Under the new rules, the Driftwood Cafe will accommodate 20 people inside and 12 outdoors.
Mr Simons said the numbers would need to increase to about 50 per cent of normal capacity – which is about 100 patrons – for the venue to be financially viable without the support of JobKeeper.
But he is still excited to serve food on plates again.
“We’ve gone through an extraordinary amount of takeaway containers,” he said. “We want to use our plates again. We want people to sit down and enjoy themselves.”
Mr Simons, who is also president of the Ocean Grove Business Association, said he was working with traders and the council on a compromise arrangement to use some car parking and more footpath space for hospitality businesses in The Terrace shopping strip.
But Ocean Grove Cellars manager Isaac Fryar took issue with the prospect of losing parking spots, fearing it may deter customers.
“We don’t want to lose access to our businesses,” he said.
Mr Fryar said parking on The Terrace was particularly important during the summer influx of visitors.
The Premier said on Wednesday that hospitality businesses would receive support to expand their outdoor capacity.
But concerns about parking access for retailers loom as a challenge that may need to be managed.
In the White Hart cafe, nestled in an arcade off The Terrace, owner Alisha Cogan was trying to determine whether her walkway tables were considered outdoors. She hoped restrictions would be eased further so she could open her tiny cafe at full capacity in coming months.
“Summer’s coming. We definitely hope to be at full capacity by then,” she said.
Benjamin is The Age’s regional editor. He was previously state rounds reporter and has also covered education for The Age.