Outdoor dining permit application

Sidewalk cafe table set with plate, glass, napkin

All food and beverage businesses, new and existing, must have a permit to offer outdoor dining on footpaths and other Council property.

What you need to know

Outdoor dining 'Sidewalk Cafe' means tables and chairs and umbrellas placed on an outdoor area or walk way outside or adjacent a registered food establishment where food is supplied or sold.

When setting up the outdoor area or walk way and furniture, you must:

  • Not limit competition between traders
  • Only operate the outdoor area during normal shop trading hours and must be totally removed at the end of each day
  • Keep the area and it surrounds clean and provide a suitable number of litter bins
  • Ensure that there is no obstruction caused to pedestrians
  • Adhere to the number of tables, chairs and umbrellas for the area and factor in social distancing (1.5 metres)
  • Ensure you have a COVID Safe plan

What you need to apply

  • Completed application form
  • Completed Indemnity Form
  • Copy of your current public liability insurance
  • A sketch of the planned layout (with dimensions), photograph or brochure of the outdoor area or walk way
  • Payment of a non-refundable application fee of $76.00

Your public liability insurance must be current and note the interests of Brimbank City Council as a principal insuring for a minimum sum of $10,000,000 (ten million dollars) or more and showing that you have paid the premium.


Application process

  • Submit application with all required documentation and payment
  • Council will inspect the site to assess the application
  • The application will be assessed in accordance with the criteria outlined in the guidelines
  • Once your application has been processed, a further permit fee of $79.00 per table (including four chairs) will be required

Permits are valid for one year and must be renewed on the 30 June each year.

Irrespective of an existing permit, a registered food establishment is responsible for monitoring the Victorian coronavirus website for appropriate updates on restrictions that may apply to their industry sector.


The location of the outdoor area must:

  • A clear footway with a minimum dimension of 2.1 metres (7ft) shall be maintained at all times
  • Council may allow the minimum clear footway width to be reduced where:
    • pedestrian volume allows
    • the sidewalk café proposal uniquely contributes to the amenity of the locality in which it is to be established
  • The sidewalk café shall generally not extend longitudinally along the length of the footpath beyond the frontage of the applicant’s premises.  Notwithstanding this, subject to the approval of the adjacent shopkeepers, a more extensive area of use may be approved by Council
  • Before any permit application for the establishment of a sidewalk café is considered, it will be referred to Council’s City Development Department to ensure the visual amenity or supply of car parking is not compromised
  • No sidewalk café shall be located within:
    • 18 metres of the approach side of a controlled intersection
    • 9 metres of the departure side of a controlled intersection
    • 9 metres of the approach side of an uncontrolled intersection
    • 9 metres of the departure side of an uncontrolled intersection
  • The sidewalk café may only be placed on the kerb side of any footpath (ie cannot be placed adjacent to shop windows during inclement weather)
  • Where a liquor licence has been extended to include council’s footway, food must be available to customers
  • The sidewalk café must be located so as not to impede access and egress to vehicles parked at the kerb
  • The design and colour of the sidewalk café must match the streetscape to the Authorised Officer’s satisfaction

Outdoor heaters

  • Outdoor heaters should, wherever possible, be affixed to a permanent structure so as to be located off the footpath.  A planning permit is required to undertake this activity
  • Fixed or portable outdoor heaters placed on the footpath must be licensed as part of a permit and covered by the trader’s public liability insurance
  • The installation of outdoor heaters must comply with the current requirements as specified by Energy Safe Victoria


  • The holder of the permit shall at all times ensure that the conditions of the permit are adhered to
  • Council reserves the right to suspend the permit for a period of time subject to any risk management or other issues associated with a permitted event taking place in the vicinity of the outdoor area or walk way
  • If a permit holder receives three (3) infringements for contravening any conditions of their permit the permit will automatically be cancelled and the applicant will need to wait a minimum of one (1) year before reapplying
  • Any proven contravention of any condition of the permit could result in an on the spot fine being issued and in situations of continued breaches, the permit will be cancelled
  • The establishment of an outdoor area or walk way without a permit could result in an on the spot fine being issued


Smoking has been banned in all commercial outdoor dining areas in Victoria, including:

  • All outdoor dining areas at restaurants, cafes, take-away shops and licenced premises
  • Smoking will also be banned in an outdoor drinking area if any part of that area is within four metres of an outdoor dining area, unless separated by a wall of at least 2.1 metres high
  • If the separation requirement is not met, smoking will be banned
  • This law applies to the same venue as well as to neighbouring venues

Failure to comply with these new laws will result in penalties for both the venue occupier and the individual.

Tables, chairs, umbrellas and windbreaks

  • All umbrellas used at approved tables in a sidewalk café shall for safety reasons:
    • have a minimum clearance above the footway of two metres from the lowest point of the extended arms (spokes) of the umbrella
    • be secured thoroughly
  • The maximum size of the table shall be 1000mm diameter or 1000mm x 1000mm.
Last updated: 19 September 2023 - 3:09pm