1 Dec 2021

Hospitality businesses in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula will find it easier to get outdoor dining licences this summer.

Christchurch City Council is introducing a fast-tracked process for granting the licences that allow hospitality businesses to set up tables and chairs on the footpaths and public spaces outside their premises.

“Hospitality businesses have been doing it tough over recent months because of the ongoing COVID-19 alert level restrictions. The restrictions have added a layer of complexity to the way they operate their businesses and that has affected their bottom line.

“As we head into summer and the new traffic light system for managing COVID-19, we want to show our support for the hospitality sector,’’ says Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

“One practical way we can do that is by making it quick and simple for businesses to obtain licences that allow them to leverage the benefits of outdoor dining over the summer. We have introduced a new online form for outdoor dining licences and a stream-lined process for responding to the licence applications as quickly as possible.’’

It is anticipated that Council staff will be able to process basic applications – those involving just the placement of tables and chairs – within five working days. More complex applications – those that also involve the placement of screens, barriers or planters – will take slightly longer.

“We want the city’s hospitality businesses to have a prosperous summer. By making the licencing process for outdoor dining easier, we hope that more businesses will take the opportunity to supplement the number of tables they have available for food service,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.

“Outdoor dining will add to the vibrancy and buzz of our city over the summer. It also aligns with the COVID-19 public health guidance that encourages socialising outdoors, where there is air circulating and there is less chance of the virus spreading.’’

Council Acting Head of Transport Lynette Ellis says staff have developed some helpful guidelines about what is acceptable for use in temporary and standard outdoor dining spaces. This is to make sure it’s safe and visually appealing for everyone using our footpaths, streets and public spaces.

“We’ll still be charging fees for all licence holders as the Council-owned and controlled footpath has value and needs to be accessible for everyone. This is also to make sure we’re not disadvantaging businesses who rent privately-owned outdoor space,’’ Ms Ellis says.