Melbourne city council recently announced its plans for increased outdoor dining post-lockdown. Today, premier Dan Andrews confirmed that this will be something to look forward to after lockdown lifts.
In his daily press conference, the premier announced the government’s plan to take hospitality venues' operations outdoors and onto the streets this summer. A $100 million city recovery fund, paid for by both the Melbourne city council and the state government, is expected to support those small and medium-sized businesses as well as those in the arts communities.
The premier mentioned New York’s outdoor dining post-pandemic as something the government wants to copy for Melbourne’s restaurants and bars. “What we know, if you look at places like New York, where they have been able to get their hospitality sector back to something approaching normal, faster than what would otherwise have been the case because they have used the footpath, curbside parking and taken public space and turned it into pop-up cafés, restaurants [and] bars,” he said. “This is what we will do. We will change the way the city operates and the suburbs and regional cities.”
Andrews said that streets and laneways could be closed to allow for outdoor dining, with each site to be “judged on its merits”. Venues that are adjacent to parks and gardens could also include these public spaces in their transformations, or even team up with neighbouring venues to take over spaces. These venues can apply for funding for outdoor seating, including screens or bollards to separate dining areas. “We think that there is an opportunity here to have many more patrons seated drinking and dining, therefore turnover for these businesses,” the premier said. It’s also important to note that this won’t just be for Melbourne’s CBD – the plan is for this to roll out across the suburbs and in regional cities, too.
Andrews is also adamant that this won’t just be a feature of this summer, but something that would continue every summer in Melbourne. Here’s a bit more info on what Melbourne city council had proposed for outdoor dining in Melbourne’s CBD.