Outdoor dining embraced by Melbourne's hospitality traders

Hospitality traders have embraced the City of Melbourne's extended outdoor dining program with the majority indicating their outdoor dining 'parklets' have helped them reopen and maintain seating capacity.

​The City of Melbourne surveyed 150 of more than 186 businesses with outdoor dining 'parklets' to gather feedback and inform decision making on the future of extended outdoor dining in the municipality.

The survey of 150 businesses conducted in December 2020 and January 2021 indicates that:

  • 81 per cent of businesses say outdoor dining 'parklets' have helped them reopen
  • Outdoor dining 'parklets' have enabled 76 per cent of businesses to maintain seating capacity
  • 72 per cent were either satisfied or very satisfied with their outdoor dining 'parklets' 

The City of Melbourne mobilised quickly to respond to the needs of businesses and facilitate extended outdoor dining in record time as a response to COVID-19.

The program is part of the joint $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund in partnership with the Victorian Government to deliver projects that encourage people back into the city and boost the bottom line of businesses.

The City of Melbourne will on Tuesday 23 February consider options for a short-term extension of the program until the end of May 2021. Further recommendations for the future of the program will follow in late March 2021.

Quotes attributable to Lord Mayor Sally Capp:

"Delivering the extended outdoor dining program has helped to support hospitality businesses and create jobs after Melbourne emerged from lockdown," the Lord Mayor said.

"In just a few months, we received 10 years' worth of applications for outdoor dining permits compared to pre-COVID-19 levels. Our team assessed applications quickly and issued nearly 1500 permits for outdoor dining across the municipality.

"$10 million in small business reactivation grants were distributed to help businesses safely reopen and pay for outdoor dining infrastructure such as tables, umbrella and planter boxes.

"The extended outdoor dining program has helped to bring back the buzz to Melbourne and we are doing a review to determine how we can support hospitality businesses into the future."

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