The Sydney Business Chamber says tomorrow’s easing of restrictions on the numbers of patrons in cafes and restaurants, is the perfect time for a state-wide waiving of outdoor footway fees charged by local councils, allowing more businesses to trade profitably by extending their floor space to safely accommodate more patrons under the 50 people rule.
“Some Sydney Councils have already waived costly outdoor dining fees and now it’s time to initiate a 6 month trial right across NSW, allowing cafes and restaurants to utilise footways and other public outdoor areas like carparks,” said Katherine O’Regan, Executive Director of the Sydney Business Chamber.
“Getting the economy turning over again and thousands of casuals back into work is critical, especially with many people now returning to work in the city, with others working from home now able to visit local cafes and restaurants during the day. This would also provide a big boost to the State’s tourism sector, coinciding with the easing of intrastate travel restrictions.”
“However, the relaxation of these restrictions can only be fully utilised if the smaller establishments can increase their floor space areas and trade successfully while safely maintaining necessary social distancing.”
“Of course it must be done in a measured way so that people can traverse footways safely, but with co-operation between business owners and councils, it would help overcome the limitations of social distancing that still limit the numbers able to dine and shop indoors. This would help make it commercially viable for many more establishments to trade.”
“Councils manage the footways land but the State Government could step in and incentivise councils to free up further use of these public areas by providing financial compensation for the lost income to assist already stretched local government budgets.”
“In a positive example of how it could work, the Mayor of Los Angeles just announced the LA Alfresco Initiative to accelerate the city’s applications process to allow increased use of footways and other public spaces like car parks to drive more outdoor trading. The approvals process here is also slow and a disincentive to business, along with the high costs, so the State government should encourage councils to do likewise here.”
Media contact: David Peters 0413 872 491
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