Apply for a Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit

Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit - Guidelines

Council will assess each business application to extend their outdoor dining area on a case by case basis. The following options are examples and guidelines of ways businesses may be able to expand their outdoor dining area temporarily. These permits will be valid until 31 December 2021. A review of the outdoor dining program and an introduction of fees for 2022, will take place in the fourth quarter this year.  

Council will work with businesses, and VicRoads if necessary, to create an extended outdoor dining space that will allow businesses to accommodate more outdoor dining customers.

Businesses will need to provide a photo mark-up or hand drawn plan of the space they are applying to expand their outdoor dining area to. Information about what you need to include is listed in the following sections.

Information relating to liquor licencing, setting up your outdoor area and general outdoor dining can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page. Please make sure you have read the FAQ's and the Temporary Outdoor Dining Checklist before beginning your application.

Information for business located on private land

Businesses is located on private land, you do not need to apply for a Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit, however a Temporary Consent against the business' current planning permit may be required if the business is proposing to temporarily change their business hours, or seek to establish outdoor dining within the required car parking area as set by the planning permit.

You can apply for a Temporary Consent against the planning permit with the Planning team. Council is mindful that varying car parking requirements will need to be balanced to ensure businesses get outdoor dining area, while also not creating a large parking and amenity issue to the surrounding area. Therefore total car parking loss should be capped at 3 car spaces per business, and any further use of carspaces for Outdoor Dining should be offset with an equivalent number of car parks nearby.  Please email or call 1300 368 333 to start the process.

Using the footpath

 Example of use of footpath area for outdoor dining

You can apply to use the footpath area immediately in front of your business, or expand onto your neighbouring businesses footpath area. A 1.8 metre walkway must be kept unobstructed for normal pedestrian movement along the front of the building.

Please note: you can use the footpath area in front of one neighbouring business provided:

  • You have written permission from your neighbouring business to do so.
  • You have taken into consideration a 1.8m gap from the front of the neighbouring business to the dining area to allow for a walkway, and if the car space in front of that business is remaining a car space, there is 600mm setback from the kerb to allow car doors to open.
  • You are only using the footpath of one neighbouring business.

Applications for extended footpath dining are expected to take 5 business days.

If you already have a Footpath Trading Permit then you can continue to use that to operate in the area previously approved. You will need to apply for the Temporary Outdoor Dining permit if you would like to expand your outdoor dining area further than your current Footpath Trading Permit allows.

Occupying car parking spaces

Examples of use of car parking spaces for outdoor dining

You can apply to occupy car parking space immediately in front of your business or partner with neighbouring businesses to occupy sections of car parking or street space and we will help make sure your proposal is safe.

Please note: As a guide, the following allowance for car spaces per business is as follows:

  • Parallel car space: one space per business
  • 45, 60 or 90 degree car space: up to three spaces per business
  • No more than three spaces will be approved per business

If the car space(s) you want to use is on a Council road, Council will process your application within 5 business days. If the car space(s) you want to use is on a VicRoads road, this may take up to 10 business days as VicRoads require a safety audit and assessment. Council will undertake this and attempt to speed this process up as much as possible.

While we will do our best to make each proposal work, if the specific location cannot be sufficiently made safe then the car space option may not be able to proceed. 


Council will provide concrete or water filled barriers free of charge (type provided will depend on stock available) to assist in the adaptation of a car space to an outdoor dining area. These barriers will be provided with Be Kind to Business branding and a reflective strip for safety. 

Council is supportive of businesses branding and decorating concrete barriers but the reflective strips and Be Kind branding must remain for safety reasons. Some ideas of how you could brand the barriers for your business are shown below.

Concrete barrier example Outdoor Dining.png

Mesh will be provided to place between the barriers however businesses are also encouraged to be creative in their outdoor dining space. The mesh can be replaced with a permanent screen such as adding planter barriers to their outdoor footpath area. Barriers must be continuous and uninterrupted so an adult or child cannot walk through or over them. A few examples are pictured below:

Examples of footpath barriers Outdoor Dining.png

Closure of laneways, roads and service roads

If your application includes a closure of a laneway, road or service road, Council will assess your application and work closely with VicRoads if required, to determine if this closure is safe and practical. These applications will be assessed individually and Council will work with each business to ensure all safety and other requirements are met before issuing a permit.

Where businesses are able to coordinate and agree collectively options may be available to close a road. This would require agreement from all affected traders and businesses (not just hospitality). This option is more complex and requires traffic safety assessments, which may delay the process. Traders are encouraged to first consider footpath extensions or the use of car spaces.

Open space options

Council is investigating options for businesses who don't have direct access to outdoor dining spaces. 

If a business has an open space that can be considered practical to accommodate outdoor dining, Council may grant a permit. This outdoor area may be able to be used by a group of hospitality businesses as long as these businesses have agreed to regimented cleaning of these areas and can provide bathroom facilities for customers. More information on this will be released shortly.

Temporary Outdoor Dining Requirements

To ensure applications for a Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit are approved, businesses must provide a photo markup or hand drawn plan (please see example below). The plan must consider the following:

  • A 1.8 metre walkway must be kept unobstructed for normal pedestrian movement along the front of the building
  • A 600mm space must be kept from the back of the kerb line to enable car doors to open
  • There must be a 1.5m gap between tables
  • The dimensions of the area the business intends to expand onto
  • Where any required concrete or water filled barriers would be positioned
  • It is suggested that accessible seating options are prioritised on the footpath or an area most easily accessible. If businesses require their extended area to be accessible, they will need to install a transition ramp.

 example photo with sketch markup  

You can create a photo markup several ways:

  • take a screen capture of the area using Google Street View and add the details with photo editing tools
  • print out a photo and hand draw the markups on the photo
  • provide a hand drawn, to scale, plan.

Temporary Outdoor Dining Areas

The following will need to be considered when setting up your extended outdoor dining space:

  • Businesses can set up their table and chairs as they wish, ensuring it complies with their COVID Safe Plan and State Government requirements. 
  • Outdoor weighted umbrellas are preferred to help cover customers from different weather conditions.
    • Marquees and other similar structures are a safety concern and therefore discouraged. If you would like to set up a marquee (with no walls) it must be set back from the road and a building permit will be required. Marquees will not be directly approved through this permit. You will need to apply for Council consent with the building department, view more information on our website.
  • Council will provide concrete or water filled barriers and parawebbing for safety. Businesses are able to replace the parawebbing with their own screen provided they meet the following requirements
    • It is continuous and uninterrupted, with a maximum total height of 900mm, and a child cannot move through it and an adult cannot climb over it.
    • The screening must be permanently installed for the duration of the permit (not packed up each night).
    • View examples of innovative screens.

Apply for the permit

To complete the application you'll need to provide:

  • Your contact and business details
  • Details of the area you would like to occupy (e.g. footpath, car space) 
  • Details of neighbouring businesses (if applying to occupy a shared or neighbouring space)
  • Details of any other existing permits, if applicable (e.g. Footpath Trading, Liquor Licence etc)

If you start the application but find you don't have all the required information, you can save your application and return to it at a later stage.

Apply now