The City of Melbourne is continuing to waive permit fees for outdoor dining and busking in a bid to support the hospitality industry and help reignite the city’s streets.
In a meeting held last night, the council endorsed extending the program until 31 October and also agreed to prolong the partial closure of selected laneways to make room for al fresco diners.
Since the waiver program began in October 2020, the council has contributed $1.1 million in outdoor dining infrastructure and has waived a total of $1.65 million in fees.
Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the initiative has provided an additional 18,000 restaurant seats across 1,500 businesses – supporting 100 new jobs.
“We’re thrilled to see our city buzzing with people once again. We want to continue to do everything we can to support business owners as the city bounces back,” Capp said.
A recent survey of participants in the program found more than 70 per cent of city hospitality venues claimed outdoor dining significantly benefitted their business.
“We know our extended outdoor dining program has been incredibly successful in helping to reignite Melbourne. We want to entice more people to our city and help traders serve as many customers as possible, and outdoor dining is one way we can do that,” said Capp.
The move comes a day after the Victorian Dining and Entertainment Program reopened, allowing customers outside the City of Melbourne to claim a 25 per cent rebate on a restaurant, café or bar bill if they dine between Monday to Thursday.
To qualify, the diner needs to spend at least $40 and order food.
The entertainment portion of the scheme also allows customers anywhere within Victoria to claim a 25 per cent rebate on cinemas, exhibitions, museums, galleries, zoos, live performances and theme parks.
“We know our traders are still struggling to get back on their feet and we want to do all we can to help them thrive again,” City Activation portfolio lead councillor Roshena Campbell said.
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