The Cleveland City Council agreed on Wednesday, June 3rd, to allow restaurants and bars to serve customers in designated spaces in parking lots and some streets. The city wants to help it’s local bars and restaurants rebound from the coronavirus shut down.
Mayor Frank Jackson’s administration focus was to create legislation that would give local business owners a temporary expansion of their serving area. Thus allowing guests to dine and drink while still adhering to the states social distancing guidelines.
Now it’s just a matter of Jackson signing the legislation and giving the green light. Regional development director, Edward Rybka acknowledged that the administration was looking into it.
The Cleveland Planning Commission needs to finalize the guidelines, however Council President Kevin Kelley said on Wednesday, he didn’t want the program to be delayed awaiting the council approval. “I think it’s an emergency. We don’t have time to wait,” Kelley said. “We need to do everything we can to get some businesses back on their feet.” Kelley also added “we can fix that” if the legislation needs to be adjusted down the road.
Councilman Kerry McCormack, who represents the wards that cover E. 4th Street, Tremont and Ohio City, has said the outdoor dining idea could be a lifeline to struggling restaurants and bars.
It’s challenging for all as seating is very limited at all locations. With complying to the 6 foot distancing, many locations have lost valuable real estate for their guests to use for dining and drinks. Allowing street and lot seating would give these locations back some very much needed serving areas.