Sydney is looking at a long summer of sun-soaked alfresco dining after Lord mayor Clover Moore’s bid to waive outdoor dining fees was approved unanimously by the council. Before covid hit, businesses were required to pay a fee in order to operate outdoors. Waiving this fee during the pandemic encouraged social distancing amongst diners and ensured that businesses could continue without fear of closure.
Due to expire in June, this will now be extended by two years until June 2025 which means eating outdoors is back on the menu longer than originally intended.
This is the latest push towards converting Sydney into a 24/7 economy simultaneously supporting businesses and breathing fresh life into the city’s streets.
“With the threat of a new Covid wave and ongoing economic uncertainty, there is a continuing need to encourage outdoor dining,” Ms. Moore said on Monday.
“We need to continue to support businesses during this time and ensure alfresco dining is embedded in the streets of Sydney.”
She warned that the decision to extend the program “should not be seen by others as an opportunity to increase rents or unfairly favour some in the community over others”.
Businesses including cafes, bars, eateries and cultural institutions can apply for an outdoor dining permit as long as they meet the criteria outlined in the City of Sydney’s Outdoor Dining Guidelines.
Over 600 businesses have already benefitted due to the city’s Alfresco Dining Program and things are continuing to look up with long lunches planned in the city and vibrant food festivals encouraging people to get out and about.