At its June meeting, Hepburn Shire Council adopted a new Outdoor Dining and Trading Policy which comes into effect from July 1.

The policy guides what furniture can be placed along Council owned and managed footpaths, roads and land and the use of elements such as tables, chairs, barrier screens, umbrellas, A-frame signage, display stands and planter boxes.

“Throughout the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Council allowed cafes and restaurants to offer more options for outdoor dining. With these arrangements expiring, we wanted to continue to support our businesses and communities by developing a framework for businesses to operate outdoors,” said Mayor of Hepburn Shire, Cr Brian Hood.

“The policy aims to ensure these activities are done safely in our shared public spaces, while balancing the needs and expectations of local businesses, the community and visitors,” said Cr Hood.

Approval of applications for outdoor dining and trading will continue to be subject to an assessment of a range of considerations including accessibility, safety, pedestrian and traffic movements, parking utilisation, impact on other traders, aesthetics, maintenance implications, and cleanliness and littering.

An important change is that the use of parking bays for dining (parklets) will not be allowed under the new policy.

The policy and guidelines were informed by feedback received through a community survey completed by more than 270 traders, residents and tourists.

Businesses that currently have a permit relating to outdoor trading or dining will have four weeks from 1 July to reapply to Council for a permit. The permit application and policy are available on Council’s website at

Council will review the impact of the new policy and guidelines next year.