Victoria records two COVID-19 cases, Melbourne lockdown 5km rule may be lifted, UK to re-enter lockdown, Australia death toll at 904

“We’ve seen some stunning applications from groups of venues that have come together with some big ideas and we’ve seen the most simple in terms of can I put some extra chairs and tables out the front. It’s just been fantastic to see how tough and robust our hospitality sector is and they remain optimistic for the future.”

Some restaurants have applied to take over on-street parking spaces along Spring Street, while others in Chinatown and Flinders Lane have proposed filling the entire laneways with tables and chairs to offer their signature dishes.

Cr Capp said many businesses have also expressed interest in operating in multi-storey car parks.

“It’s dining in cars where you can watch movies,” she said.

“We’ve had what we call ‘eat hubs’, where restaurants are coming together and saying, ‘can we put tables and chairs on concourses or in public spaces?’ And the answer is ‘yes’.

“Whilst we obviously have to make sure there’s still access and safety and amenity for residents and emergency services, everywhere that it’s possible to go, we’re making sure that we say yes.”

Cr Capp said she has no inside knowledge about which lockdown restrictions might be eased on Sunday, but said the council was planning to host a “Christmas extravaganza” in the CBD this year – with social distancing, of course.

“What we are saying is that as soon as the Premier says ‘go’, we’ve done everything we can to ensure that businesses can open safely,” she said.

The Age is hosting a live event with this year’s mayoral candidates. Four of the candidates, Lord Mayor Sally Capp, Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood, Labor candidate Phil Reed and Jennifer Yang from Back to Business, will discuss their ideas for the future of the city in a live virtual event moderated by The Age’s City Editor, Bianca Hall.

If you haven’t already, register now for this exclusive subscriber event and the opportunity to put your questions to the candidates.

The live discussion will be streamed below on Monday, October 19 at 12pm.

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