Clubs are being offered grants of up to $5000 to convert existing spaces into alfresco dining areas.

Just 188 of the 4530 NSW registered clubs eligible for a $5000 grant to convert outdoor spaces into dining areas have taken up the offer. The State Environmental Planning Policy has been relaxed to allow food and drink premises such as clubs, cafes, restaurants, pubs and small bars across the state to create outdoor dining on the footpath as exempt development. About 4000 businesses so far registered for the program, of which only 188 were clubs.

The temporary outdoor dining rules are being extended until 31 December 2023 to encourage more outdoor dining and give businesses longer to seek approval for a permanent space. That means registered clubs can temporarily repurpose existing outdoor spaces, such as car parks and bowling greens, to serve food and drinks.

Clubs can apply to their local council to use a footpath and other public spaces to serve diners outside, without needing a separate development application. Instead, councils issue permits approved under the Local Government Act or Roads Act.

The applicant club needs to have an aggregated annual turnover of less than $10 million and be a small to medium-size food and beverage business as defined by an ANZSIC code.  It also needs to have an active ABN.

All sites are subject to development standards to manage environmental impacts such as hours of operation, patron capacity, safety and waste management.

Licensed premises must apply to Liquor & Gaming NSW to have their liquor licence boundary temporarily extended to include the new outdoor space. In addition, licensed venues will now be able to apply via a fast-track process to make their temporary boundary approval permanent. 

There is also no need for separate planning approval to have outdoor dining, making it easier, faster and cheaper for businesses to focus on recovering from the pandemic.

But a liquor licence from Liquor & Gaming NSW is required for food and beverage venues to sell and serve alcohol. Councils will notify L&GNSW and NSW Police when an outdoor dining application is received that requires a temporary change of licence boundary.

For more details head to the Service NSW website. 

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