Main Street Mornington has been abuzz with activity over our COVID-safe summer as visitors and locals alike enjoyed the atmosphere and space created by temporarily closing a section of the street to traffic.

Traders were able to embrace additional space for outdoor dining and retail, while customers could relax in a safer, less crowded environment.

With the peak summer period now behind us it is time to plan the reopening of Main Street to vehicles.

Mornington Peninsula Shire has consulted with Main Street traders, stakeholders and the Chamber of Commerce to hear what they would prefer to happen and when.

The Shire conducted a survey of Main Street businesses and randomly surveyed hundreds of members of the public. While most members of the public would like to see the street closure remain longer, many businesses wished it to reopen.

The Shire is supporting the Chamber of Commerce’s suggestion to reopen Main Street on Monday 15 February.

This means that the extended outdoor dining set-ups (both parklets on the road and car parking spaces plus extended footpath trading that is greater than the usual space available and permitted) will be removed at the close of business on Sunday 14 February.

The Shire’s contractors will progressively remove infrastructure such as waterfilled barriers from Monday morning and the street will reopen once this is complete. Bus stops, taxis, and parking, including parking for people with disability, will return to normal from Tuesday 16 February.

Across the Peninsula the extended outdoor dining program has been received very positively by the public, with the majority of people surveyed giving it a score of either nine or 10 out of 10.

The Shire will be taking further feedback from traders and residents and evaluating plans for next summer.

Quotes attributable to Mayor Cr Despi O’Connor

“The Shire would like to thank Mornington businesses for the way they embraced the temporary closure of Main Street for extended outdoor dining.

“The enthusiasm and effort shown by businesses in making the best of this opportunity has been very welcome.

“Many thousands of visitors and locals enjoyed our new-look Main Street and the additional COVID-safe outdoor dining this summer. It proved a great success in our efforts to support local businesses during COVID-19.

“Together we have delivered a massive project that required cooperation, flexibility, speed and creativity. I believe we can all be extremely proud of what was achieved in such a short space of time.”