Sunshine Coast Council today endorsed an amendment to align the local law with state law regulations in relation to dogs in outdoor dining areas attached to cafes and restaurants.
It remains the case that a food business is prohibited from permitting live animals in areas in which food is handled or served however exemptions are in place for assistance animals such as guide dogs. Following, Council’s decision today food business may choose to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas if certain criteria are met.
Community Programs Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said the National Food Safety Standards must be adhered to andcouncil would conduct a comprehensive education campaign so both the business owners and dog owners understand their responsibilities in relation to the changes.
“At today’s Ordinary Meeting Councillors considered feedback submitted during the consultation period – with the majority of respondents supportive of the local law change – before making their decision to regulate solely from the state’s Food Act 2006 in relation to dogs in outdoor dining areas,” Cr McKay said.
“Following the laws being gazetted on August 22, Council staff will visit restaurants and cafes with outdoor dining areas across the Sunshine Coast to help them understand the amendment to the local law.
“We will undertake a combined communication and inspection program because, for example, a business that can be temporarily enclosed with plastic walls is precluded from having dogs at their restaurant or café under the food safety standards.
“Council recognises that many owners love the companionship of their dog while enjoying a coffee or meal at our restaurants and cafes, however our local laws also have to reflect the requirements of Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
“It is also important that pet owners understand their responsibilities so the community education program will also target them.”
Cr McKay said the outdoor dining permit renewal or application process would also provide an opportunity to advise landlords and business owners whether they could lawfully have dogs at their establishments in their outdoor dining areas.
“In the end, business owners with compliant alfresco dining premises will have the final say on whether or not to allow dogs,” she said.