Springfield Council to Vote on Eased Restrictions on Outdoor Dining

The Springfield City Council will take up two bills at their Monday meeting which would ease the requirements on outdoor dining within the city limits.

The move is seen as part of the next phase of opening the city in the Road to Recovery plan. Currently, restaurants are limited to 25% of their total square footage of the restaurant, including patios, divided by 30. One bill would allow capacity at outdoor cafes to be 50% of occupancy when allowed by the state.

The bill would suspend the requirements for parking spaces for a restaurant, which could allow certain restaurants to use part of their parking areas as outdoor dining areas.

The second bill would waive application fees for encroachment permits in downtown Springfield and the Commercial Street Community Improvement District for sidewalk cafes through November 30, 2020.

“City Council recognizes the impact of these restrictions on the ability of restaurants to effectively and efficiently operate, and that making these allowances for the duration of the Mayor’s declaration of civil emergency, or any amendment thereto, reduces the negative impact of occupancy restrictions on restaurants and eases compliance with the restriction – therefore furthering the important public health goal of limiting person-to-person contact,” Planning and Development Director Mary Lilly Smith said in a statement.

Anyone who would like to speak to Council on those measures needs to sign up with the city clerk before 5 p.m. Friday.

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