As COVID-19 restrictions are eased and cafés open up again, plenty of Yarra residents and ratepayers will be keen to get out and enjoy the opportunity. However, the number of people permitted inside each café will be restricted.
How can we support the owners and operators of our local cafés, and enable them to serve as many people as possible, in a safe manner?
Space vs risk
There is less risk of catching the virus if you’re sitting outside in the footpath dining area, compared with sitting inside. We expect outside dining areas to be very popular.
Expand into the parking bay
We can increase the area for outside (or footpath) dining by allowing each café to expand into the on-street parking bay that is directly outside their property. This can be done at very low cost by using plastic traffic bollards to fence off the area. The café can then place tables and chairs in the parking bay.
Council can help with compliance issues by publishing a generic traffic management plan and bollard layout design that each café can apply. Design once and use many times – this reduces total cost.
Pop-up parklets for cafés
Even better, council can allow each café in Yarra to build a temporary (or pop-up) parklet in the parking bay outside their property. These can be built from timber and offer jobs to local builders.
Image credit: NACTO
Council can allow cafés to use the on-street parking bay for a trial period, e.g. 2-6 months. We can then re-examine how businesses are faring, and the level of community support for the trial to continue.
Published on 15th May 2020