Detroit extends outdoor dining program, ‘program will give businesses an opportunity to service patrons safer’

With hopes of complementing Governor Whitmer’s three-week shutdown, the city of Detroit has announced an extension of its outdoor dining program, “Open Detroit”. 

The program was originally launched in June, and its purpose was to help support the “safe” reopening of restaurants offering sit-down dining during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Officials with the city says since the program was announced, it has gotten a lot positive feedback from restaurant owners and patrons, which was the main purpose behind extending it, with the latest COVID-19 restrictions. The program’s launch date will start Dec. 1 and run through Apr. 1.

“Our local restaurants continue to face challenges as a result of COVID-19 related restrictions on sit-down dining capacity," said DPW Director Ron Brundidge. "With these restrictions continuing into the cold weather months, the extension of the Open Detroit program will give businesses an opportunity to service patrons in a safe manner. Our hope is that restaurants take advantage of this opportunity, and most importantly that residents safely support these businesses."

With the program, restaurants are able to use sidewalks or on street and private parking lots to expand outdoor dining areas and retail space. 

The city also hopes to designate a number of Café and Retail Zones, where selected portions of an entire street will be closed. Officials say these zones “will provide maximum space to serve businesses in a concentrated area, and will be installed 24 hours out the day during the duration of the program.”

Below are the guidelines that permit outdoor seating:
•    Tents can only have one single side of the tent down. Tents with more than one side down are not allowed.
•    “Igloo” style seating is allowed but must only sit one household at a time. A household is defined as a group of persons living together in a shared dwelling with common kitchen or bathroom facilities.
The Summer program is expected to end on Nov. 30, and businesses looking to apply for the Winter program are encouraged to have the following ready:
•    If a heating apparatus is going to be used, the specifications of that apparatus must be submitted at time of application
•    This submittal shall also include the number of units and location of units
•    If a tent is proposed to be used, the manufacturer specifications, sizing and weighting must be supplied at time of applications
•    A floor plan for seating must be provided at time of application for any partially or fully enclosed seating areas outside of the building
•    The review period for winter applications is up to 8 days for approvals
•    Once applicant has received official approval in the form of an Open Detroit- Winter Edition permit, applicant can then begin to assemble space