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New planter boxes make taking a seat a treat
November 30, 2020
Simon and Tania Johnson at Tinamba Hotel with a planter box.

The Covid lockdown has left us all hungry for a pub meal that hits the spot – now Wellington Shire Council is helping to make sure we can all get a seat at our favourite pub by rolling out strategically placed planter boxes that expand alfresco drinking and dining areas.

Recycled plastic has been transformed into 32 attractive, durable planter boxes with a woodgrain finish that have been distributed to hotels across the municipality, from Dargo to Yarram.

And that’s just the start. Public tables and seating will be set up in a number of areas, including Sale Mall and Port Albert, and additional measures, including festive festoon lighting, are being considered.

“Council is working closely with businesses to help them bounce back from the challenges of Covid,” Mayor Garry Stephens said.

“This initiative will help make outdoor dining more appealing to locals and visitors - and Council’s Middle of Everywhere campaign will also raise our profile as a place to visit, stay, work, invest and live,” Cr Stephens added.

Recent coronavirus rule changes mean small cafés, bars and restaurants can now seat up to 50 customers, and big venues can seat up to 150, however, a density limit of one person per 4 square metres remains at larger venues.

The planter boxes come after Council received $250,000 from the Victorian Government’s Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package to help Wellington businesses find innovative ways to make outdoor dining a reality this summer. The funding will also help pay for a live radio promotional campaign in support of local venues in early 2021.

“We’re helping businesses recover by bringing people into our region and highlighting, as locals, why we should be extremely proud of where we live - The Middle of Everywhere,” said Cr Stephens.

Local businesses are also reminded that they have the opportunity to apply for a $5000 grant through the State Government for other outdoor dining infrastructure. Applications remain open until funds are exhausted or until 11.59pm on 11 December 2020.

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