After a long two months, from Friday, the streets of Braddon will start to show signs of life again as restaurants, bars and cafes will be allowed to start taking seated customers.
But many of those customers could be sitting outdoors as restaurants seek to maximise their capacity.
At Cafe Gather on Mort Street, preparations are in place for its reopening. The cafe's owner Will Fisher said the difficult decision was made to keep the cafe shut throughout lockdown, even for takeaway.
"We knew it was going to be way quieter than usual so we weighed it up and decided to let everybody have a break and give a chance for our customers to miss us for a while," he said.
Mr Fisher said they had used the time to give the cafe a fresh lick of paint, add some new plants and to create a new menu.
But one of its biggest changes is that, for the meantime, none of Cafe Gather's customers will be sitting indoors. Instead, the cafe will use its prime outdoor space to seat its customers. Indoors will be a workspace for staff, Mr Fisher said.
Under the ACT's pathway forward, venues will be allowed to have more people if they choose to operate outdoors only, with a maximum of 50 people allowed, or one person per four square metres, whichever is less.
For indoor venues, a maximum of only 25 people is allowed.
The risk of transmission for COVID-19 is lower in outdoor settings.
To support hospitality venues, the ACT government has set up a dedicated taskforce that will help businesses to utilise public outdoor spaces near their premises.
"As we move out of lockdown, Canberrans will be keen to support local businesses and this will be a key driver of our economic recovery into Christmas and throughout 2022," Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.
This may mean parking spaces outside Canberra restaurants could soon be replaced with tables and chairs.
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Business Minister Tara Cheyne said the taskforce would look at innovative ways to open up outdoor public space for venues and would take advice from businesses as part of the process.
"It's important we do this in a way that supports local business owners to recover, while keeping Canberrans safe from the risks of COVID-19 by following the public health direction," Ms Cheyne said.
"Venues will have capacity limits after lockdown ends, so moving to an outdoors setting is the safest and easiest way for businesses like restaurants, cafes and bars to begin to operate sooner as restrictions gradually ease."
The hospitality industry has been critical of the density limits imposed on hospitality businesses.
The Australian Hotels Association ACT general manager Anthony Brierley has previously said hospitality businesses would not be able to viably open until late November or December.
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