Facing state crackdown on indoor dining, Detroit extends outdoor dining program
Detroit is extending an outdoor dining program to help restaurants stay afloat while a statewide ban on indoor dining takes place.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a three-week pause on dine-in service, movie theaters, casinos, in-person high school and college learning and entertainment venues that began on Nov. 18, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.
The order is set to end on Dec. 8. The order comes as coronavirus cases continue rising in the state, Crain’s reports.
“We are in the worst moment of this pandemic to date,” Whitmer said during a Nov. 15 news conference, per Crain’s. “The situation has never been more dire. … If our public isn’t healthy, our economy isn’t healthy. We have to beat this virus to strengthen our economy.”
In response, Detroit has extended its Open Detroit outdoor dining program from Dec. 1 through April 1, 2021, the Detroit Free Press reports. Open Detroit allows sidewalks, street parking and private parking lots to be converted into outdoor dining areas and retail space on a temporary basis. Restaurants that wish to participate in the program must apply online for it.
“Our local restaurants continue to face challenges as a result of COVID-19 related restrictions on sit-down dining capacity,” Detroit Public Works Director Ron Brundidge said, according to WWJ 950 Newsradio. “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.”
The city will also close portions of entire streets, to be converted into cafe and retail zones, WWJ reports. The zones will be in effect for 24 hours a day/seven days a week, for the entire program period. Social distancing guidelines and ADA clearances must be upheld.
“Our hope is that restaurants take advantage of this opportunity, and most importantly that residents safely support these businesses,” Burbridge said, per WWJ.