The plan to get you dining outdoors in the summer sun
A new taskforce will meet on Wednesday with the sole mission of getting the people of NSW wining and dining outside this summer.
And it will be bolstered on Friday by a Summer Summit of business and political leaders, including restaurateurs Luke Mangan and Neil Perry, Merivale boss Justin Hemmes and Lord Mayor Clover Moore at the Museum of Contemporary Art, who will examine ways to revive the centre of Sydney in the lead up to Christmas.
The Taskforce's mission has been nicknamed "The Alfresco Job" and the Minister charged with delivering it has vowed to "sweep aside all red tape" to make it happen.
"The Taskforce has pulled together all the relevant agencies to blast through the red tape and make it easier for businesses to open up outside areas this summer," Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said.
It is being co-chaired by planning Minister Rob Stokes and includes representatives from Liquor and Gaming NSW, small business, the departments of transport, environment and local government and the NSW Police.
"Eating and drinking outside is far safer in this COVID environment," Mr Dominello said. "But this is a change I want to see remain in place in NSW long after the coronavirus pandemic has passed."
The Taskforce will also be identifying open spaces that can be opened up in suburbs and towns, including Parramatta, Penrith, Cronulla, Newcastle, Wollongong, Orange and Byron Bay.
Byron Bay chef Chiara Sieburger said more outdoor dining would be welcomed in the region as it's better for morale and safety during COVID-19.
"It is so nice to be able to celebrate life and everything we've been through this year," she said in a break from work.
"We do that through being outside, everyone feels safer."
MELBOURNE BREAKS UNWANTED RECORD
Melbourne's lockdown will on Thursday surpass the length of Wuhan's, as residents in the city's north and west suburbs clock up 11 weeks in isolation.
The Chinese city - the epicentre of the coronavirus - was locked down for 77 days between January and April. But residents in 36 Melbourne suburbs, plunged into harsh restrictions ahead of the rest of the city, will on Thursday notch up their 78th day in lockdown.
Australian geophysicist Simon Carter, who has lived in Wuhan with his wife and daughter for four years, said Melbourne was reminiscent of China when the virus was running rampant in March.
"Melbourne is the only place in the world with measures that looked like Wuhan," he said.
But Mr Carter said he was now back at work at a university in Wuhan - and that the city had reopened completely.
"Businesses are opening again and there are even new businesses that have sprung up", Mr Carter said.
"It is like we are completely back to normal."
Melbourne woman Tracy Wang, 30, has had to endure both cities' lockdowns. She was visiting her family in Wuhan for Chinese New Year when she found herself trapped in the epicentre of the first COVID-19 wave, saying the city's restrictions had been "very tough, very strict".
"It's not like here where people go to protests during coronavirus," Ms Wang said.
"Everyone doesn't go to the supermarket to buy toilet paper. Residents fill out an online form for what they need.''
Originally published as The plan to get you dining outdoors in the summer sun