Outdoor dining to get hospitality back on track

More funding and fee waivers can help hospitality businesses improve their trade, despite social distancing.

Corangamite Shire Council is encouraging venues to think outside the box and explore how outdoor dining can attract more customers.

Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason said in Step 3 of the Roadmap to COVID Normal, businesses can serve up to 50 patrons outside.

“Under DHHS guidelines, venues can serve one customer per two square metres outdoors.

“Venues can also open up to two indoor spaces with up to 10 seated customers per space, and four square metres per person,” Mr Mason said.

To get businesses operating again, the State Government has introduced an $87.5 million Outdoor Dining and Entertainment Package. Businesses can apply for up to $5,000 to buy outdoor dining equipment such as tables, chairs, umbrellas, or screens.

“Our local businesses stand to benefit. We encourage them to start thinking about how they could adapt their business and make the most of the opportunity,” Mr Mason said.

“Council will waive outdoor dining permit fees. We will work with businesses so they can make outdoor dining a safe and practical option,” Mr Mason said.

“We are really keen to work with business owners to make outdoor dining a great experience and an attraction to the area over the summer.

“Regional Victorians are now free to move about the State. After months of lockdown there will be people eager to get on the road. This could be an opportunity to pick up on locals or regional day-trippers and get the Shire economy on the front foot.”

Mr Mason said finding new ways to operate during the coronavirus pandemic could lead to better business after the emergency.

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