During the pandemic, our community’s restaurants and bars struggled to open. Almost all of the local establishments were allowed to open outdoor dining. Unfortunately, very few restaurants had outdoor areas for dining pre-pandemic. This required a creative approach with innovative design.
I developed a Guide for Outdoor Dining as a proactive manual for businesses so that they had every opportunity to open as the Governor reopened the state. The Guide to Outdoor Dinning was a way to assist businesses to understand how they could adapt the challenges of the pandemic and how they could transform sidewalks and parking lots into productive areas. It was also a tool to educate residents that raised concerns with these temporary changes to their community.
Prior to the pandemic outdoor dining on public sidewalks was encouraged in the city and parking requirements had been relaxed by the Council. This guidance is intended to inspire low risk investments with the materials, tables and chairs, restaurant already have, and to maximize the public and private space adjacent to a business.
As a result of this manual and encouragement by the City, several businesses have installed permanent outdoor dining in former parking stalls and along public rights of way.