A mega $290 million funding package has been announced to support sole traders and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in Melbourne's CBD.

The major plan set to transform city streets includes a $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund which would provide grants to hospitality businesses to move their activities outdoors, to fund COVIDSafe events and new infrastructure through a partnership with the City of Melbourne.

The outdoor dining boost is based on major changes made to the restaurant industry in New York City and London, where traders have moved outside onto roads and footpaths with adjustments made to planning and licensing rules.


The fund is set to aid about 16,500 businesses "enormously impacted" by COVID-19 restrictions in the City of Melbourne.

"Of that $100 million, $30 million will be provided in grants to small and medium businesses to help pay for tables, plastic screens, umbrellas and all of the apparatus needed for outdoor hospitality to reconfigure spaces, to convert areas like rooftops and courtyards for outdoor use and we have been consulting with council, CBD businesses to finalise the details of that grants program over the coming days and weeks," Jobs Minister Martin Pakula said.

A number of parking areas, streets and laneways in the city of Melbourne will close once the outdoor dining expansion comes into place in the coming months.

"It is clear that we will see more tables on footpaths," Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Melbourne, Australia

"Some of that foot traffic may move to the curb-side parking area, where curb-side parking would no longer be allowed.

"We may see streets closed. Some laneways closed even, we may see public space, so parks and gardens that are adjacent to significant numbers of restaurants and pubs, venues like that - that may well be transformed.

"It may be a shared area between a number of different businesses and because this will run all summer and because I think these changes will be so popular that they ought to be a feature of every summer."

The funding would help councils and businesses make outdoor dining safe and practical as the state seeks to find a COVID normal.

READ MORE: Victoria records 35 new COVID-19 cases and seven deaths

"There will be another $30 million to support COVIDSafe events and cultural activities in the CBD to attract visitors back to the city once it is safe to do so," Mr Pakula said.

"There will be another $40 million going towards providing physical improvements to the CBD streetscape.

"This will utterly transform the city and not just for this summer."

The package includes $87.5 million that'll be given to eligible businesses outside Melbourne's CBD.

A total of $58 million will be paid in grants of up to $5000 to businesses to help pay for outdoor furniture and screens.

"Those grants will be available to both licensed and unlicensed businesses, restaurants, take away food businesses, pubs, bars, clubs with a payroll under $3 million and we estimate about 11,000 businesses outside the CBD will benefit from that," Mr Pakula said.

Another $30 million will go to local councils to help them implement the streamlined permit enforcement and monitoring processes to support the expanded outdoor hospitality.

Those grants will be up to $500,000 for metropolitan councils, regional and rural councils will be eligible for grants of up to $250,000.

City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the Melbourne City Recovery Fund would revitalise the current ghost town cityscape for summer.

Pedestrians walk away from the central business district in Melbourne.

"This fund will provide support for businesses to trade safely and help encourage customers back into the city once restrictions ease," she said.

"These businesses are part of the fabric of our city and will be crucial to our recovery."

The City of Melbourne's economy was booming before COVID-19, reaching a record $104 billion last year, which is 24 per cent of Victoria's Gross State Product. However, modelling shows the city could bleed $110 billion in losses over the next five years due to lockdown restrictions.

Councillors will tomorrow consider the COVID-19 Reactivation and Recovery Plan.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-victoria-outdoor-dining-package-announced-based-on-london-new-york-covid19-transformation/b72e5771-f5a8-4a78-bbd9-74b493a82cb1

By 1news.info

Author 1news.info