Outdoor Expansion of Restaurants and Bars Carries Added Weight for Owners, Staff
With the official start to summer a mere week away, cities and counties across the country are grappling with how to safely reopen many popular cornerstones of modern life, including restaurants and bars, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. A common theme popping up is patio-only service. Al Fresco dining and drinking takes logical advantage of seasonal temperatures and extended hours of sunshine; while other solutions intended to limit exposure to the pandemic call for occupancy caps, socially distant table-spacing, disposable menus, reservations for contract-tracing practices and so on.
In pursuit of patio-only availability, officials in the City and County of Denver have created a temporary program to allow restaurants and bars to operate in outdoor settings located adjacent to their businesses, if they don’t already have patio space. The program aims for greater physical distancing and safety of patrons. Qualifying extended patios can remain in place through early September, and are subject to local and state health guidelines.
In Cook County, Ill., home to the Windy City and surrounding Chicagoland suburbs, officials fast-tracked the re-opening of bars and restaurants to make up for lost taxable revenue amid the nation-wide shut-down, but with strict rules for patio-seating only. Food and spirit venues must make current patio space available to patrons and/or temporarily lease outdoor space from adjacent businesses to abide by local regulations amid the pandemic.1 The Chicago Tribune reports Hinsdale, a western suburb, is working to convert a downtown street into a one-way to allow restaurants to expand outdoor dining sections while keeping their carryout service going. Government officials in Arlington, Va., have permitted similar restaurant and bar expansions into parking lots, sidewalks and public spaces. 2
No matter the formula for patron-protection amid the pandemic, restaurant and bar owners must still adhere to lawful carding practices, or face adverse consequences. Avoid additional damages to revenue by adopting a proactive, responsible compliance curriculum. The BARS Program is vital insurance for your brand – no matter the season. Learn more about The BARS Program by visiting www.barsprogram.com.
1 Chicago Tribune, 5/20/20; Illinois restaurants and bars can go al fresco as soon as next Friday as Gov. J.B. Pritzker nods to reopening pressure
2 Washingtonian, 5/29/2020; DC-Area Restaurants and Bars Are Reopening. Here Are 6 Huge Changes to Expect.