The ACT Government is relaxing parking restrictions in restaurant and café precincts, such as Braddon, Woden, Belconnen and Tuggeranong, to offer 15 minutes of free parking for people picking up takeaway food and drinks.
The decision comes after calls from the community to relax the restrictions in these zones, as people move to buying takeaway meals and drinks to support the local hospitality industry through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Planning and Land Management Minister Mick Gentleman said this was a practical way for the government to “make life a little easier for people” during the coronavirus outbreak, although he said Canberrans “should arrange delivery of items wherever possible”.
He also encouraged people to practise physical distancing if they must leave their home to pick up essential items, and reminded people that when leaving their household they must not gather in groups greater than two people, excluding other household members.
The relaxed parking restrictions come as the government continues to bring in measures in a bid to keep Canberra’s cafés and restaurants afloat, including enabling takeaway alcohol options through the issue of free three-month commercial liquor permits. The industry has been quick to adapt, with a number of outlets starting to offer groceries and essential items alongside their regular fare, such as grocery boxes, toilet paper and home delivery services.
Mr Gentleman said signs will begin going up in the restaurant and café precincts, and will be attached to existing parking signs.
This does not mean you can park just anywhere, though. Despite these relaxed parking restrictions, Access Canberra will continue to issue fines elsewhere.
Business and Regulatory Services Minister Gordon Ramsay reminded Canberrans it is “important that all parking signs [are] obeyed”.
“Access Canberra will continue to apply focus in supporting parking compliance around pedestrian crossings, illegal parking which may cause line of sight safety issues, disability parking bays and no stopping and loading zones,” he said.