Temporary Guidelines for Outdoor Shopping and Dining
Mayor Phil Fisher has provided the following guidlines to businesses to utilize additional space on sidewalks and parking lots during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Coronavirus provides this test case as logical effort to promote business. If the outdoor dining and shopping test works, the City will look into amending ordinances permitting the use on a full time basis.
"I recognize the potential conflict of the Governor’s other decree addressing the number of people gathering indoors (10) and outdoors (20). But I understand that to mean groups gathered for a purpose, like a neighborhood party. Shoppers do not move in organized groups of 10 or 20. Other guidance from the Governor sets the inside number at 50% of capacity, trying to maintain proper spacing." added Mayor Phil Fisher.
For now, the City is offering restaurants and retail businesses the chance to expand their space and allow full occupancy opportunities. For example, if the capacity is 90 patrons and the governor’s guidance is ½ occupancy or 45, then the restaurant or retail business can have space for 45 inside and 45 outside, total 90. No permitting is required for this test case during the COVID-19 pandemic. The business will need to move their equipment inside in the evening or provide their own security after hours.
For example, the City can close Jefferson Street and the west side of E. Leake to accommodate businesses in Olde Towne. The businesses on Monroe street have enough sidewalk space to move items outdoors, but the City could block the parking spaces to provide more space. Strip shopping centers have the option of use parking lot space to allow for the expansion, if approved by the center management. Alcohol sales will be allowed inside the building, not outside – as per ABC rules. Those in a “go cup” will be allowed to sell alcohol as per the current guidelines.
Of course, all protective measures remain in effect whether inside or outside, such as wearing mask, social distancing, etc. The expansion will officially end when the governor lifts the restrictions on businesses.
At that point, Mayor Fisher will meet with the businesses that took part in this test case and discuss the next steps.
"I want to help businesses get back to full capacity as soon as possible and this test case is a way to allow for that opportunity. It may work for you, and it may not, but in these times I am willing to bend the rules and provide a chance to start faster than in normal times. If you have other ideas, for your business or City-wide, I want to hear them and if safe and practical, try them. Everything is on the table,” Mayor Fisher concluded.