DETROIT (FOX 2) - While it typically takes months to get approval for outdoor seating, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is proposing a much faster process to get Detroit restaurants back to work as quickly as possible.
Though restaurants are still unable to open at this point, the mayor said he wants to help them get ready to start immediately once they’re given the green light. Last week, he suggested owners look for outside spaces near their building to expand seating.
Duggan says Detroit is in what the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has dubbed Phase 4 and the city could soon be entering what has been labeled as Phase 5, which would allow restaurants to reopen.
"I'm expecting in the next couple of weeks that we will be in that area if we don't abandon what we're doing."
Duggan says he's sent a proposal on how Restaurants can re-open safely to the city council.
"We are certainly hopeful in the next week or two that the governor allows us to re-open the restaurants but that means as a restaurant owner, you need to be ready.
Under current guidelines, stores can only allow a quarter of the maximum number of people allowed in the building per the fire marshall’s limit. That means if a store’s max occupancy is 28 people, only 7 are allowed at a time. For some restaurants, they wouldn’t be serving enough people at a time to stay afloat.
As many restaurant owners know, the approval process for outdoor seating typically takes some time. Duggan said it can be a many step process that can take between 2-3 months.
“If we take that long, summer is going to be over,” he said.
Duggan said he sent a proposal to the Detroit City Council to expedite the process to take only a few days. He said he hopes the city council will act quickly.
“We want to be able to turn this around in a matter of a few days,” he said.
Meanwhile, the mayor said since the city began allowing stores to reopen, more than 2,000 businesses have picked up free PPE from the city at Eastern Market.
The city is providing stores free PPE to get them started. Owners can visit the city’s reopening playbook called Detroit Means Business at detroitmeansbusiness.org to request PPE. The mayor asks that businesses only book a Monday appointment to pick up PPE if they are opening Tuesday.
The Detroit Means Business website provides a 21-page guide to reopening businesses, including Detroit’s six-step workplace safety protocols, charts and checklists, safety signs to post around your business, and more. It also offers financial resources and tech assistance webinars.