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    Kerry and David Coone of Ararat stop at Cafe Jas on their way to Dimboola for a getaway after months stuck at home. The couple are usually in Queensland this time of year.

Horsham council to support outdoor dining

Horsham Rural City Council will waive outdoor dining permit fees to allow hospitality businesses to offer  COVID safe outdoor dining options. 
Chief Executive Officer Sunil Bhalla said Council’s aim was to make the process as simple and seamless for businesses as possible.
“Being able to dine outside will be key to economic recovery for the municipality’s hospitality businesses, so Council is reaching out to discuss how they can start or expand their outdoor dining offering,” Mr Bhalla said.

“We want to see all our bakeries, cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars in our municipality have the opportunity to welcome as many customers as safely as possible.
“As a first step, our business support is making contact with all hospitality business operators to discuss various options and to hear ideas.
“Even if they have never had outdoor dining before, we want to work quickly to help remove red tape,” he said.

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Business operators will need to have a COVID Safe Plan in place by the 28 September 2020 and templates are available from the COVID Business Support Team.
If a business has a liquor licence, this will need to be extended to accommodate additional outdoor dining.
The State Government is putting in place processes to ensure quick turnaround in relation to extending current or approving new liquor licenses.

Mr Bhalla said there would be no cost to start or expand outdoor dining, as Council had waived all outdoor dining fees as part of the 2020/2021 Budget.
“There will also be no planning permit application fees associated with permits for liquor licence extensions within outdoor dining areas,” he said.

“However Council and businesses will still need to consider various safety issues related to outdoor dining areas including general safety of the dining area, accessibility, smoke free dining and traffic management.
“This is an exciting opportunity for businesses to be innovative and show our region off in a new light and create something new and unique,” Mr Bhalla said.
Business operators can contact outdoor dining contact officer Luke Mitton on 0428 312 956.