Big uptake in winter outdoor dining

Big uptake in winter outdoor dining

By David Schout

Hundreds of restaurants and cafes will continue outdoor dining operations until June 30 after a huge uptake in offers from the City of Melbourne.

The council recently offered 332 businesses the opportunity to extend their outdoor dining permit for a further three months, and to date just 10 have declined.

A total of 275 businesses accepted the extension, while 39 were yet to respond.

The uptake is another indication of the program’s success throughout the municipality.

In a recent survey of 150 cafe, restaurant and bar owners, 81 per cent gave outdoor dining “parklets” the thumbs-up since reopening in late October.

Temporary extended outdoor dining permits have allowed hospitality venues to expand operations onto footpaths, on-street parking, laneways and street space to comply with COVID-19 restrictions.

Of those surveyed, 72 per cent were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their outdoor dining arrangements.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp has said the exten- sion of outdoor dining program, which “helped bring back the buzz” of the city, would give hospitality owners the assurance they needed.

“The extended outdoor dining program has helped to provide hospitality businesses with extra capacity to seat more customers and get more revenue,” she said.

“Businesses can have confidence that outdoor dining will continue in the City of Melbourne until winter. We’re looking into additional features to support outdoor dining during the cooler months such as weather protection.”

The council has issued nearly 1500 permits for outdoor dining across the municipality and has installed more than 200 parklets •

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