The premier said it was “too early” to determine whether there will be crowds at the Boxing Day test or the Australian Open.

“We are having detailed discussions with, whether it is cricket authorities, the MCC, the whole AO team, talking to them about what their event looks like and there are other events that aren’t as famous as that – but there is lots of other events that would normally occur over summer and we have to work through each of those event by event and venue by venue,” Mr Andrews said.

However, Mr Andrews said it would not be a normal Boxing Day Test or Australian Open, as teams and players coming from overseas would need to quarantine.

“It won’t be an ordinary summer from that point of view. We will get as many people we can get there, provided it is safe,” he said.

A number of parking areas, streets and laneways in the City of Melbourne will close once the outdoor dining expansion comes into place in the coming months.

“It is clear that we will see more tables on footpaths. Some of that foot traffic may move to the curb-side parking area, where curb-side parking would no longer be allowed,” Mr Andrews said.

“We may see streets closed. Some laneways closed even, we may see public space, so parks and gardens that are adjacent to significant numbers of restaurants and pubs, venues like that – that may well be transformed.

“It may be a shared area between a number of different businesses and because this will run all summer and because I think these changes will be so popular that they ought to be a feature of every summer.”

A $87.5 million outdoor hospitality support package will also be given to businesses outside Melbourne’s CBD.

A total of $58 million will be paid in grants of up to $5000 to businesses to help pay for outdoor furniture and screens.

“Those grants will be available to both licensed and unlicensed businesses, restaurants, take away food businesses, pubs, bars, clubs with a payroll under $3 million and we estimate about 11,000 businesses outside the CBD will benefit from that,” Mr Pakula said.

Those grants will be up to $500,000 for metropolitan councils, regional and rural councils will be eligible for grants of up to $250,000.

By Chanel Zagon

A mega $290 million funding package has been announced to support sole traders and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in Melbourne’s CBD.

The package includes a $100 million Melbourne city recovery fund that will provide grants to businesses to move their activities outdoors, to fund COVIDSafe events and new infrastructure through a partnership with the City of Melbourne.

The fund will aid about 16,500 businesses “enormously impacted” by COVID-19 restrictions in the City of Melbourne.

“Of that $100 million, $30 million will be provided in grants to small and medium businesses to help pay for tables, plastic screens, umbrellas and all of the apparatus needed for outdoor hospitality to reconfigure spaces, to convert areas like rooftops and courtyards for outdoor use and we have been consulting with council, CBD businesses to finalise the details of that grants program over the coming days and weeks,” Jobs Minister Martin Pakula said.

“There will be another $30 million to support COVIDSafe events and cultural activities in the CBD to attract visitors back to the city once it is safe to do so.

“There will be another $40 million going towards providing physical improvements to the CBD streetscape.

“This will utterly transform the city and not just for this summer.”

There were no new cases recorded in regional Victoria today.

Mr Andrews said there was an opportunity for regional Victoria to take another step in its roadmap out of lockdown in a few days “if these trends continue”.

Premier Daniel Andrews has urged all Victorians to come forward for COVID-19 testing so the state can safely begin to open up as planned.

“We don’t want a situation where test numbers are not an accurate measure of not enough tests being done for us to have confidence that we have a clear picture of how much virus is out there,” Mr Andrews said.

This content was originally published here.