Shire paving way for extended outdoor dining

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Mornington Peninsula Shire is paving the way for extended footpath trading and a new ‘parklets’ program to support local restaurants and cafes as COVID-19 restrictions ease over spring and summer.

Additional outdoor dining space will be crucial for the Peninsula’s food businesses to re-open and remain profitable while complying with social distancing measures and space restrictions.

The Shire is streamlining the permit process required by business to increase outdoor dining space, making it quicker, easier and cheaper for businesses to apply.

Options to extend outdoor dining space include extended footpath space, temporary street closures and new parklets, which repurpose car parking spaces outside shop fronts.

Affected businesses can apply for grants of up to $5,000 from the Victorian Government’s $87.5 million Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package to help them pay for items such as outdoor furniture, umbrellas and screens.

The grants will be available to licensed and unlicensed cafés, restaurants, takeaway food businesses, pubs, taverns, bars and clubs with a payroll of less than $3 million.

Mornington Peninsula Shire CEO John Baker said: “Our roadmap to a COVID-safe economic recovery outlines the many ways we are supporting our local businesses through this crisis.

“Allowing our many food businesses to re-open for dining in a safe and profitable way is a priority for us. I encourage all eligible businesses to think about how they can best take advantage of the extended outdoor dining options offered by the Shire.

“The Peninsula is set for a very busy summer. Increased outdoor dining will play a very important role in managing the health and safety of our community while giving businesses a chance to get back on their feet.

“We want to reinvigorate our high streets and shopping strips and give people confidence they can enjoy dining out again and support our local businesses. I know many of us are really looking forward to the simple pleasure of a nice meal out with friends or family.

“The Shire will work with traders, business groups and chambers of commerce to make this happen. It will be a win for the whole community with increased activity in shopping strips flowing through the economy and boosting our recovery on the Peninsula.”

The Shire is also eligible for up to $500,000 in assistance from the State Government to support expanded outdoor dining with measures such as reduced or waived permit fees or investment in infrastructure.

“We’re going through the details of the generous Victorian Government funding announcement,” said Mr Baker.

“This will really help ensure our local food businesses receive the best support possible from the Shire as they transition to increased outdoor dining.”

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