Temporary Outdoor Dining Frequently Asked Questions

Outdoor dining table

1. Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit

Please see below for a full list of questions and answers relating to the Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit.

You can also call our Business team on 1300 368 333 or email outdoordining@yarraranges.vic.gov.au for support. 

Who is eligible to apply for a Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit?

Business are eligible if they are:

  • located on public land; and
  • operate a business premises located in Yarra Ranges Council; and
  • hold a valid Class 2 or 3 Service Sector Certificate of Registration under the Food Act 1984 (Vic) and/or a relevant Liquor License.

Businesses intending to establish extended outdoor dining on private land may need to seek consent under their planning permit. Please see the question below relevant to businesses on private land.

 

How much will the Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit cost?

The Temporary Outdoor Dining permit will be issued to applicants FREE of charge.

There may be fees for other approvals from external organisations (eg. Victorian Commission for Gaming and Liquor Regulations, Department of Transport) but this is yet to be confirmed.

How long will these permits be valid for?

These permits will be valid until 30 June 2021. Council will then review and may extend based on the current COVID-19 restrictions.

What will this permit allow me to do?

The Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit is a new permit that will be made available for businesses who wish to extend their outdoor dining area to enable table service. The following options are available depending on each location:

  • Use of footpath areas immediately in front of the business 
  • Expansion onto neighbouring business' footpath area (provided there is written permission);
  • Occupying on-street car parking space immediately in front of the business;
  • Partnering with neighbouring businesses to occupy sections of on-street car parking or localised street space; or
  • Partnering with neighbouring businesses to expand outdoor dining to adjacent laneways.

I already have a Footpath Trading Permit. Do I still need to apply?

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.

How is this permit different to the Footpath Trading Permit?

Businesses that already possess a Footpath Trading Permit will not have to apply for a Temporary Extended Outdoor Permit unless they wish to extend their outdoor dining in any way.

What if I can't use any footpath, car space or nearby laneway?

Where a business is unable to offer table service to footpaths, car spaces or road spaces within a reasonable distance, Council will explore opportunities for safe communal outdoor dining areas within each centre.

In this instance businesses would need to offer take-away dining options that can be consumed at these designated communal areas. More information will be released shortly.

These communal spaces will be alcohol and smoke free zones.

I want to extend my outdoor dining area but I am on private land, what do I need to do?

Businesses proposing to do their outdoor dining on private land will not need a Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit, but they may have some planning considerations which can be quickly responded to by Council's planning team. 

Changes to the Victorian Planning Scheme were announced on 21 October 2020, to help streamline the process for councils to assess applications for planning permits for outdoor dining.

Pubs, restaurants, cafes and other food and drink venues may now be exempt from planning permit requirements to use outdoor spaces on their own land, adjoining land, or nearby parks and public land to serve patrons if certain conditions are met. 

Businesses wishing to sell or serve alcohol in these extended outdoor dining areas on private land can apply direct to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.  No council consent is required in this situation.

For more information on the planning permit exemption and to determine if your business can operate within the exemptions, please refer

 

What is Council doing to ensure this does not affect non-hospitality businesses? Eg. retail, services.

We hope that all businesses will benefit by attracting patrons back into our welcoming environments and centres.  The use of footpath space in front of neighbouring businesses for outdoor dining is solely at the discretion and written agreement of the neighbouring businesses. Council is ensuring that parking will still be available and active modes of transport will be promoted.

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3. Assessment Process

Can I apply for a permit yet?

Applications for the Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit are open.

Apply now

Make sure you have viewed the Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit Checklist before applying to ensure you have everything ready to submit with your application.

 

How long will my application take to be processed?

The assessment period will vary depending on the complexity of the application. The assessment period will differ depending on what the application is for, including:

  • Simple footpath outdoor dining: up to 5 business days.
  • Car space(s) in front of the business - a Council owned road: up to 5 business days.
  • Car space(s) in front of the business - a VicRoads owned road: Based on advice from VicRoads, up to 10 business days.
  • Collective of car spaces: up to 5 business days.
  • Closure of a non-vehicle laneway: up to 5 business days.
  • Closure of a vehicle laneway or road: up to 20 business days.

Closure of any VicRoads roads is not expected to be permitted for this project.

 

What is Council doing to assist outdoor dining?

Council will be installing impact resistant traffic barriers (either concrete or water filled) at key edges of car spaces, as well as installing hi-visibility para webbing along the remaining edges free of charge. The parawebbing can be replaced by the business with an agreed alternate barrier that is included in their application.

Find out more about these barriers and how you can tailor them to your business.

 

What if my proposal does not meet Council requirements?

If your application to Council does not meet the Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit requirements, we will assist you to develop an alternative concept that meets requirements and gets your application across the line. We have an Outdoor Dining team who are here to assist businesses and help make extended outdoor dining as easy as possible.

 

4. Liquor Licencing, Insurance and Outdoor Dining Areas

Will I be able to serve alcohol as part of the extended outdoor dining service?

As per previous dining requirements, food must be served if alcohol is provided. 

If you would like to extend your liquor licence to your temporary outdoor area, you can apply for a temporary limited licence from the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).

If your business is on private land, you will need to obtain the landowner's consent and apply directly to extend your liquor licence through the VCGLR.

If you business is on public land, Council will provide you with a letter of support with your permit and you will then need to apply to extend your liquor licence through the VCGLR. The consent on public land will be included in the business' permit, and no separate permission is required to be lodged with council. Once the letter of consent is issued, the consent along with the approved outdoor dining area is required to be submitted with the VCGLR application by the business.

For the most up to date information on what is required, visit the VCGLR website.

If your restaurant or cafe does not currently have a liquor licence, you must apply for a new licence on the VCGLR website.

Communal eating areas where people can eat take-away food from local businesses will be considered alcohol and smoke free zones.

 

 

Do I need public liability insurance for my outdoor dining area?

Yes, review your current Public Liability Insurance and you ensure your Limit of Liability is for a minimum of $10 million and the policy includes outdoor dining. Also check with your insurer that your insurance will cover any area you are wanting to expand your outdoor dining space onto.

 

Can I use the footpath area in front of a business next door to mine?

Yes, 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.

View footpath outdoor dining zone example.

Can I use a carspace in front of my business?

You can apply to use a car space in front of your business and we will help make sure your proposal is safe.

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. 

View occupying car parking spaces information.

Are there car spaces that can't be used?

The following cannot be occupied for outdoor dining:

  • Disabled parking bays and associated circulation
  • Loading zones
  • No Parking zones
  • No Standing zones
  • Bus bays

 

How can I set up my extended outdoor dining space?

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.

How do I know if my business fronts a Council road or a VicRoads road?

You can check on the VicRoads website or on Council's road register lookup tool to identify if a road is owned by Council or VicRoads.

Alternatively, you can check a Melways map. A red or black road indicates it is owned by VicRoads.

 

Can I expand my outdoor dining area disconnected from my site? Eg. a nearby laneway, carpark, park area

Any table service areas must be within a close proximity of the business. Requests to use public space for this purpose will be considered by Council based on access, safety and amenity.

Council will be identifying opportunities in each centre that might be appropriate for a communal outdoor dining area, however this is reliant on State Government clarity. These would enable the community to consume take-away food from local businesses in an outdoor dining environment. Requests for temporary road closures and occupying public land will need to be submitted.

 

Will Council improve the infrastructure adjacent to my business for outdoor dining? Eg. fix cracks in footpaths, level sloped areas.

It may be possible to do minor quick repairs depending on capacity and the nature of the issue, however existing pavements, roads and levels will remain unless they are a hazard. If you believe something needs to be fixed urgently by Council, please report an issue on our website.

 

Will Council remove infrastructure so that I can expand my outdoor area? Eg. rubbish bins, public seating, garden/landscaped area.

All existing street furniture will remain in place, such as seats, bike hoops, drinking fountains and bins. Any plans for temporary outdoor dining will work around these where necessary.

 

Will Council co-invest in furnishing and weather proofing my outdoor area? Eg. seating, blinds, umbrellas, heating.

No, the furnishing and operations of these spaces is the responsibility of individual businesses. Eligible hospitality businesses can apply for grants of up to $5,000 from the Victorian Government to assist in their outdoor dining setup. Applications are now open and close on 11 December 2020. Visit the Business Victoria website for more information.

 

 

5. VicRoads Managed Frontages

What happens if the parking space outside a café is Vic Roads’ responsibility?

If the business has direct frontage then you can still apply for a permit through Yarra Ranges Council.  However, because it is VicRoads managed, Council needs to have a supporting Safety Audit of the proposal and seek VicRoads approval.  To avoid delays in approval time, we recommend that businesses apply for the footpath and carpark permits separately. Where businesses are located in a service lane off a VicRoads road, Council can issue temporary outdoor dining permits without VicRoads approval. 

How is the permit requested?

Businesses are required to apply through the Council Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit Application process, and Council will then submit to VicRoads.

6. General Outdoor Dining

When can I start outdoor dining?

On Sunday 18 October it was announced by Premier Daniel Andrews that hospitality businesses can prepare to open from 2 November 2020. More information is expected to be announced by the State Government on 1 November 2020. This date can be brought forward by the State Government and workers and staff can return to work premises from 28 October for essential preparations.

 

What is the cap on indoor and outdoor dining?

Specific information for Metropolitan Melbourne was announced by the State Government on 18 October 2020. From 1 November hospitality businesses can open with the following restrictions:

  • seated dining only
  • maximum of 10 people per group, seated 1.5m from other groups
  • indoor space: open with a cap of 10 persons per indoor space, with a maximum of 20 patrons per venue indoors, subject to density requirements (1 person per 4sqm)
  • outdoor space: open with a cap of 50 patrons per venue outdoors subject to density requirements (1 person per 2sqm)

Can outdoor diners use the indoor bathroom facilities of the restaurant or cafe which they are eating at?

Yes, toilets can be used by patrons of the outdoor dining areas. The density quotient does not apply to toilets and where used as a thoroughfare to outdoor space (e.g. foyer, reception area). Appropriate cleaning and disinfecting practices must be implemented in these areas.

 

 

View Temporary Outdoor Dining Reopening Checklist

Apply for Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit