City of Sydney keeps outdoor dining on the menu

Bars and venues across Sydney will be able to continue hosting guests outside until the end of 2024, as the City of Sydney extends its road outdoor dining program.

Extending the outdoor dining initiative was a natural part of the City of Sydney’s long-term vision for the city, according to Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore.

“In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we wanted to do everything we could to help businesses get back on their feet while bringing communities together,” the Lord Mayor said.

“It’s wonderful to see people out on the streets, connecting with each other and enjoying their neighbourhood while supporting local businesses.”

The program was introduced at the start of the pandemic and since then more than 500 businesses have started to offer outdoor dining, with an impressive 4460 square metres of footpath and road space converted into alfresco dining areas.

Around 91 per cent of those participating said the program was crucial to its business. Three-quarters said the boost in customer numbers meant they needed to hire more employees, with more than one-third seeing a 20 per cent increase in turnover.

Brett Robinson, CEO of The Point Group, said alfresco dining had become an essential part of business at its venue, the Dolphin Hotel on Crown Street.

“They are generally the first seats to fill up each day and the area that drives interest and further patronage once it’s occupied. People love the casual and social setting it provides,” Brett said.

“It’s added so much vibrancy to the street frontage of the hotel. We are now far busier overall due to the passing traffic seeing activity out the front of the venue and being drawn to the venue as a result.”

The City of Sydney has agreed to invest another $4m to extend the program until the end of next year, with current alfresco dining licenses set to expire in April. The associated footpath fees have already been waived until 2025.

Businesses that want to extend their licence need to apply by the end of April.

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