned money,” he said.
On Friday, the Victorian government apologised after residents trying to snap up the $200 tourism voucher were greeted with an “internal server error” when they logged on.
The Business Victoria website crashed after tens of thousands of people tried to apply for the new voucher being distributed on a “first-come-first-served” basis.
The site recorded 800,000 visits on Friday as people struggled to lodge their applications. By the close of business, 19,351 had successfully registered.
Get our Coronavirus Update newsletter
Stay across the news you need to know related to the pandemic. Sent Monday and Thursday. Sign up here.
Esther Han is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald. She has covered state politics, health and consumer affairs.