With outdoor dining expected to be allowed again in Melbourne from around 19 October, the council has launched a plan to encourage people to use outdoor eating areas – both as a way to lessen the virus health risks and to help the hospitality industry recover from two devastating shutdowns.
The City of Melbourne yesterday (Thursday) unveiled its new outdoor dining permit system and identified six dining precincts that it believes are key to the revival.
All parts of the city encouraged
These are Russell Street, Bourke Street east, Lygon Street in Carlton, Errol Street in North Melbourne, Domain Road in South Yarra and Bellair Street in Kensington.
However, all areas of the city are being encouraged to create better outdoor dining experiences wherever possible.
According to Justin Hanney, the Chief Executive of the City of Melbourne, the new permit system encourages dining establishments to expand out onto footpaths, join with neighbouring businesses to expand into laneways, take over on-street parking, and set up in streets, where appropriate.
We’re turning Melbourne back on
“There is no public space that we won’t look at. If it makes sense to use it then we’ll be making it available.
“Today’s the day we’re getting ready to turn Melbourne back on,” he said.
In an effort to cut back on red tape and encourage businesses to be innovative, permit applications are being fast-tracked and some are being turned around in 24 hours.
But don’t be tacky, says council
But the City is determined to create a quality outdoor dining experience and warns that being tacky and unwelcoming is not on.
“We don’t want it to be tacky. It has to look the part. So we don’t want plastic chairs, we don’t want folding tables,” Hanney is quoted as saying by ABC News.
“The outdoor dining experience has got to not only be the part, it has got to look the part and it has got to live up to Melbourne’s reputation.”
Council makes its contribution
As part of its contribution, the council is bringing in a quantity of semi-mature trees to help beautify the key precincts and is installing bollards and safety barriers.
Grants of $10 000 are also being made available to help hospitality businesses buy new furniture, remodel in order to be Covid-safe, train staff etc.
The program is part of the $100-million Melbourne City Recovery Fund from the council and the state government.