The NSW government announced a $66 million hospitality package as part of its “Alfresco Restart” scheme aimed at revamping alfresco dining, “outdoor activations” and events businesses across the state on Thursday (14 October), in a bid to liven up the state’s street-dining economy.
From November, the state will roll out a raft of initiatives including “The Festival of Place”, which will see an outdoor public program called Long Summer Nights rolled out at the Rocks, Darling Harbour and The Domain.
Other public programs bundled into “The Festival of Place” are the Streets as Shared Spaces program, the Summer Night Fund Program, and Open Streets Program. Details on those have yet to be released.
Along with the government’s outdoor activity programs, the Perrottet government will also offer emergency temporary alfresco measures for outdoor dining in parks or private land with the owner’s consent, along with $5,000 grants for hospitality businesses looking to set up alfresco services.
The last of the initiatives will see permanent outdoor dining offered as an exempt development for pubs and small bars across the state.
Treasurer Matt Kean said venues across NSW will be ready to host friends and families outdoors as the state reopens to the fully vaccinated.
“Alfresco dining is not only a great way to dine, it’s a safe way to socialise as we open up,” Mr Kean said.
“That’s why we are supporting new outdoor entertainment and dining precincts to pop up right across the state through our $66 million Alfresco Restart initiative.”
The Minister for Digital and Customer Service, Victor Dominello, said the NSW government is doing all it can to revive the hospitality and entertainment industries safely.
“After a long winter, it’s time for Sydney to enjoy a meal or drink in the sunshine and the NSW Government is committed to helping businesses do that in time for summer,” Mr Dominello said.
“We’re providing 5,000 hospitality businesses a $5,000 grant to get their outdoor dining venture off the ground – whether that’s to help set-up curb-side dining or a pub-style courtyard, we’re here to turn their ideas into reality.”
The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, said the government’s Alfresco Restart Package will help the hospitality, arts, and music sectors get back on their feet after a long winter in lockdown.
“After many months in lockdown, the people of NSW are ready to enjoy themselves, so we’ve thrown out the rule book with new temporary alfresco measures, while also making last year’s trials permanent,” Mr Stokes said.
“In addition to the permanent easing of rules for dining on footpaths and public spaces, we’re temporarily allowing outdoor dining on privately-owned bowling greens and carparks, meaning businesses can expand outdoors on almost any piece of land they own to welcome more customers.”
John Buckley is a journalist at Accountants Daily.
Before joining the team in 2021, John worked at The Sydney Morning Herald. His reporting has featured in a range of outlets including The Washington Post, The Age, and The Saturday Paper.