Outdoor trading

To support businesses to re-open safely, Council has been working with business owners across Hobsons Bay to extend their outdoor trading areas. Extended trading areas allow businesses to serve more customers while meeting social distancing requirements and gaining greater exposure.

Pier Street Outdoor Dining


During November and December 2020, as part of the Hobsons Bay Business has Heart Outdoors program, selected shopping strips and on street carparks were transformed into outdoor dining and retail spaces by transforming parking spaces and extending footpath trading with outdoor tables, chairs, planter boxes, barriers and signage.

Individual businesses were also supported with customised outdoor trading arrangements to support the expansion of their trading footprint during the COVID-19 pandemic recovery period. 

Following extensive consultation with local businesses and residents, Council has announced that the Hobsons Bay Business has Heart Outdoors program will be extended until 31 May 2022.  During this extended pilot, all participating businesses will be able to retain their existing extended trading areas. 

To read the full media release, click here


Frequently Asked Questions

Are retailers able to take part in the outdoor activation?

Yes. The Hobsons Bay Business Has Heart Outdoors program welcomes retail trading to be extended outdoors to increase the trading footprint. The support and infrastructure that Council provides to retail and dining traders are the same.

Is there a wet weather alternative/will the extended trading areas be sheltered?

At this stage Council is sourcing supply of umbrellas for some communal sites. . Umbrellas will not be supplied for individual business areas therefore it is recommended individual businesses consider how they will accommodate wet weather and extreme heat conditions and plan accordingly. The Victorian Government Outdoor Eating and Entertainment package provides funding for umbrellas, furniture, screens, etc. More information can be found at https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-resilience-package/outdoor-eating-and-entertainment-package

Can I get furniture and infrastructure for my private dining area at the back of my café/restaurant?

No. Extended dining areas will be installed in areas that are publicly accessible and where Council staff can access the infrastructure. The Victorian Government Outdoor Eating and Entertainment package provides funding for umbrellas, furniture, screens, etc. More information can be found at https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-resilience-package/outdoor-eating-and-entertainment-package

Will I be able to keep the furniture supplied by Council?

No, all infrastructure and furniture will remain the property of Hobsons Bay City Council and will need to be returned at the end of the program or upon request.

Who is covering the cost of outdoor trading set up?

Hobsons Bay City Council will cover the cost of all additional infrastructure required to set up the activation. Tables and chairs will be supplied for shared and communal spaces. Individual businesses are expected to supply tables and chairs for their own dedicated extended trading areas. The Victorian Government Outdoor Eating and Entertainment package provides funding for businesses to purchase umbrellas, furniture, screens, etc if required. More information can be found at https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-resilience-package/outdoor-eating-and-entertainment-package

What will the extended trading areas look like?

This will vary depending on the location and space available and may consist of a parklet (conversion of car park space), shared communal space in a closed street decked area of a offstreet car park, or a bespoke set up, depending on what suits particular locations and business needs. Each extended trading area will be different but may include fencing, planter box barriers, timber decking or greenery and outdoor furniture.

How does this affect the car park spaces available for parking?

For businesses without sufficient footpath space, or that wish to extend their existing footpath trading area, a number of parking spaces will be temporarily removed. Council will take into consideration the overall impact on parking in areas that extended trading will be implemented including the number of car spaces that may be temporarily lost.

Can I serve alcohol within the extended trading area?

The VCGLR have provided temporary guidelines in relation to businesses with liquor licenses and extended trading areas. Information from the VCGLR can be found here - https://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/covid-19. Once locations are confirmed, Council will provide a letter of support and map to assist in obtaining a temporary licence through the VCGLR to include the extended trading area.

Will my current insurance cover the addition of extended outdoor dining?

All extended trading areas will need to be covered by public liability insurance. In line with existing outdoor trading permits businesses are required to have public liability insurance and this will need to be extended to cover the additional space for individual businesses extended trading areas. Council’s public liability insurance will cover shared or communal spaces. Council is currently exploring options for how this will be covered and will inform all participating businesses as soon as possible (and prior to confirming that an extended dining area will be set up).

Will dogs be required to be on a lead in outdoor dining and trading areas?

The owner or person in charge of a dog in a public place (public spaces/shared plaza sites) must at all times keep the dog under control by a leash, chain or cord connecting that person to the dog unless the public place is designated by Council signage to be an area where dogs are permitted off-leash or are altogether prohibited.

Apart from assistance dogs, it’s up to the business to decide if they want to permit dogs in their outdoor dining area. However, as stated above, they must be on a lead and be kept near their owner.

Is trading on the footpath allowed?

All businesses with a dedicated outdoor trading area must hold a valid footpath trading permit, which can be applied for through Council’s website at www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au/Council/Regulations/Footpath-Trading. When trading on the footpath, an unobstructed pedestrian footpath zone (minimum 1.8m wide) must be maintained at all times with no furniture, signage or displays of goods allowed in the pedestrian zone at any time. Tables, chairs and other street furniture must be placed within the trading zone.

Is the extended dining area a shared facility?

There will be some locations that will have a shared facility and others will be dedicated spaces for individual businesses. This will depend on size, location and number of surrounding businesses. Please ensure you let us know if you prefer a shared or individual outdoor trading area when you complete a submission.

What if I don’t want a parklet?

If you do not wish to have extended trading outside your business, we encourage you to consider whether one of your neighbouring businesses could utilise your footpath space. If you do not want another business to utilise your footpath space or you do not wish to install a parklet for your business, you can submit your feedback through our online form. Individual businesses that are not in an area where a shared/public plaza is installed do not have to participate in extended dining. Council is taking all feedback into consideration.

Who is responsible for maintenence and cleaning of the outdoor trading areas?

Businesses with designated trading areas will be responsible for the cleaning of the area. Tables and chairs provided by the business remain the businesses’ responsibility and must be packed away when closed. Please ensure a regular cleaning schedule is followed as would be outlined in individual COVIDSafe plans.  In shared trading areas and public spaces, Council will be responsible for the maintenance of footpaths, decking, parklets and shared furniture.  If a business has planter boxes near their designated trading area we ask for assistance to help keep the plants alive over the sunny summer period with a quick watering each day, Council will do a weekly watering.