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Business Inclusion & Advancement

Posted on: May 29, 2020

City Temporarily Allowing Expanded Outdoor Dining Downtown

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NEWS RELEASE
Business Inclusion & Advancement
May 29, 2020 

The city is temporarily allowing downtown restaurants to expand their sidewalk dining areas beyond their immediate storefronts in order to give them a means of making up for lost capacity under the Phase 2 occupancy restrictions. 

Downtown restaurants can apply for a temporary sidewalk dining permit at no charge and can expand their sidewalk dining areas if they get permission in writing from the adjoining property owners. The city has put in place procedures to expedite the approval process, said Ken Millett, the city’s director of business inclusion and advancement.

“Phase 2 limits restaurants to 50 percent of their permitted capacity to ensure social distancing,” Millett said. “The temporary sidewalk dining permits allow downtown restaurants to have more outside tables than would normally be allowed, to help them fill that gap in their business.” 

Millett added that the temporary permit limits temporary dining areas to 50 percent of a restaurant’s normal indoor occupancy limit. Restaurants with temporary permits must also maintain a five-foot width of open sidewalk for pedestrians and must meet all the city’s normal licensing and insurance requirements.

The temporary permits will expire 10 days after the Phase 2 restrictions are lifted. Restaurants that want to continue offering sidewalk dining after that time will have to apply for a regular sidewalk dining permit and follow all the normal requirements, such as limiting their outdoor dining area to the restaurant storefront.

The application for a temporary permit is posted at cityofws.org/bia

Outside the central business district, the sidewalks serving many restaurants are on private property and as such, restaurants do not need permission from the city to set up outdoor tables as long as they are not in the public right-of-way. Should a restaurant outside downtown face such a limitation, Millett suggested that the owner contact him.