COVID Response: Outdoor Trading

As COVID-19 restrictions ease and Whitehorse begins to reopen, we want to make it as easy as possible for businesses to welcome the community safely back to the cafes and restaurants we know and love.

We’ve created free, fast-tracked COVID Response: Outdoor Trading Permits that provide hospitality venues with more options to trade safely. 

Our temporary extended outdoor trading permits allow hospitality venues to:

  • expand onto footpaths
  • take over on-street car parking space immediately outside their business
  • join with neighbouring hospitality businesses to take over sections of on-street car parking, footpaths and (in some cases) street space

Extending outdoor trading will help hospitality businesses cater to more customers and operate viably within the health restrictions advised by the Victorian Government.

Apply for a COVID Response: Outdoor Trading Permit

COVID Response: Outdoor Trading Permits will be fast-tracked to ensure businesses can start trading as soon as possible. 

As well as new permits for hospitality businesses that don’t yet have an outdoor presence, businesses that already have an outdoor dining permit can apply to extend their dining space. Neighbouring businesses can also work together to find an approach that best fits their location.

Applications are now open. You can apply here on the City of Whitehorse website. Businesses can also contact the Community Laws team at or call 9262 6394 for information and support. 

Eligibility will be assessed according to the criteria in The COVID Response: Outdoor Trading Guidelines. You will need consider: 

  • safety: outdoor trading areas should have furniture, infrastructure and safety features, as well as allow clear lines of sight through the public place and streets.
  • site specific conditions: outdoor trading should be integrated in a way that does not compromise existing street uses or public infrastructure (such as bins, hydrants, parking meters or bicycle hoops).
  • COVID restrictions: outdoor trading areas must follow the Victorian Government rules about social distancing, COVID hygiene practices and the maximum number of patrons that can be seated at a time. You will need a COVIDSafe Plan
  • access: outdoor trading should not obstruct required access for essential vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and allow for disabled access. 
  • traffic: outdoor trading should consider surrounding traffic conditions including speed limits, separation from traffic, intersections, visibility of signs and that drivers and cyclist have a clear sight at all times. 

Permits will valid up until 1 September 2021. Permit conditions are temporary and may be subject to early variation due to safety, changes to COVID restrictions and conditional on continued consent from other affected businesses.

Checklist to support your application

Different outdoor trading options require different documents to demonstrate your permit eligibility. As a guide you will need to provide copies of the following documents:

  • a COVIDSafe Plan
  • a copy of your Public Liability Insurance Certificate of currency (mandatory) for $10 million from your insurance company 
  • details about the furniture, screens, heaters, planters and any other items proposed for the outdoor trading area
  • site plan (existing conditions and proposed outdoor trading area showing the proposed furniture, infrastructure or any other items at a scale of 1:100)
  • images and proposed size of any logos or advertising in outdoor trading area
  • written consent from neighbouring business that are affected by your proposal
  • your food registration number
  • any photos or images of site or supporting documents for your application

Please have this information ready when applying so we can process your application as quickly as possible.

Note: If plan to serve alcohol in new or expanded outdoor areas you will need to apply for a liquor licence separately through the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).  

More information 

Our Community Laws team can give you advice about how to apply for a COVID Response: Outdoor Trading Permit and help you apply with all the right information. Please email or call 9262 6394 we can discuss your plan.

We’ll ask you:

  • Is the business a hospitality venue within the City of Whitehorse?
  • How will your venue be able to accommodate patron safety and physical distancing?
  • Will extending your trading parameters still allow adequate access for pedestrians, residents and essential vehicles?
  • What will the impact of your expanded trading be on local residents?
  • Does the business have a COVIDSafe Plan?

COVID Response: Outdoor Trading – Q&As

Who Needs a COVID Response: Outdoor Trading Permit and Who Is Not Eligible

Permit Options and What You Need to Do

The Assessment Processes

Liquor Licencing And Insurance

Support Available for Local Businesses