Outdoor dining and footpath trading

People sitting at an outdoor table

What is outdoor dining and footpath trading?

Businesses using footpaths for commercial activities such as dining, displaying goods, or advertising.

Outdoor dining includes tables, chairs, stand-alone heaters pot plants/planter boxes, umbrellas, barrier screens. 

Advertising signage includes using A-frame signs to advertise your business.

Displaying goods includes products being placed on the footpath for sale or hire such as a collection of books.

What the City of Ballarat is doing to re-open our hospitality industry

As restrictions change to meet the Victorian Government’s coronavirus roadmap to recovery, the City of Ballarat is supporting businesses to expand outdoor dining spaces and make the most of the number of customers dining in your venue. 

We have been working with hospitality businesses to help them to take up outdoor dining for the first time, or to see how they might expand their existing outdoor dining. This has included:

  • Waiving all outdoor dining permit fees until June 2022 and issuing new permits to allow footpath spaces for outdoor dining for the first time. 
  • Putting in place traffic management plans to block parking spaces for outdoor dining asked for by some venues.
  • Providing support to over 60 business who have questions or ideas about how they could expand their outdoor dining offer, including 25 site visits to discuss these in more detail.
  • Waiving Display of Goods permit fees until 30 June 2022. 
    • In an effort to limit pedestrian congestion, please only use Paywave, Square (or similar) facilities outdoors. 
    • Please make sure your QR code is displayed outdoors so tracing is maintained outdoors for your business. 
    • Allow 1.8 metres clearance from your business shop front, giving clear access for pedestrians.
    • Allow access for pedestrians to move between a car park and the footpath. 
    • So your outdoor trade is covered by the City of Ballarat’s public liability, please let us know in writing that you wish to operate outdoors, adjacent to your business, via email to economicdevelopment@ballarat.vic.gov.au

Apply for an Outdoor Dining or Outdoor Trading (Display of Goods) permit

  1. Read the Outdoor Dining and Trading Policy
  2. Submit an Outdoor Dining or Outdoor Trading (Display of Goods) permit application
  3. We will notify you of the application outcome as soon as possible


What else do I need?

A site plan of the outdoor area detailing where you wish to trade.

To produce your site plan, you could use Council’s Intramaps, Google Maps or a hand drawn map.

Please indicate dimensions of overall footpath width and detailing trading, kerb and pedestrian zones (where applicable).

Photographs of the proposed footpath area.

You can upload this information, when completing your outdoor dining form online.


How much will it cost?

There is no cost to businesses 

The City of Ballarat has waived outdoor dining fees until June 2022. Once your outdoor dining permit is approved, it will be valid until July 2023.

There will also be no cost for a planning permit application fee associated with permits for liquor licensing extensions within outdoor dining areas.

Additionally, City of Ballarat will cover the cost of public liability coverage for those not insured for this activity, until further notice.

Apply for Temporary Advertising Signage permit

  1. Read the Outdoor Dining and Trading Policy
  2. Email the following to info@ballarat.vic.gov.au:
  3. We will notify you of the application outcome as soon as possible

Permits are not transferable

You will need to submit a new application if there is a change of licensee.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need a COVIDSafe Plan?

You must have a COVIDSafe Plan and record all patron names and contact numbers.

All additional Victorian Government advice regarding outdoor trading requirements for the hospitality sector must also be strictly followed.

Learn how to create a COVIDSafe workplace.

Which hospitality businesses will be able to start/expand their outdoor dining offer?

We are helping all Ballarat hospitality businesses to trade safely.

Where do we find out what the rules about outdoor dining are?

View the City of Ballarat’s Outdoor Dining and Trading Policy which provides information such as the spaces to be maintained for pedestrian movements and kerbs, and the general principles to be followed.

Be mindful that we are currently taking a relaxed approach to some requirements in the policy, including the processes and fees for applying for outdoor dining. Where this is the case, the information provided here is the most up-to-date.

How quickly can I start/expand outdoor dining for my business?

An Outdoor Dining Permit will be issued as quickly as possible, once all safety matters and other requirements have been assessed. You can start trading when you receive your Local Laws Permit and as soon as roadmap restrictions allow. We are committed to making this happen as quickly as possible but given most businesses will require a permit, the first week or two will be busy!

If you require a change to your liquor licence (red line area), a Planning Permit may be required.
Please contact our Customer Experience team by emailing info@ballarat.vic.gov.au or calling 5320 5500. We have a dedicated Planning Officer to help you work through this as quickly as possible.

Will I need a planning permit?

If your existing business is in the city centre and you do not require a liquor licence, you will not need a planning permit. However, you will need a Local Laws permit before you can start trading outdoors.

If your business is outside of the city centre you may need a planning permit. This may be due to specific controls or the planning zone that applies to the property. If you do require a planning permit, we have a dedicated planning officer to help make this process as simple as possible.

Note: If you undertake any building/works to facilitate outdoor dining, you may require a Planning Permit and/or Building Permit.

Will I need to extend my liquor licence if I start/extend outdoor?

If you already have a liquor licence for your outdoor area and you are not proposing an extension, then you won’t need to amend your liquor licence and can operate as normal. If you extend your outdoor dining area and would like to serve alcohol in this area, you may need to amend your planning permit and liquor licence.

Our dedicated planning officer will be available to make this process as simple as possible. These applications may also need to be referred to Victoria Police and a separate application may also need to be made to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation. We are working closely with the Victorian Government to advocate for liquor licences to be amended as quickly as possible.

Who will pay for the outdoor furniture if needed?

This cost will be the responsibility of the business owner. As it is unlikely businesses will be able to cater for many customers indoors, some of this furniture may be able to be taken outside. Businesses may also choose to hire furniture. Businesses can apply for funding to support these initiatives through the Victorian Government Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package.

Can I set up dining on footpath in front of my neighbour’s business?

Yes, you can extend your dining area to include the footpath in front of neighbouring/adjacent properties if they are in agreement with this. We expect neighbouring businesses will work with each other in good faith at this time.
We suggest you confirm this with mutual written consent.

Do I need to put Perspex screens between tables?

There has been no direction as yet from the Victorian Government as to what it expects of the hospitality businesses, aside from following the known physical distancing and hygiene measures. As this information becomes available all businesses will be required to follow the advice in order to trade.

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