Melbourne plans to use street space to boost local businesses

The Victorian Government announced its plans to promote outdoor dining by transforming Melbourne city and suburban streets in pop-up cafes and restaurants. Inspired by US cities such as New York, the move aims to encourage the recovery of the hospitality industry.

Car parks, footpaths and public parks will be repurposed into outdoor seating areas through the implementation of interventions such as street furniture and closing lanes, creating safe areas for customers.

Examples of outdoor seating arrangements in Melbourne. Images by Victorian Government via Time Out.

The Government’s Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package will provide $87.5m to councils and businesses outside Melbourne CBD. Eligible businesses will be able to access grants of up to $5,000 to purchase furniture and equipment that will allow them to offer outside dining for their customers.

An additional $100m will be available to businesses located in the Melbourne CBD. Small and medium businesses will have access to $30m worth of grants to move to outdoors operations and purchase the necessary equipment.

 “What we know, if you look at places like New York, where 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 … public space and turned it into pop-up cafes, restaurants, bars. That is what we will do. We will change the way the city operates and the suburbs and regional cities,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

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