RESTAURANTS, cafes and pubs are being given the green light to extend their table service outside as Mornington Peninsula Shire – and the state government – relax rules around outdoor dining permits.
Hundreds of hospitality businesses are expected to apply for free, temporary extended outdoor dining permits, in advance of next Monday’s (2 November – since publication date has been brought forward to Wednesday 28 October) opening.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne said venues could use open spaces, including streets, footpaths and car parks to “add to venue capacity while restrictions reduce the number of patrons allowed for indoor dining”.
Businesses including restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, function and reception centres and wineries can also avail themselves of the new “parklets”, which repurpose car parking spaces outside shop fronts.
The relaxed rules will enable food businesses to reopen and be profitable while complying with social distancing measures and space restrictions.
Hospitality venues will be limited to a maximum 20 patrons indoors and 50 outdoors, both subject to density requirements.
“Mornington Peninsula Shire is getting on with the process required to make outdoor dining a reality,” CEO John Baker said.
“We understand this is a very stressful and uncertain time for traders and we are committed to getting the permits and infrastructure in place to make extended outdoor dining happen in a timely and safe manner.
“Now that applications are open we will work will traders on what is the best option for their business and begin issuing permits so they can make decisions and simply get on with things.”
While extended outdoor dining will be rolled out across the peninsula under three and six-month permits, the state government said the relaxed rules would extend until the state of emergency ends in 12 months.
Mr Baker said affected businesses could apply for grants up to $5000 from the state government’s $87.5 million Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package to help pay for such items as outdoor furniture, umbrellas and screens.
The grants will be available to licensed and unlicensed cafes, restaurants, takeaway food businesses, pubs, taverns, bars and clubs with a payroll of less than $3 million.
The shire has also received $500,000 from the state government to support expanded outdoor dining, which it will spend on essential infrastructure, traffic and transport measures and waiving permit fees.