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Melbourne CBD set to transform into alfresco dining hub post-lockdown

Melbourne CBD is set to transform into an alfresco dining hub in a bid to draw people back to the city this summer.The plan was unveiled on Monday as the state government announced $290 million to support the entertainment industry, transform the city and help sole traders.Premier Daniel Andrews said $100 million of that will…

Melbourne CBD is set to transform into an alfresco dining hub in a bid to draw people back to the city this summer.

The plan was unveiled on Monday as the state government announced $290 million to support the entertainment industry, transform the city and help sole traders.

Premier Daniel Andrews said $100 million of that will go towards a Melbourne city recovery fund, aimed to inject life back into the city and help businesses that have struggled under COVID-19.

Grants will be provided to businesses to move their activities outdoors and provide COVID-19 safe events and infrastructure.

It means Melburnians could be dining in city parks and gardens, and streets, laneways and car parks opened up into alfresco areas.

“This will utterly transform the city and not just for this summer but something that Victorians will love and appreciate and will provide a new alfresco environment for CBD,” Mr Andrews said.

“This can be made safe and I think a really significant part of (businesses) opening up again.”

Mr Andrews said it will run all summer, but could be long term.

“I think these changes will be so popular that they ought to be a feature of every summer. Patrons will warm to it,” he said.

The Melbourne city recovery fund will support about 16,500 businesses registered in the City of Melbourne, supporting over 470,000 jobs.

Of the $100 million announced, $30 million will be provided in grants to small and medium businesses to help pay for tables, plastic screens, umbrellas and other items needed for outdoor dining.

More detail about perspex screens between tables and density limits inside dining venues will be announced at a later time, Mr Andrews said.

A further $30 million will go towards supporting COVIDSafe events and cultural activities in the CBD to attract visitors back to the city once it is safe to do so.

Another $40 million will be spent on physical improvements to the CBD streetscape

Minister for Industry Support and Recovery, Martin Pakula, said it will be a game-changer for the city.

“This will utterly transform the city and not just for this summer,” Mr Pakula said.

“It will be something that I think Victorians will love and appreciate and it will create a new alfresco dining for CBD dining which will be enjoyed for many summers.”

The announcement comes on top of $3 billion announced on Sunday in grants, tax relief and cashflow support for Victorian businesses.

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