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People dining outdoors on Lygon Street
Photograph: Visit Victoria

These six Melbourne streets will be turned into outdoor dining hubs this summer

Businesses can also apply for grants to help them expand outdoors

Nic Dowse

Some of Melbourne's favourite streets and laneways are set to become al fresco dining strips this summer. Six locations across Melbourne have been identified as key dining areas where local cafés and restaurants could take over street parking, footpaths and even street space to create a world-class outdoor dining scene. 

Bourke Street east, Russell Street, Lygon Street (Carlton), Errol Street (North Melbourne), Domain Road (South Yarra) and Bellair Street (Kensington) have been highlighted as locations where local hospitality businesses can team up with neighbouring businesses and transform the streets into outdoor dining hubs. 

The initiative is part of Melbourne city council and the Victorian government's plan to support local businesses and expand their ability to trade outdoors. The shift towards outdoor dining is a response to the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and the move towards reopening Melbourne.

City of Melbourne CEO Justin Hanney said: "We expect outdoor dining to be so popular with patrons this summer that it will become a permanent feature of our city for generations to come."

Even outside of those six identified streets, hospitality businesses across Melbourne city council can apply for grants of up to $10,000 to help them expand their trading outdoors. Hospitality businesses can apply for support them in reopening and expanding their dining outdoors, while any small or medium business can apply for grants to implement Covid-safe infrastructure, remodelling, staff training in regards to Covid-safe measures and marketing. 

Businesses have until 11.59pm on October 23 to apply for the grants. Melburnians can currently only get takeaway or delivery from cafés or restaurants. Hospitality venues are expected to reopen for (predominantly) outdoor dining once the city moves to the third step of the reopening roadmap. 

Confused? Here's what you can and can't do in Melbourne right now.

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