City recieves almost $1 million to support outdoor dining

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Ash Bolt

The City of Greater Geelong will receive almost $1 million of state government funding to help activate outdoor spaces as Victoria reaches its vaccination targets.

The state government has funded a $40 million COVIDSafe Outdoor Activation Fund to help local governments create more outdoor areas for residents to enjoy safely.

The fund is divided into two streams, with just over half of the funding set aside to install public furniture, art and entertainment and landscaping to attract visitors and support businesses.

The rest of the funding will allow local governments to establish permanent and semi-permanent outdoor precincts.

South Barwon MP Darren Cheeseman said the City of Greater Geelong had received $975,000 under the fund, while the Surf Coast Shire had received $500,000.

Mr Cheeseman said the funding would allow the councils to support businesses, such as cafés and restaurants, to provide their services outdoors.

“Outdoor dining last summer was embraced by our community,” he said.

“I am looking forward to seeing even more local businesses supported by this fantastic initiative and even more people being able to get out and about safely as we open up.”

The funding will be complemented with a $14.5 million voucher program designed to help businesses adapt to outdoor services.

Under the COVIDSafe Outdoor Activation Voucher Program, more than 7000 businesses will be able to receive a $2000 grant if they spend that much to support initiatives such as outdoor hospitality.

Hairdressers, beauty services, retail shops, dance studios and gyms will also be eligible to apply for vouchers, along with restaurants, cafés and bars, to to encourage kerbside trading.

The voucher program will open soon and will be delivered by Business Victoria in partnership with Service Victoria.

“This is about giving businesses support to reopen in safe and new ways, ensuring they can recover strongly and quickly,” small business minister Jaala Pulford said.

“Our small businesses are rearing to go and this will mean more customers and more trade as we move ever closer to our key vaccination targets.”