$100million package announced to transition Victorian venues to outdoor dining

The plans are similar to those implemented in New York

A joint package from the Victorian Government and Melbourne City Council will provide $100million to help hospitality and cultural businesses prepare for a newly-announced outdoor dining plan.

As reported by The Age, the package will see businesses in Victoria reopen for exclusively outdoor dining, with some streets and lanes closed. The outdoor dining plan is designed to help businesses survive as the state slowly recovers from the pandemic, and is similar to New York’s Open Restaurants Program.

The $100million will assist small and medium-sized business, as well as arts and cultural groups, in preparing for the plan.

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Speaking to press today, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described the package as “a very important partnership,” and “one that will make a real difference”.

“If you look at places like New York, they have been able to get their hospitality sector back to something approaching normal, faster than what would otherwise have been the case because they have used the footpath and kerbside parking and taken public space and turned it into pop-up cafes, restaurants, bars,” he said.

Outside of the CBD, $87.5million will be committed to helping suburban businesses prepare for outdoor dining. $100million was also announced today for sole traders who are unable to work due to Melbourne’s extended restrictions.

The news comes after yesterday’s announcement from the Andrews Government of a $251million licensed venue fund, which will issue relief grants between $10,000 and $30,000 to venues across both the city and the state. Additionally, liquor licensing fees will be waived for 2021.

Today, Victoria entered the first phase of its ‘COVID normal’ plan, which allows slightly expanded social interaction and exercise permissions.

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