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Outdoor dining support for local hospitality sector

Published on 23 December 2020
  • Business
  • Community
Two wait staff serving coffee to an outdoor table

As cafés and restaurants across Maroondah reopen for business, Council is keen to work with our business community to bring these important precincts back to life.

Council has introduced the Street Activities Extension Permit that allows hospitality businesses to expand their seating and table services and welcome back customers following the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Mayor Cr Kylie Spears said the fast-tracked temporary permits made it easier for existing food premises registered with Council to provide outdoor dining options safely on public land.

“Being able to dine outside will be key to economic recovery. It’s about working with businesses to try and provide that important flexibility as we transition to a ‘COVID normal’. Each business is going to be different because they each have different requirements and space that’s available,” Cr Spears said.

The permit has proven to be a lifeline for hospitality businesses, with more than 100 businesses across Maroondah applying for a permit to date. One of the businesses is Leaf & Vine Café and Wine Bar in Ringwood, who have been heavily impacted during protracted COVID-19 lockdowns.

“We closed for 5-6 weeks from March 23. We reopened in May under strict guidelines and operated a takeaway format, which isn’t easy for a café that focuses on beautiful plating and inventive food,” explained owner Bec Murray.

“An extension of our outdoor dining space has brought a complete change to our business. We cannot thank Maroondah City Council enough for their generosity in allowing us to use the space. The space we’ve been allocated means that anyone can dine on our decking, including those who need wheelchair or pram access,” she said.

The permit allows the café to expand its outdoor seating capacity to approximately 40 to accommodate an additional 25 patrons using allocated kerbside space.

“We are really pleased with the overall look. We’ve received countless compliments which makes us happy to hear it’s loved by others,” Bec said.

“From COVID we have learnt that takeaway for many of those who prefer to safely distance is an option and we hope to see more takeaway than we’ve had before COVID. But it’ll never beat the awesome experience of table service, which is what we pride ourselves on and love to offer,” she said.

Cr Spears said the Street Activities Extension Permit would be available to eligible businesses free-of-charge until 30 June 2021.

“Fees associated with alfresco dining and footpath trading under Council’s Street Activities Permit have also being waived for all Maroondah businesses until 30 June 2021 to help traders get back on their feet and aid the recovery of our business community. We’ve been able to do this as part of the Victorian Government’s Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package,” Cr Spears said.

“Throughout this year, Council has been assisting local businesses by waiving or deferring payments for permits and fees, providing expert business assistance and business legal advice, and keeping businesses informed of relevant state and federal funding opportunities,” she said.

Applying for a Street Activities Extension Permit

Businesses can apply for a temporary Street Activities Extension Permit for:

  • use of footpath areas immediately in front of their premises
  • to occupy on-street car parking space
  • to partner with neighbouring business to occupy localised street areas or unused public space.

Once a permit is issued Council will continue to work with businesses to help with the installation of safety equipment, including bollards.

To be eligible for a permit, businesses must have a COVIDSafe Plan and be a registered business within the City of Maroondah.

To find out if your business is eligible or for more information, visit Street Activities Extension Permit on Council’s website or phone 1300 88 22 33.

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