Melbourne’s laneways could come to life at night through outdoor trading from retail, entertainment and dining venues.
As each day passes, the weather gets warmer and we get closer to hitting our vaccination targets. When 70 per cent of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated, certain businesses will be able to trade outdoors with customer limits. In anticipation of this, the City of Melbourne will launch the Inside Out initiative. This plan will transform the city, as retail, hospitality and entertainment around the CBD move their trade from inside to outside. Outdoor trading will take place in Melbourne’s iconic laneways on select evenings, bringing nightlife and activity back to the CBD, after months of lockdown. Inside Out is expected to start in late October, when Victoria is expected to that 70 per cent target.
Laneways around Melbourne could close on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, so that businesses can trade into the warmer evenings and welcome more people into the city.
“This will be an exciting first for Melbourne,” said Lord Mayor Sally Capp. “Imagine a bustling market with clothing racks and trestle tables on the street, along with food stalls and buskers that will help bring the vibrancy back to our beautiful city, safely.”
The City of Melbourne is looking to fast-track new applications from business owners so that they’ll be ready to participate in Inside Out. 200 outdoor trading permits have already been granted.
“There is a real sense of urgency around this initiative. Every day that businesses can’t operate is another day of income lost,” said the Lord Mayor.
“We will be extending the moratorium on paying permit fees, approving more outdoor permits, and we are looking at lower cost options for outdoor dining infrastructure,” she added.
Inside Out isn’t the only plan on the table. The popular Melbourne Money scheme, which gave patrons money back after dining at a CBD restaurant or café, is slated to return.
“We saw just how popular Melbourne Money was, and the value it provided to hospitality businesses, so we want to do it again,” said the Lord Mayor.
Other plans to bring people back to the CBD include transforming Melbourne’s laneways into creative works of art, thanks to the Flash Forward program, and breathing new life into the city’s vacant shopfronts.
Inside Out is currently scheduled to start in late October.
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