Outdoor Dining Opportunities Encouraged

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Colac Otway Shire Council is supporting hospitality businesses to create or extend outdoor dining capacity under its new Outdoor Dining Program as part of a vital plan for a COVID-safe recovery for the community shire-wide.

“The easing of restrictions to enable the reopening of businesses to dine-in customers is key to rebuilding viable businesses, and Colac Otway is committed to making that as easy as possible,” Colac Otway Chief Executive Peter Brown said.

“It’s been such a tough year for our hospitality businesses and it’s important that the process to reopen and accommodate as many customers as restrictions allow is streamlined and doesn’t add an extra burden on business owners.

“Colac Otway has welcomed the State Government’s introduction of temporary planning permit exemptions that enable temporary changes to dining arrangements through Council’s standard permit process without additional planning permits.

“We still need business owners to go through the permit process, as stated in our Local Laws, for new seating to ensure that the safety of patrons and the general public, and amenity of the area has been considered.

“Our streamlined approach has already seen more than six businesses gain approval for new outdoor seating and we are encouraging businesses to apply for State Government funding to cover the cost of new seating and bollards.

“Council’s Economic Development officers and Local Laws – Community Safety officers can assist with all outdoor dining inquiries, and Colac Otway’s Health Protection team is visiting businesses in Colac, Apollo Bay and smaller communities this week to support businesses with their COVID-safe initiatives.

“Over summer, it will be great welcome back as many visitors as safely as possible, in line with State Government COVID19 restrictions,” Mr Brown said.

“We can expect that these restrictions will continue to change and evolve, and Colac Otway Shire will help and support businesses adapt as required.”

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