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    Jackie Wilson and Kristine Horrocks at Chris and Di's Bakery in Stawell.

Support for hospitality businesses

Northern Grampians Shire Council will waive a raft of fees and provide extra support to help hospitality businesses reopen as they make the transition to ‘COVID-normal’ operation.

The council has made the move in the wake of State Government Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package funding.

Current step three restrictions allow for restaurants, hotels and cafes to host up to 40 customers indoors and 70 customers outdoors, provided establishments can adhere to density quotas.

The State Government funding aims to help hospitality businesses adapt their outdoor spaces accordingly.



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The council outdoor dining permit-fee waivers cover any permit fee, including building and planning, to help businesses comply with new outdoor dining rules.

The council will also provide help for businesses to apply for other state and federal grants where they are deemed ineligible for the State Government Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package.

There will be on-site council support available for businesses to design outdoor dining spaces compliant with State Government requirements.

The council will also help with permits, planning and support for ‘pop up’ dining projects and supply picnic rugs that hospitality customers can borrow to enjoy their takeaway in outdoor spaces.

Businesses can request the rugs through the council at no cost to business owners and they will be ordered on an as-needs basis.

Engagement

Council chief executive Liana Thompson said the council acknowledged the business changes were complex and had appointed a business-engagement officer from its business team to support the hospitality industry with planning and implementation of the changes. 

She said the business team would help business owners navigate through regulations such as compliance with the Disability Act, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation and abiding by Victoria Police coronavirus rules.

Ms Thompson called on all hospitality businesses in the shire to reach out to the council regarding this funding and support.

“We know this has been a very difficult year for our region and hospitality is one industry that has been severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions,” she said.

“The outdoor eating and entertainment funding is a fantastic initiative to help resurrect our once vibrant hospitality sector. 

“We are keen to see businesses in that sector take full advantage of the funding on offer and we are here to support them to make the necessary adaptations to boost their trade.

“We wholeheartedly encourage locals and tourists alike to go and dine at our local pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafês as they implement these new options for outdoor entertainment in our picturesque shire; it’s such a marvellous time of year to be outside.”

The council has encouraged hospitality businesses to contact its business engagement officer on 5358 8700 at business@ngshire.vic.gov.au for further information. Coronavirus information relevant to Northern Grampians Shire is available online at ngshire.vic.gov.au/Coronavirus.

The entire November 18, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!