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Covid-19 Outdoor Dining Rules Could Last Through 2021 in Philadelphia

Emergency outdoor dining regulations approved in June and set to expired in December could now be extended through the coming year.
September 28, 2020, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The Oval+
Outdoor dining in Philadelphia in the before times, at the four-week Oval+ event at Eakins Oval.
Jana Shea

In June, Philadelphia adopted outdoor seating regulations "to make it easier for restaurants and bars with kitchens to serve outdoors," offering a lifeline to restaurant businesses in the city, according to an article by Darryl C. Murphy. Those rules are set to expire in December, when the public health concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic are still expected to linger, perhaps even in a large, second wave.

As Murphy reports, Philadelphia's outdoor dining innovation revolution now has a chance to be continued all the way through 2021:

With this in mind, City Councilmember Allan Domb introduced on Thursday two bills that would extend regulations for expanded outdoor dining another 12 months, through the end of 2021. One bill would authorize sidewalk cafes to continue operating under the coronavirus emergency rules while another would extend the regulation allowing the city’s Streets Department to close the public right-of-way to cars so diners could enjoy expanded al fresco options.

The article includes anecdotes from the experiences of restaurant owners who have converted to outdoor dining in recent months, as well as data about how many restaurants in the city are placing tables in locations previously reserved for cars (as also reported previously by Billy Penn), and the ongoing decline in sales at restaurants driving the need for innovation.

The news about Philadelphia's intentions to extend its COVID-19 outdoor dining rules came the same week as an announcement by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio that outdoor dining rules would be made permanent in the Big Apple.

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, September 24, 2020 in WHYY
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