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Using outdoor space: information for Level 2 from Auckland Council

News story
Thursday 27 Aug 2020
Letter from Auckland Council to BID (Business Associations)

Auckland Council recognises the challenges facing Auckland’s retail and hospitality sector due to the resurgence of COVID-19 and we want to support them while our region remains in a restricted environment.

This email sets out some advice for retail and hospitality premises during Alert Level 2. We would appreciate your sharing this with your members.

Allowing more space for physical distancing

One practical way businesses can adapt at Alert Level 2 is by using the space immediately outside their shopfront. This may help with physical distancing, a click and collect set-up, or as an added way to promote products.

While Auckland’s bylaws already allow businesses to use the 600mm of space directly in front of their shop for displays, Auckland Council will be taking a relaxed approach to this measurement while we remain in Alert Level 2. However, we ask that businesses take a sensible approach so that areas around their premises remain safe for both customers and the general public.

Outdoor dining space

Physical distancing can be a real challenge for dine-in hospitality businesses, particularly those in small premises. To help businesses make use of outdoor space, if they aren’t already doing so, we will fast-track new food-only outdoor dining licence applications during Alert Level 2 and issue them within 24 hours of receipt. Applications can be made online here. Auckland Council is unable to fast-track new on-premise alcohol licenses or extend existing on-premise licenses however because of the input required from Police, Ministry of Health and District Licencing Boards. 

We will also take a relaxed approach to bars, cafes and restaurants using more space than normal to allow for increased distancing between tables during Alert Level 2.

We do ask that businesses are considerate of others and allow clear space for pedestrians. Businesses should also ensure there are no obstructions that would prevent an emergency response. Where complaints are received from members of the public or property owners about unsafe practices, we will respond accordingly.

Licensed premises

It’s important to highlight that the Police and District Licensing Boards, through council’s alcohol inspectors, will continue to enforce the conditions of alcohol licenses at Alert Level 2, so we encourage businesses to check the details of their licence before extending the footprint of their outdoor dining space.

Extending outdoor dining licences

In recognition of the trading restrictions at Alert Level 3 and Alert Level 2, we will extend the expiry date for existing and new food-only licences for the period of time Auckland is at these alert levels. When Auckland returns to Alert Level 1, we encourage licence holders to get in touch with our Street Trading team so we can process this extension for them.

Keeping spaces safe for pedestrians

Our number one priority is ensuring that our trading environments and streets continue to be safe for everyone.

So that we can trial offering flexibility while in this restricted environment, we ask that businesses:

  • Review the ‘Doing business at Alert Level 2’ guidelines
  • Ensure spaces around their premises are kept clear of any hazards that may cause trips or other harm to their customers or members of the public
  • Make regular checks to ensure that all pedestrians, including those using mobility devices or prams can easily move through the area and are not impeded by furniture or shop displays
  • Be aware of any obstructions or groupings that may prevent an emergency response.

If members have any questions, they can contact our Street Trading team, via the Auckland Council contact centre on 09 301 0101.

See also this OurAuckland story from Auckland Council on making the most of space during Level 2 - with comments from Regulatory Committee Chair Linda Cooper.