Businesses looking to tighten their purse strings this Christmas could benefit from a wavering of hire fees on national land.
The National Capital Authority will waive fees for Christmas party events on the surrounds of the National Capital Estate, including the Old Parliament House Rose Gardens and Aspen Island.
The COVID-safe Christmas gift is just one social-distancing solution which could see Canberrans spend more time drinking and dining outdoors this summer.
The ACT government has joined the capital authority in feeling festive, having planned a range of COVID-safe events in the city's outdoor spaces.
Dog agility equipment, outdoor seating, games and art have appeared in Haig Park since September, while live music and roving performers recently started stepping out in the city and Braddon.
Free boot camp and yoga is now on in Glebe Park, while "Movement Month" will promote outdoor exercise from next Saturday.
An ACT government spokesperson said evidence suggested a lower risk of COVID-19 transmission outdoors, so increasing density of people in parks and playgrounds rather than indoors was preferred.
"With the recent easing of restrictions in the ACT, more opportunities are available for the community to get out and about in time for the summer period," the spokesperson said.
Recent changes included allowing premises to have gatherings of up to 200 people, where one person per four square metres could be maintained indoors and one person per two square metres outdoors.
While it is not an offence to consume alcohol in public places in the ACT, fines will still be issued for those caught drinking in permanent alcohol-free spaces such as skate parks.
New and existing businesses will be encouraged to introduce al fresco options, with the waiving of outdoor dining fees for 2020-21.
The spokesperson said 12-month free access to public spaces would allow businesses to trial outdoor dining.
An NCA spokesperson said planning policies allow cafés and kiosks around the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, and it welcomes discussion about pop-up venues on the national estate.