While the wet weather during the state’s first week out of lockdown won’t have inspired many people to head outside, sunny skies are usually the go during the warmer months in NSW. So it’s somewhat surprising that it took a pandemic to prompt Sydney’s alfresco dining boom, which was launched by the City of Sydney in late 2020 to allow venues with capped capacities to host more diners while still observing social distancing rules.
The pilot of the outdoor dining scheme, which allowed sections of street parking to be repurposed with seating and tables for alfresco fun times, was so successful that the City of Sydney has already announced that 266 permanent outdoor dining zones will be created in time for summer. But it’s not just city folk who will be enjoying the perks of NSW’s sunny skies in the coming months. The state government has announced a plan to help businesses across NSW create their own outdoor dining areas with grants of up to $500k available to councils. The state government will also offer up to 5,000 individual businesses grants of $5,000 to improve their outdoor amenities “on a first-in, first-served basis”.
At a press conference on October 14, premier Dominic Perrotett said, “We want to bring life and laughter into the city during summer. We want to make sure that every single neighbourhood flourishes and has activity and action right through the summer months and beyond. We want to move the inside to the outside. There’s no reason why that should be something that’s just limited to Europe.”