Victorian Government announces $290 million boost for outdoor dining and events

As seen in New York and London, the concept will reimagine how Victoria gathers as it recovers from the pandemic.

The Victorian Government has committed $290 million to support the return of entertainment and events and reimagine how people gather across the state.

Based on concepts seen in cities such as New York and London, Victoria will transform footpaths and roads to create a new way of dining and gathering that utilises the outdoors for a more COVID-safe approach.

Of the funding, $100 million will help reshape Melbourne’s CBD in partnership with the City of Melbourne, while $87.5 million will be given to councils and businesses outside of Melbourne’s CBD to help them transition to outdoor dining.

Hospitality business will be eligible for grants of up to $5,000 to pay for the practical updates including umbrellas, outdoor furniture, screens and other equipment, while small and medium businesses will be able apply for $30 million worth of grants to pay for equipment and to convert spaces like rooftops and courtyards into hospitality zones.

Funding of $29.5 million will be provided to local councils to help them implement permit, enforcement and monitoring processes to support expanded outdoor dining in the state’s third step of recovery.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the funding will enable innovation and creativity to help the state find a “COVID Normal”.

“We’re the cultural and dining capital of our nation,” he said.

“That means, when it comes to reimagining what eating and entertainment means under COVID Normal, there’s no one better equipped than Melbourne and Victoria.”

The funding is in addition to $3 billion in grants, tax relief and cashflow announced by the Victorian Government over the weekend.

$30 million for COVID-safe events

A further $30 million will support COVID-safe events and cultural activities to attract visitors back to Melbourne’s CBD when it’s safe to do so.

A new $100 million Sole Trader Support Fund will provide grants of $3,000 to eligible sole traders working in sectors that continue to be affected by restrictions, such as media and film production, creative studios, outdoor entertainment and in private museums and galleries.

Victoria Tourism Industry Council CEO Felicia Mariani said while the funding won’t assist every business, it is welcome news for many tourism and events operators.

“It is a recognition that businesses under stress will require extensive support to comply with the Government’s vision to move activities outdoors as part of COVID-Safe plans,” she said.

“The $30 million allocated to the creation of arts and cultural events to bring people back to our city is so vital and especially welcomed. Events are a key driver for visitation to Melbourne and they are critical to the heart and soul of our city’s persona.”

More information is available for Victorian businesses here.

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