Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has extended all parklet permits until April 30 to allow traders to continue providing outdoor dining.
“Parklets have been a popular addition to our COVID-safe summer on the Peninsula, springing up in villages and shopping precincts from Mount Eliza to Sorrento,” the council said in a statement this afternoon. “Traders have embraced additional space by temporarily using carparking spaces for outdoor dining, meaning customers can relax in a safer, less crowded environment. Business owners used the opportunity to create inviting spaces for their customers to dine alfresco – many with fences, planter boxes and decking, making outdoor dining a breeze.”
The council said a survey of 400 people in Rosebud, Mount Eliza and Mornington in January found attitudes towards the extended outdoor dining program were “very positive”, with most giving the program a score of either 9 or 10 out of 10 and wanting parklets to be kept in place longer. Meanwhile, preliminary findings from a survey of hospitality businesses showed extended outdoor dining was able to return more than 90 per cent of the seating capacity lost at cafes and restaurants as a result of social distancing requirements.
“Parklets have been a fantastic feature of our summer on the Mornington Peninsula and can now be enjoyed until after Easter at no additional cost to traders,” Mayor Despi O’Connor said. “While we have been extremely fortunate to have enjoyed summer with relatively few restrictions, there is still a need to social distance and remain COVID-safe. Extending the parklets program will support our traders and allow us to continue to dine outdoors through autumn.”
While all parklet permits have been automatically extended, traders are able to pack them up earlier if they wish by notifying the council so signs or infrastructure can be removed.