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Sydney’s hospitality sector supports outdoor dining options
With the City of Sydney having waived all alfresco dining permit fees until June 2022, Sydney’s hospitality sector is supporting fast-tracked outdoor dining options with new-look street eateries. inner-city restaurants, bars and cafes.
Launched in December, the initiative offers a free, fast-tracked application process for outdoor dining, with 204 City of Sydney Al Fresco Dining permits already granted across inner-Sydney.
Millions of dollars are earmarked for new outdoor dining. The City of Sydney and NSW Government have worked together to streamline the free application process and make it easier for businesses to set up tables and chairs in laneways, footpaths and parking bays. Concrete barriers decorated with artwork from the City’s hoardings artwork collection separate diners from traffic.
Welcomed as a ‘game changer’ by local venue owners, the initiative was the result of the NSW Government and City of Sydney’s initial $20 million commitment to support revitalisation of the CBD struggling under Covid lockdowns.
City of Sydney has now pledged a further $5.7 million for Al Fresco activations, with $3.5 million to extend fee-free outdoor dining until June 2022 and an additional $2.2 million for inner-city events and activations.
The council’s funding commitment is on top of the NSW Government’s further $20 million for the CBD Revitalisation program, announced at the Sydney CBD Summit in April.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the success of the outdoor dining initiative showed people were ready to return to the city and support local businesses.
“The city is bouncing back from its forced hibernation and we’re making it easier for more businesses to go Al Fresco, which will give our economy another major boost.
“We know people want to get back out and enjoy our great city, we’ve seen that with the success of the Sunset Piazza and Culture Up Late programs.
“Making it easier for businesses to adopt Al Fresco dining has worked in tandem with the rollout of the Dine & Discover voucher program and provided the flexibility needed to help reignite our harbour city.”
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that to date 2,690 square metres have been approved under the al fresco program, including new road reallocation plus new and expanded approvals on the footpath, helping kick-start the city’s economic recovery.
Lord Mayor Moore notes “waiving outdoor dining fees was one of the first things we did when the pandemic hit Sydney, to make it easier for restaurants, bars and cafes to operate while encouraging physical distancing.
“People have really embraced it, with participating businesses telling us they've taken on extra staff and seen increased patronage – a crucial aid to staying afloat in these difficult times.
“By working with the state government to cut through red tape and waive fees for outdoor dining permits, we’re supporting local businesses and allowing visitors, residents and workers to enjoy new outdoor dining experiences.
“Covid is not over, and neither is our economic recovery. So to support business and keep people healthy, outdoor dining will be free at least until the end of the financial year.”
Of approved applications, 69% (116) are on the footway and 31% (52) on the roadway. A City survey of restaurants and cafes participating in the Al Fresco City outdoor dining program shows the initiative has given businesses a significant boost:
• 90% reported new outdoor dining was beneficial or even crucial to their business
• 45% are employing an additional two or more staff a week
• 41% have increased staff hours by 10 or more hours a week
• 58% saw a turnover increase of up 10%
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the Government was cutting red tape and lowering the cost to do business in response to the pandemic.
“With no application fees, no rental fees and no security bond fees for outdoor dining, it is a win-win for businesses and Sydneysiders looking to enjoy time together.
Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope added “this initiative means venues can apply to transform car parking space into outdoor dining and some venues may request more footpath space to attract customers.
“It is about greater certainty and opening up more capacity for venues so they can continue to host guests and serve top notch food and drinks.”
Paul Burnicle, general manager of the Dolphin Hotel on Crown Street, praised the initiative as a hospitality ‘gamechanger’ noting “we’ve just had the roadside barriers installed and the space looks phenomenal.
“It has really added another element to our venue and Crown Street as a whole. It’s great to see Sydney coming back to life after the year we’ve all endured.
“From start to finish, applying to final execution, the whole idea and process has been seamless. Kudos to all for making this happen.”
Image: Sergeant Lok, located in the heritage-listed Old Police Station building at The Rocks
17th February 2021 - Expanded outdoor dining support hospitality industry in Hobart’s Midtown
13th January 2021 - Ballarat expands its outdoor dining options
20th October 2020 - Parramatta’s outdoor dining scene revitalised with live music trial
12th October 2020 - Outdoor dining expanded in Bendigo to support hospitality industry
8th January 2021 - Vibrant public artworks sought for Cairns Esplanade Dining Precinct
15th March 2021 - Northern Beaches Council improving outdoor hospitality in Manly
12th February 2021 - Seek jobs website shows rise in demand for hospitality and tourism staff
20th September 2020 - Corangamite Shire Council encourages hospitality venues to consider outdoor options
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