Hospitality venues in the City of Melbourne will be able to apply for free extended outdoor dining permits from Thursday 1 October to help them prepare for reopening once restrictions ease.
The outdoor dining program will provide temporary permits for eligible venues to:
- Expand onto footpaths
- Take over on-street car parking space immediately outside their business
- Join with neighbouring businesses to take over sections of on-street car parking, footpaths and (in some cases) street space
- Join with neighbouring businesses to expand into a laneway adjacent to their business.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp said extending outdoor dining will help hospitality businesses cater to more customers within the health restrictions and operate viably.
“We’re reopening the city for business and will work with venues to find outdoor dining opportunities appropriate for their unique part of the city,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Our team will balance the expansion of outdoor dining with the needs of our residents. We will work with businesses to ensure that expanded dining areas do not negatively impact the safety, accessibility and amenity of our city.
“We will continue to advocate for flexibility so restaurants and cafes can open indoors in a COVID-safe way sooner, however, expanding outdoor space will allow more people to enjoy our inner-city food culture, particularly once the weather warms up.
“Guidelines will be available to help businesses operate outside in a way that maintains safety and amenity for nearby residents, businesses and pedestrians.
“We’re also exploring opportunities to create more space for people enjoying food and entertainment by closing off sections of streets during weekends.
“Temporary street closures would create a festive atmosphere for outdoor dining. We could temporarily close locations such as Bellair Street in Kensington and Faraday Street in Carlton to help businesses trade safely.”
Other sites being considered include Bourke Street (between Exhibition and Spring streets), Russell Street (between Lonsdale and Bourke), Domain Road in South Yarra and Errol Street in North Melbourne.
We are also exploring opportunities for hospitality hubs across our city to provide an opportunity for businesses to come together where they may not presently be able to trade in front of their premises.
The City of Melbourne will assess outdoor permit eligibility on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration traffic conditions, patron safety, amenity and access for pedestrians, residents and essential vehicles.
Chair of the Small Business Retail and Hospitality portfolio Councillor Susan Riley said bringing people back to the city will be essential for local businesses.
“Our hospitality industry is highly regulated and we are confident we can support traders to welcome people back,” Cr Riley said.
“We know that outdoor dining won’t work for everyone, so when there’s limited footpath space we will test new ideas like taking up car park spaces.
“Our business owners are entrepreneurs and we expect they’ll have innovative ideas about what will suit their venues. We look forward to hearing their plans.
“We want to work with our business community and have the flexibility to balance their needs with public health, safety and amenity.”
Support for extended outdoor dining is a key part of the City of Melbourne and Victorian Government’s $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund to reactivate the central city.
Businesses will be able to apply for outdoor dining permits from Thursday 1 October via the City of Melbourne website