26 September 2023

Restrictions moved for outdoor dining

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Melbourne’s hospitality sector is to benefit from streamlined planning approvals as the State prepares for a transition to outdoor dining.

Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne said existing pubs, restaurants, cafes and other food and drink venues would be able to use existing outdoor spaces, as well as nearby parks and public land, to accommodate and serve patrons without the need for a planning permit.

“[The exemptions] will allow venues to capitalise on open spaces including streets, footpaths and carparks to add to venue capacity while restrictions reduce the number of patrons allowed for indoor dining,” Mr Wynne said

“Businesses covered by the exemptions include restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, function and reception centres and wineries,” he said.

“Melbourne’s hospitality businesses are currently scheduled to re-open from 11:59pm on 1 November with predominantly outdoor seated service but if case numbers stay low and public health advice says we can move earlier, we will.”

Mr Wynne said the exemptions would enable businesses to plan better and use their own land, and expand onto adjoining land, to accommodate more patrons while still adhering to physical distancing guidelines.

“The new provisions also provide exemptions from the need to obtain planning permits for construction of temporary buildings, the provision of car parking, and the sale and consumption of liquor – subject to conditions,” he said.

“The exemptions will apply while Victoria remains under a State of Emergency, and for 12 months after the State of Emergency has been lifted.”

Mr Wynne said the turnaround for temporary liquor licence applications had also been fast-tracked from up to eight weeks down to just three business days.

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