Media releases

Post-pandemic vision for a 24-hour city

Published 24 September 2020

The City of Sydney is working with the NSW Government on a vision to create a 24-hour alfresco city that will support Sydney's recovery from the economic impact of the pandemic.

The City's community recovery plan focusses on the need to reactivate the city centre and local precincts with outdoor dining and bars, late night trading, live music, and cultural institutions staying open in the evening.

Together the City and the government will work to cut red tape and create a streamlined process that will make it easier than ever before for businesses to take up outdoor dining in reclaimed spaces and laneways. Under the new plans, associated outdoor dining fees will also be waived until March 2021.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City has been working towards the creation of a 24-hour alfresco city for more than 10 years.

"Over the last decade we have proposed the light rail and helped create a pleasant, people-friendly George Street, we have paved laneways and campaigned for small bars," the Lord Mayor said.

"Now by removing fees and red tape and working with businesses to find as many outdoor dining opportunities as possible, we're supporting Covid-recovery while realising our vision of an alfresco city.

"We need to allow and encourage businesses to operate outdoors, and we need to support our creative and cultural life to activate and draw people back to our city, safely. We want to ensure our city businesses survive, and create new opportunities to thrive in the long term.

"Having brunch with friends, a wine after work or grabbing a quick bite and watching the world go by are some of the best moments of urban life. Encouraging outdoor dining makes it easier for us to enjoy those things and support local businesses while maintaining a safe physical distance.

"The City is working with businesses along Sydney high streets, in laneways and in the CBD to identify parking spots, traffic lanes and footpaths for outdoor dining including Pitt, Barrack and Crown streets and Tankstream and Wilmot lanes."

The 12-month outdoor dining pilot is set to begin in November and support measures for the small business, community and cultural sector will be extended to 30 March 2021. Measures include:

  • waiving fees for Health and Building compliance activities
  • reviewing rents in conjunction with tenants in City premises for those tenants that require support on a case-by-case basis
  • waiving standard contractual terms and return venue booking and banner fees to people and organisations who have booked City of Sydney venues and banners and may then be unable to proceed with their bookings
  • waiving footway dining, market permit and filming fees on the grounds of hardship
  • providing additional rental support for our Accommodation Grant Program tenants and childcare services by waiving all rent
  • allowing recipients to vary their deliverables under existing grants to enable recipients to retain those funds to support the continuing viability of the City's cultural and creative community.

The City's community recovery plan was developed in consultation with the community and made a commitment to putting the cultural sector at the heart of economic recovery by enabling creatives to reactivate the CBD and precincts.

The City unveiled its community recovery plan in June with a key action to promote a city that is safe, clean and open for business, and encourages Sydneysiders to visit the CBD and shop local.

The plan builds on the $72.5 million support package released by the City in April for small businesses, artists and others in the creative and community sectors left devastated by the loss of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For media enquiries or images, contact Elaine Kelly. Phone 0477 362 550 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore contact Paul Mackay. Phone 0436 816 604 or email