Being able to dine outside will be a key ingredient to economic recovery for hospitality businesses, so the City of Greater Bendigo is calling on business owners to arrange a time to discuss how to start or expand their outdoor dining offer.
Under the Third Step of the Victorian Government’s roadmap to reopening, hospitality business will be required to mainly serve patrons outside with group limits of 10 people and other physical distancing requirements.
To support this, outdoor dining areas may be able to expand along the footpath or in some instances businesses may be able to make temporary use of adjacent car parks or even partial road closures, particularly if a group of neighbouring hospitality businesses come together to make use of this option.
City Director Strategy and Growth Bernie O’Sullivan said a team of staff was ready to meet with business owners to help them assess their outdoor dining options and fast track plans.
“We want to help businesses as quickly as possible prepare for the long-awaited reopening that we hope is not too far away,” Mr O’Sullivan said.
“The first step will be for businesses to call our Business Help Desk and then a staff member will meet with them to discuss various options, as it will be different for each site. Even if they have never had outdoor dining before, we want to work quickly to help remove red tape.
“We encourage businesses to think creatively about how they would like to use outdoor spaces, there are some great examples where ‘parklets’ (dining spaces in car parks) have been beautifully decorated and really add to the appeal of eating out.
“There will be no restrictions on parklet designs, but they will need to be safe for patrons dining-in and also for pedestrian and vehicle traffic moving past, and be accessible for emergency services.
“Our aim is to make this process as simple and seamless for businesses as possible, we want to see all our hospitality venues, bakeries, cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars across Greater Bendigo have the opportunity to welcome as many customers as safely as possible.
“If a business has a liquor licence, this will need to be extended to accommodate additional outdoor dining and we are working closely with the Victorian Government to ensure these applications can be processed quickly through the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).
“This is an exciting opportunity for businesses to be innovative and show our city, suburbs and small towns off in a new light and create something new and unique.”
There will be no cost to commence or expand outdoor dining, as the City has waived all outdoor dining fees as part of the 2020/2021 Budget. There will also be no planning permit application fees associated with permits for liquor licence extensions within outdoor dining areas.
This opportunity will be temporary and approvals will be in place until June 30, 2021. City staff will continue to monitor if these approvals need to be extended or other arrangements put in place.
Hospitality businesses interested in discussing various outdoor dining options can contact the City’s Business Help Desk by emailing [email protected]