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Kriseman: Restaurants can apply for permits to expand outdoor dining to parking areas

Megan Holmes



St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Tuesday that he has instructed the City Development Administration to begin reviewing email applications to allow restaurants to expand outdoor dining space into parking lots and other outdoor areas.

Kriseman explained in a Facebook Live press conference that many restaurants would have difficulty opening at 25 percent capacity profitably, but that he was not authorized to increase that percentage, under the state order.

“I have authorized our city development administration to allow restaurants with existing parking lots or other adjacent spaces, to expand their on site outdoor seating areas,” Kriseman said. “Restaurants may apply for approval to expand their patios and to use this existing space by emailing a sketch of the area where the tables will be located, along with the approval of the property owner to”

Kriseman said the table layout proposed in the sketch to the development administration would have to comply with social distancing guidelines, with tables at least six feet apart. According to the mayor, there will be no review fee and the approval will be effective until the end of the Covid-19 emergency order.

He also mentioned that the City Development Administration would be working with businesses and restaurateurs to consider other options to expand outdoor dining. The mayor had previously mentioned that he was considering closing Central Avenue and Beach Drive to traffic, to allow expanded dining in those corridors. Such a plan went into effect today in Tampa.

The Lift Up Local economic recovery plan, a 14-day pilot program temporarily allows restaurants and retail businesses to expand their onto public rights-of-way and in privately owned parking facilities during normal business hours under social distancing guidelines. Parts of Twiggs Street, Franklin Street have closed in downtown. In Ybor City, part of 7th Avenue, in Tampa Heights, Franklin Street, and in Hyde Park Village, South Dakota Avenue/West Snow. Closures are also taking place on Grand Central Avenue in West River and South Howard Avenue in the SoHo neighborhood.

Kriseman has not yet said if he has made a decision on whether or not to close public roads.

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