It’s very likely if you’ve been to any suburbs in and around Sydney/Gadigal of late you’ve seen more and more footpaths and parking turned into outdoor dining spaces. This is thanks to an alfresco dining program kicked off by the City of Sydney in 2020. The program was in response to limited capacities placed on the hospitality sector during Covid and a way to ‘fit’ more people in.
The initiative was so successful they’ve decided to not only continue but expand it by freeing up even more funding, some $5.7m to cover any and all associated fees until 2022 when international travel is expected to resume.
This is a huge coup for hospitality in and around inner-Sydney/Gadigal but also punters who can now enjoy their favourite pubs, cafes and bars with a bit of extra fresh air and sun! Since the program’s inception, 204 permits have been granted meaning a total of 2690 square metres has been opened up.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore spoke of the program saying; “Waiving outdoor dining fees was one of the first things we did when the pandemic hit Sydney, to make it easier for restaurants, bars and cafes to operate while encouraging physical distancing,” adding “People have really embraced it, with participating businesses telling us they’ve taken on extra staff and seen increased patronage — a crucial aid to staying afloat in these difficult times.”
According to Concrete Playground, the program has meant;
- 90% of restaurants and cafes taking part in the program told the City of Sydney that al fresco dining was beneficial or crucial to their business.
- 40% increased their staff hours by 10 hours or more per week as a result
- 45% employed at least two more staff members a week, and
- 58% have seen their turnover increase up to ten percent.
This joins a number of initiatives by City of Sydney and the NSW Governments to encourage a thriving nighttime economy. It includes making George Street pedestrian-only, the creation of special entertainment precincts, grand plans for Kings Cross and plenty more.
Good times ahead!