Auckland Council is working with the city’s cafe and restaurant owners to help them make better use of their outdoor space – fast-tracking the application process for outdoor dining licences.
Auckland Council Regulatory Committee Chair Linda Cooper says many businesses may not be aware of ways they can already trade safely outside their shopfronts and worry that council rules may prevent them from setting up a table or displaying products outdoors.
“The feedback from many local businesses has been that they are uncertain about how to make more use of the pavement safely and within the existing rules,” she says.
“Our message is that you should feel free to use some space at the front of your shop but just use common sense in how you do that. Try to stay within 600mm of the shopfront and allow enough space on the pavement for people to pass safely by.”
Auckland Council’s Street Trading team has also developed a ‘fast-track’ process for some types of outdoor dining licences and aim to have an application completed within 24 hours of receipt.
“We want to make it easier for restaurants and cafes to use more space to serve food to dine-in customers by adding outdoor dining,” Cr Cooper says.
“By fast-tracking these licences, we can help businesses to make use of the space more quickly and help them attract more customers.”
If business owners have already paid for an outdoor dining licence, council’s Street Trading Team will look at options to extend their expiry dates.
“We recognise that businesses haven’t had the full benefit of these because of the trading restrictions, so we’re encouraging businesses to get in touch with us when we get back to Alert Level 1, and we’ll look at options to extend their licence expiry date for the lockdown period.”
Cr Cooper says offering flexibility and a more relaxed approach during Alert Level 2 confirms the council’s commitment to helping Auckland’s retail and hospitality sector.
“In return we ask that businesses take a sensible approach to outdoor spaces and that all pedestrians, including those with prams or mobility devices can move through safely.”
She says the council is unable to fast-track new on-premise alcohol licences or extend existing on-premise licences.
“Businesses with licensed outdoor dining areas should also check their licence before they extend the footprint of their outdoor dining space to avoid unwittingly breaching their alcohol licence.
“Where complaints are received from members of the public or property owners about unsafe practices, we will respond accordingly.”
Applications can be made online here.
Customers can continue to access many Auckland Council services relating to the hospitality sector online at aucklandcouncil.govt.nz or by phone on 09 301 0101.