The Brentwood City Commission unanimously approved a temporary policy to allow limited outdoor seating on the sidewalk areas in front of restaurants through Jan. 1, 2021.

The idea was discussed at the board's Sept. 28 meeting as a way to continue to allow businesses to serve patrons as many dining rooms have operated as half-capacity due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Normally an extension of seating would have to go through the entire process with the Planning Commission but this move will allow for the temporary seating as long as it doesn't disrupt required accommodations such as ADA accessibility and doesn't interfere with the operations of other businesses. 

Businesses who would like to take part in the temporary option will need to contact the city and submit a request, which will be evaluated by city staff, although it will not have a staff fee associated with the request or approval.

"Staff will evaluate limited outdoor dining proposals using a set of criteria that could be applied to ensure compliance with applicable Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and the safety of those using outdoor dining areas,” Planning and Codes Director Jeff Dobson said in a news release.

Other rules for the temporary seating option include the following:

  • In multi-tenant buildings, tables/chairs would not be permitted to spill over in front of other buildings/businesses
  • Three to five tables maximum are allowed
  • Outdoor dining seating in parking areas is not allowed 
  • If the restaurant space is leased, property owner authorization will be required 

The city said in a news release that new provisions will not be extended to existing restaurants that already have Planning Commission-approved outdoor dining areas or seek to expand the number of tables/chairs they already have.

In June, Business Insider reported the challenges faced by independent restaurants throughout the pandemic, citing a report by the Independent Restaurant Coalition that as many as 85% of independent restaurants could go out of business by the end of the year.  

In August Business Insider also reported that chain restaurants, which historically have been in a better position during economic strife, are also suffering due to the pandemic with popular chains permanently closing locations nationwide. 

The full Commission Meeting and the online agenda can be viewed here.

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