Four outdoor dining areas in Richmond and surrounding areas that were due to close at the end of March have had their status extended until the end of 2023 after Yarra City Council council voted to continue them.
Created through road closures under a state government Covid adaptation initiative, the areas are attached to businesses the Warm Hug Café at 163A Lennox Street, Richmond; Ms Frankie at 24 Cremorne Street, Cremorne; La Manna and Sons at 98 Balmain Street, Cremorne and Molly Rose Brewing at 270 Wellington Street, Collingwood.
Warm Hug cafe owner Robyn Rodier applied for the Cameron St closure when she first heard about the scheme in 2020 and spent around $25,000 on a wheelchair-accessible deck adjoining her premises.
She said the initiative had been a huge success, with the area, which is 350m from the Epworth Hospital, being used by locals and visitors alike, particularly patients visiting surrounding medical services.
One of these last week was Sandra Cumming, from Euroa, who had an appointment with a nearby neurologist.
Ms Cumming said she appreciated having somewhere to wait and also found the ramp helpful.
According to Ms Rodier, the Cameron Street corner is now safer and the street's closure has created a space that has played host to street cricket and ballroom dancing sessions.
She said she had also heard reports that real estate prices in the area had increased.
Yarra City councillor Herschel Landes, who championed a push to extend the operation of the outdoor areas, said the cafe deck was popular with a wide range of people and organisations.
At last week's council meeting where the issue was voted on, he presented a petition signed by 77 people calling for the Warm Hug deck to be made permanent.