Roadside dining - COVID-19

1. What we're doing to help

Update 8 December 2020: Applications for roadside dining permits are on hold as we review the Victorian Government's recent announcement about reduced restrictions on the hospitality industry. Any applications already placed will be reviewed before a final installation for 2020. Email if you have any questions. 

Update 2 March 2021: This program has been extended until 30 June 2021, beyond the initial end date of 31 March 2021. Businesses with a roadside dining permit will be contacted directly with details on how to extend this.

The City of Stonnington is opening up additional outdoor dining spaces for hospitality businesses in Stonnington in line with the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 roadmap to reopening.

Encouraging hospitality businesses to apply for a COVID-19 Roadside Dining Permit is one of the ways we're doing this.

This is a free trial program for businesses with permits granted until 31 March 2021. Council will review the trial program with businesses and the community in January and February 2021, as updated health advice from the Victorian Government is available.

Where it is safe and practicable to do so, any business that meets the defined criteria and has the consent of neighbouring businesses can apply to use the on-street car parking spaces in front of their business for roadside dining.

All applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and may need to be referred to VicRoads for further clarification.

If approved, Council will provide safety barriers to businesses to keep their area safe during the trial and venues are responsible for furniture inside the area and the installation of any plants along the safety barriers. Funding is available from the Victorian Government for businesses to adapt to outdoor dining.

A roadside dining permit does not extend any liquor licence (red line). Visit the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation website for further information on temporary licenses for external areas.

Where roadside dining is not possible, businesses can apply for an Express COVID-19 Outdoor Dining Area Permit to extend footpath trading opportunities.  

2. Safety, consultation and operation

Safety criteria

To ensure the safety of diners, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, the essential safety criteria (outlined below) will determine site suitability.

  1. The speed limit must be less than or equal to 40 km/h on the street
  2. On street dining cannot replace blue restrictions (such as accessible parking spaces), red zones (such as No Stopping areas, Loading Zones, Truck Zones, Mail Zones) or green parking restrictions less than 1 hour (see below for more information about this).
  3. On street dining is not permitted in bus zones, abutting tram stops or clearways.
  4. On street dining must be at least one parking spot directly abutting the food premises and cannot be on the opposite side of the street.
  5. On street dining will not be considered where a 3 metre width for through traffic cannot be maintained.
  6. On street dining is not permitted within 1 metre of a fire hydrant or 3 metres from a post box.

Parking restrictions

Council’s preference is to maintain existing parking restrictions (such as Taxi Zones 15 minute, 1 hour or 2 hour spaces) where possible.

However, if your hospitality business is unable to implement roadside dining and you have the support of neighbouring businesses to change signed restrictions in the immediate area, include this in your application for review.

Infrastructure provided

Council will provide safety barriers to businesses to keep their dining area safe during the trial. Venues are responsible for furniture inside the area and the installation of any plants along the safety barriers. See examples below of the basic installation and what businesses are able to achieve within the space.

Businesses can submit their own proposal to install infrastructure for roadside dining. All applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. See Essential Safety Elements required for all applications below. Funding is available from the Victorian Government for businesses to adapt to outdoor dining.

Basic installation

Roadside dining - basic installation

Treated installation

Treated - roadside dining

With thanks to the Windsor Alehouse.

Operation and management of roadside dining

Council will provide and maintain the safety barriers, whilst venues are responsible for furniture and fittings inside the roadside dining area, including installing and maintaining plants in planter boxes.

Roadside dining areas and infrastructure must be cleaned, sanitised and managed in accordance with the Victorian Government Hospitality Industry Guidelines for COVID-19.

Essential safety elements

All Roadside Dining applications must fulfil the following Essential Safety Elements to be considered for a permit.

  • A continuous physical barrier must be provided to live traffic lanes of 40km/h, with appropriate safety rating for use (will be provided by Council).
  • All structural elements and barriers (not including dining furniture) must be fixed and heavy duty to ensure safety of diners, including consideration of how they behave in high wind conditions.
  • Appropriate barriers must be installed at the edge of the parking space between the adjacent parking bays, and be set back at least 1m from the end of active parking bays, for access movements (will be provided by Council).
  • Reflective tape or bollards with reflective strips must be placed along the edge of the roadside dining installation (will be provided by Council).
  • All roadside dining must be closed adjacent to live traffic lanes to ensure safety of patrons. Entry and exit shall be by the footpath.
  • All items must be contained within the proposed area of the roadside dining. No items are to extend beyond the barrier line.
  • Roadside dining should be at least 10m from an unsignalised intersection, and 20m from a signalised intersection.

If you design your own roadside dining structure, ensure you incorporate these safety elements in your proposal. 

Preferred safety elements

The safety elements will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Depending on street and traffic conditions and the proposed roadside dining installation, all applications must consider the inclusion of additional safety measures as outlined below.

  • Spike down kerbing may be required with keep right signs along the edge abutting the traffic lane, or a concrete block positioned on the approach corner of roadside dining, on an eligible street.
  • Roadside dining installations should have vertical elements that make them visible to traffic, such as flexible posts or bollards.
  • Furniture must be suitable quality for public use and not prone to breakage or other adverse impacts under reasonably expected conditions.
  • Depending on the speed limit of the street, additional specific safety elements may be specified for installation in order to ensure that the space remains safe from the surrounding traffic.
  • The use of line-marking to direct traffic away from roadside dining may be required at some locations where the width of the adjacent carriageway permits.
  • An appropriate setback from active bicycle lanes will be required.
  • Safety, visibility and accessibility should be assessed for day and night conditions.

Council will work with applicants to address the above if needed necessary.

Consultation with neighbouring businesses

Businesses must obtain the consent of neighbouring businesses prior to making an application. Use the template business consultation letter(DOCX, 22KB) as a guide. 


Roadside dining may need to be removed temporarily or permanently for streetscape improvements or other works required by the City of Stonnington or its contractors. Council will provide the permit holder as much notice as possible.

Days of operation

Only hospitality businesses open for at least five days a week are able to apply for roadside dining, this is to help balance the removal of car parking spaces from the local street network. 

Furniture and lighting

Outdoor furniture must be of a suitable quality for public use – and not prone to breakage, wind lift or other adverse impact under reasonably expected weather conditions.

Furniture such as tables and chairs must be durable and comfortable, and be in keeping with the precinct’s character.

In most circumstances, street lighting will be sufficient. If lighting is deemed to be required, contact the council for further information. 

3. Making an application and assessment process

Update 8 December 2020: Applications for roadside dining permits are on hold as we review the Victorian Government's recent announcement about reduced restrictions on the hospitality industry. Any applications already placed will be reviewed before a final installation for 2020. Email if you have any questions. 

Current installation status

We are turning applications around as quickly as possible, if all information is provided correctly then the review process and permit process may be completed within a week.

Currently, we are scheduling one installation day for roadside dining each week and will keep you updated with the status of your application. 

4. Sharing or building on your roadside dining space

Sharing your roadside dining space

Roadside dining permits are issued to a single business and shared use of the space not allowed in your original permit. If businesses wish to share a roadside dining space, such as a neighbouring business when the original applicant is closed, we can facilitate a secondary permit.

To apply for a secondary permit email with:

  • The address of the roadside dining structure you’d like to share
  • A letter or email from the business that holds the original roadside dining permit outlining their support to share the space and the proposed days and hours of shared operation
  • A copy of your public liability insurance certificate, to have a permit you will need $20m of coverage but you can wait until pre-approval until extending your insurance.

Once we have this information we can start the process to issue a secondary permit that can to extend your liquor licence with the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.  

The primary permit holder maintains responsibility for the roadside dining infrastructure and maintenance.

Building a deck or other covering within your roadside dining space

Any floor construction must be made from materials durable enough to be outdoors and in the public domain. All roadside designs must be reviewed and approved before construction and installation. We will provide approval on your design as quickly as possible, generally within a few business days. Email to get started.

The following design considerations must be adhered to:

  • If constructing a platform, it must a non-slip finish, flush with the kerb and relatively level, allowing for drainage and designed to prevent litter build-up underneath.
  • No fixtures are allowed to be permanently fixed to the road surface, kerb or channel, including but not limited to drilling or nailing.

If not constructing a platform, the operator may be required to undertake additional measures to ensure the space has safe, dignified and equitable access to best meet DDA requirements.

This could include:

  • Installing temporary non-slip kerb ramps between the kerb and the roadside dining space
  • Providing a durable floor covering (such as woven matting or synthetic turf) that can be laid over the top of any bluestone pitchers or uneven surface. Any floor covering should cover the full extent of the roadside dining space and be appropriately secured around all edges in a manner that allows for removal without damaging the existing road surface, kerb or channel. Edges must be continually checked by the operator to ensure no trip hazards are present at any times.

If you are interested in constructing a standalone structure instead of our safety barriers, email for guidance.