Swan Hill Rural City Council has welcomed the Victorian Premier’s announcement regarding regional Victoria moving to the third step of the roadmap to recovery from 11.59pm tonight (Wednesday, 16 September), including a return to dining.
Under the Third Step hospitality will return to seated table service, with group and density limits, for both indoor and outdoor dining.
Council’s Director of Development and Planning Heather Green said the announcement was a boost for hospitality businesses throughout the municipality.
“Hospitality businesses have been severely impacted by these restrictions, so the return to seated dining is very welcome news for our traders, our community and local economy,” Ms Green said.
“In preparation for the return for outdoor and indoor dining, Council is assisting our hospitality industry in any way it can. This includes continuing to waive outdoor dining fees.
“Council is also actively looking at options to expand footpath space for dining, so our traders are able to accommodate more diners outside, in accordance with group and density limits requirements.”
Ms Green said Council was also exploring the temporary use of adjacent car parks or possible night closures of selected roads on a Friday or Saturday to enable traders to further expand outdoor dining to accommodate patrons.
“We are in discussions with our hospitality industry to see how Council can best assist them in terms of their needs, including expansion of outdoor dining where possible,” Ms Green said.
“Our team of Council officers will continue to work closely with our hospitality traders to help with the re-introduction of dining, including meeting COVID-19 requirements.”
Swan Hill Incorporated Chairperson, Murray Ray said they were delighted to hear yesterday’s announcement.
“Swan Hill Inc. was excited to hear the fantastic news that our hospitality businesses can open with outdoor dining.
“They can also apply for funding from the Government to assist them to do so,” he added.
Ms Green said that the Victorian Government’s Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package, announced by the Premier on Monday, would also enable local hospitality traders to apply for grants for outdoor dining equipment, such as furniture, umbrellas and screens.
“Additionally, Swan Hill Rural City Council is eligible to apply for up to $250,000 to support expanded outdoor dining, including reducing or waiving permit fees and to invest in infrastructure, such as streetscaping and lighting,” Ms Green said.