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The City of Sydney Has Extended Its Free Outdoor Dining Program Until June 2025

The extension of the program will cost the council $4 million in foregone revenue.
By Ben Hansen
November 24, 2022
By Ben Hansen
November 24, 2022

The City of Sydney has voted unanimously to waive fees on outdoor dining for businesses until the end of June 2025. The inner-city council has poured a mountain of support into helping encourage al fresco dining and events in the wake of the pandemic, with $5.7 million worth of funding set aside for the project last year and a series of street parties popping up across The City of Sydney over the last 12 months.

The extension of this initiative sees the fee waiver for outdoor dining permits continue for an additional two years, a review of the permit system and an investigation into areas that can be permanently extended into the road for increased outdoor dining. The two-year waving of permit fees will cost the council approximately $4 million in foregone revenue.

"Waiving outdoor dining fees was one of the first things we did when the pandemic hit Sydney," said City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. "We did this 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."

Moore cites a March survey that showed 91 percent of businesses participating in the outdoor dining program saw the initiative as crucial to the business and 39 percent had experienced a significant increase in turnover since the introduction of outdoor dining.

Moore continues: "Having brunch with friends, a wine after work or grabbing a quick bite and watching the world go by are some of the best moments of urban life. Being able to shop, dine or drink on our footpaths and roadways makes it easier for us to enjoy those things and support local businesses in a COVID-safe way."

Continuing this push for outdoor dining and events, a huge series of al fresco feasts are set to take over George Street next month. Titled Open for Lunch, the takeover of the bustling CBD area will see the likes of Merivale, YCK Laneways and Porteno's Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz hosting pop-ups throughout George Street.

The City of Sydney has voted unanimously to waive fees on outdoor dining permits until the end of June 2025.

Images: City of Sydney

Published on November 24, 2022 by Ben Hansen
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