The COVID-19 Red Tape Strangling Outdoor Dining [OP-ED]

Posted on: December 21st, 2020 at 5:03 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

Barely a week after the ban on indoor dining took effect, the city imposed new guidelines related to the outdoor dining spaces (aka “streeteries”). The red tape, which outlaws structures covered on more than two sides, effectively kills the “open restaurant” plan, leaving establishments again dependent on the more variable takeout business.

The ever-mutating regulations implemented already strain restaurants that have invested to enclose outdoor spaces in hopes of staying afloat. And with no relief from the federal, state or city governments, these new rules are just another proverbial nail in the coffin.

While the intent is to curb the potential transmission of Covid-19, the financial burden remains with business owners.

It seems that, since the start of the “open restaurant” program, flip-flopping is the name of the game. What was acceptable one day was not the next, and modifications required.  I would think the city should compensate restaurant owners for its own guideline snafus.

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