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Alfresco dining will become the norm this summer, with NSW government agencies banding together in a task force dedicated to activating the state’s outdoor hospitality spaces.
This announcement comes off the back of the Victorian government’s announcement of a $290 million package for Melbourne restaurants to expand outdoors in a growing national trend to see more Australians dining outdoors.
The new NSW government task force will work to streamline applications for venues to use their outdoor spaces in time for summer.
NSW Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the government is keen to work with venues to better use open spaces to help generate business and create jobs.
“The pandemic has made indoor spaces less amenable to socialising so it’s time we reduce barriers to spending more social time outside,” Mr Dominello said.
“We’re at a point where we need a cultural transformation to breathe life back into hospitality businesses and it makes sense to take advantage of NSW’s great climate and superb hospitality offerings, while adapting to a world where COVID transmission remains a risk.”
The NSW government are planning to have a pilot program in place before summer, in addition to long-term solutions regarding standardising the outdoor drinking and dining scene.
Representatives on the task force will work closely with local government, who have the lead role in identifying the right spaces and considering their use within frameworks for public safety and amenity.
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes has said alfresco dining will give people a reason to visit city centres and therefore assist in boosting NSW’s economy.
“Public spaces have become more important than ever before. As we head into the warmer months, we need to find ways to keep our vital hospitality sector buoyant, while also keeping people safe,” he said.