Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is prepped and ready to help our local restaurants, cafes and pubs extend their table service outside. Applications for a free, temporary extended outdoor dining permit opened today, with hundreds of hospitality businesses expected to apply in advance of the November 2 opening date outlined by the State Government on Sunday.
Options to extend outdoor dining space include extended footpath space, temporary street and lane closures and new parklets, which repurpose carparking spaces outside shop fronts.
Additional outdoor dining space will be crucial for the Peninsula’s food businesses to reopen and remain profitable while complying with social distancing measures and space restrictions.
Hospitality venues will be limited to a maximum of 20 patrons indoors and 50 patrons outdoors, both subject to density requirements.
“Mornington Peninsula Shire is getting on with the process required to make outdoor dining a reality,” said CEO John Baker. “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.”
Extended outdoor dining will be rolled out across the Peninsula, with three and six-month permit options available.
“Our shopping precincts and streets are going to look quite different this summer,” Mr Baker said. “The increase in outdoor dining will be a wonderful opportunity for people to come together again in a COVID-safe way; for us to reconnect with each other and with our townships and to support our local businesses.”
The introduction of parklets and other extended outdoor dining measures will also require a sensible and safe reduction of speed limits on the affected streets or roads and in some cases traffic lane closures. Possible temporary street and parking bay closures, which will create larger spaces for COVID-safe outdoor dining, will also mean changes to traffic flows and parking.
“The Shire is working with the Department of Transport to ensure the appropriate planning and infrastructure is in place for the safety and well-being of our community,” Mr Baker said. “This has been an enormous undertaking, but ultimately it will be of huge benefit to our community. We need to reinvigorate our villages and shopping strips and give people confidence they can enjoy dining out again and support our local businesses. This increased activity will flow through the economy and boost our economic recovery on the Peninsula.”
Affected businesses can apply for grants up to $5000 from the State Government’s $87.5 million Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package to help them pay for items such as outdoor furniture, umbrellas and screens. The grants will be available to licensed and unlicensed cafés, restaurants, takeaway food businesses, pubs, taverns, bars and clubs with a payroll of less than $3 million.
The council has also received $500,000 in assistance from the Government to support expanded outdoor dining, which it is investing in essential infrastructure, traffic and transport measures and the waiving of permit fees.
For more information on the council’s extended footpath trading options, the parklets program and the permit application form, go to mornpen.vic.gov.au/outdoordining