Alfresco dining will become a permanent fixture on Sydney’s George Street after the New South Wales government confirmed they’d be keeping a COVID-era feature in place.
Cafes, bars and restaurants on the busy strip began allowing patrons to dine outdoors in a pedestrianised lane of traffic previously reserved for motorists when COVID-19 lockdowns lifted in October last year.
George Street has since become a busy hub for Sydneysiders enjoying a meal in the sunshine, with businesses reporting a 15 per cent increase in revenue since before the pandemic began.
Foot traffic is up to 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.
Cities Minister Rob Stokes confirmed the move on Wednesday, which originated as part of a $66 million push from the state government into street-based programs to bring the city back to life after devastating lockdowns.
“The pandemic accelerated global trends that were already happening, and we had to change too, transforming our central business districts into central social districts that encourage people to stay longer and spend local,” he said.
“That’s why we threw out the rule book, closing off NSW streets to cars and opening them up to people, creating thousands of jobs for the hospitality industry and bringing joy to millions who attended events or enjoyed a meal or a drink outside.”
Life for Sydneysiders has vastly improved as a result of the changes, according to Customer Services Minister Victor Dominello, who affirmed his…