After months of staying the course, locking down and staying home, the Australian Government has started to shift its focus and move towards a new Covid normal. What this means is while the COVID19 global pandemic isn’t going away, we need to start to learn to live with the virus, and that means opening up our businesses, returning to our workplaces and beginning to enjoy socialising again as we edge closer to the 80% vaccination rate.
Just this last week the NSW Government announced freedom day, the date of re-opening the state as October 18th 2021, putting an end to strict lockdowns and welcoming back activities like dining out for a meal, shopping in-store and attending public events, while home visits and indoor dining are likely to be off the table as they are a higher risk of exposure.
A NSW taskforce has been set up to bring government agencies together to make outdoor dining and drinking easier. Existing legislation will be streamlined, making it easier for businesses to set up or upgrade existing outdoor dining spaces.
“The pandemic has made indoor spaces less amenable to socialising so it’s time we reduce barriers to spending more social time outside” - Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello.
So, what does this mean for business owners that want to welcome back customers? It means providing a safe, inviting and comfortable outdoor space for patrons. While it may feel we are a little while off any kind of normality right now, it takes time to implement upgrades to our outdoor dining spaces, and now is the time to start getting ready.
We have been in this state of living for long enough now to know that not much notice is given by the Government as to when, and what changes are coming, as the situation is often taken with a day by day or week by week approach. The last thing we want is to find ourselves caught out and unable to open to a functional capacity as you do not have the appropriate outdoor dining provisions in place yet.
The aim is to limit the spread, to sit comfortably together with the people we know, but allow a safe distance between strangers, and implementing picnic tables provides just that. They are designed to be used by multiple people when required, so you can sit larger parties all together, while also having the ability to sit separate parties at either end while still providing a safe distance between them due to the length of the tables.
Another great way to increase your capacity to open up when the time comes, is with a parklet. These made a huge impact in our ability to open, stay open during times of heightened restrictions, and even re-open quicker after lockdowns in the latter half of 2020 and earlier this year. As mentioned earlier in the piece, these things take time. From deciding on the space you would like to build your outdoor dining area, submitting requests and awaiting approval with council when required, to the design and sign off phase and then of course the parklet being built and installed.
We know that investing in the upgrade of your outdoor dining space after spending so long in lockdown is an intimidating concept, but it is an investment that can provide additional revenue, especially considering the emphasis on higher capacity limits for outdoor dining. Before long, the ability to trade outdoors will pay for itself and then allow you to earn more as customer capacity increases.
One thing is for sure, everyone is keen to get back to a normal way of living, in a big way! Flexible solutions that will suit your business opening back up is where we can help.
We can organise the components of your outdoor dining space, be that with picnic tables, a parklet, or some fixed furniture and planter boxes. What you can do is be ready for that open date to ensure you are trading to your maximum capacity!