Detroit Announces Extension Of Outdoor Dining Program

Detroit, MI - In support of the State of Michigan’s three-week shutdown, the City of Detroit has announced an extension of its outdoor dining program, Open Detroit.

The pilot program initially launched in June 2020, to help support the safe reopening of restaurants offering sit-down dining. Since response to the program has been so favorable among restaurant owners and patrons, coupled with the new restrictions on indoor dining, the city decided to extend the program through the winter, to provide safe dining options amid the latest COVID-19 restrictions. The winter edition of Open Detroit will kick off December 1, 2020 and go through April 1, 2021.

“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."

The program allows for sidewalks, parklets (on-streets parking spaces) and private parking lots to be temporarily converted for uses such as seating, expanded outdoor dining areas and retail space. The city has also designated a select number of Café & Retail Zones where the city will close selected portions of an entire street. These zones provide the maximum space to serve businesses in a concentrated area, and will be installed 24 hours per day/7 days per week, for the duration of the program. Social distancing requirements as well as ADA clearances must be followed. Enclosed outdoor seating is permissible under the following guidelines:

  • 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.

Permits for the summer outdoor dining program are set to expire on November 30, 2020. All restaurants looking to apply for the winter program must apply online, including current summer permit holders. Due to the unique circumstances winter weather brings, there will be additional precautions and planning that must occur before the winter operations can be launched. Those business looking to participate in the winter program will need to have the following ready when applying:

  • 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

Applications for the winter program are now open and can be submitted at Detroitmeansbusiness.org.

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