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Permanent outdoor dining on the cards in Melbourne’s CBD

Pop-up outdoor dining and drinking venues in Melbourne could soon become a permanent fixture in the CBD.

The proposal to keep these outdoor eateries running will be considered on Tuesday.

If the proposal is accepted, businesses would be able to offer dining in various outdoor locations such as along footpaths, in parks and laneways. Subsidised permits would be granted from July this year.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp believes outdoor dining has been vital to the survival and recovery of  Melbourne’s  hospitality sector, having been the catalyst for 100 new jobs and 18,000 additional restaurant seats.

“The program has been a boost for local businesses and a boost for Melbourne’s renowned foodie culture. From tucking into a porterhouse or casually enjoying a glass of pinot noir, Melburnians have embraced dining and drinking in our parklets,” Cr Capp said.

“We asked people for their feedback and 96 per cent said outdoor dining had been a good addition to the city and 81 per cent want outdoor dining to become a permanent feature.”

The City of Melbourne’s outdoor dining project was announced on September 2020 and began operating the following month. It’s main objective was to support hospitality traders so they would be able to operate with in the restrictions and density limits imposed by the government. The project has an end date of June 30.

Between October 2020 and April 2021, the City of Melbourne issued 1592 permits which included 933 new permits for extended outdoor dining.

As part of the program,  Melbourne was transformed with over 200 outdoor dining parklets and 25 laneways closed on weekends.

150 businesses with outdoor dining parklets were surveyed by the council, with 81 per cent believing the scheme assisted in them reopening.

The survey also showed that three-quarters of owners found the outdoor dining spaces allowed them to maintain seating capacity whilst indoor numbers were restricted.

It is clear the sector has embraced the scheme.


3rd May 2021