The Victorian Government has pledged to back businesses to reimagine the way they work this summer, offering grants to businesses for outdoor dining.
As part of a $290 million package that delivers further support to the entertainment industry, repurposes Melbourne’s CBD and gives sole traders a helping hand, this new initiative aims to take the indoors out into to the open air – as Victorians embrace a new way of gathering together under a new ‘COVID Normal’.
The Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package will provide $87.5 million to councils and businesses outside of Melbourne’s CBD to make widespread outdoor dining safe, practical and a reality this summer.
Major cities like New York and London have led the way in transforming footpaths and roads to whole new experiences, aided by proactive planning and licensing regulations. Melbourne and Victoria will apply the best overseas experience to create a new, exciting model for outdoor entertainment as the weather begins to warm up.
Premier Daniel Andrews said, “We’re the cultural and dining capital of our nation. That means, when it comes to reimagining what eating and entertainment means under COVID Normal, there’s no one better equipped than Melbourne and Victoria.
“It will be our innovation, ideas and creativity that will help us find – and maintain – our COVID Normal.”
$58 million will go towards grants of up to $5,000 to help hospitality businesses pay for the practical things that will make this plan work, including umbrellas, outdoor furniture, screens and other equipment. The Government will also invest in training, advertising, and the other supports businesses will need to take café culture outdoors.
Minister for Consumer Affairs Melissa Horne said, ““I know it’s a tough time for the hospitality industry – but this is a step in the right direction and we’ll work with businesses and give them the support they need to navigate this path to COVID Normal.”
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 – with more than 11,000 businesses eligible to benefit.
Funding of $29.5 million will be provided to local councils to help them implement swift and streamlined permit, enforcement and monitoring processes to support expanded outdoor dining in the Third Step in the roadmap to reopening.
There are more than 16,500 businesses registered in the City of Melbourne, supporting more than 479,000 jobs. The Melbourne City Recovery Fund will provide grants to city businesses, helping them to move outdoors with COVIDSafe events.
Small and medium businesses will be able apply for $30 million worth of grants to pay for equipment, convert spaces like rooftops and courtyards into hospitality