Restaurants able to apply for expanded outdoor seating in Savannah

Restaurants able to apply for expanded outdoor seating in Savannah

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah’s hospitality could soon spill into the streets.

Restaurants are now able to apply to expand outdoor dining. Businesses can serve dinners on city sidewalks and parking lots.

The initiative ends a month from Friday, June 15, at which point city staff will look at the successes and what may need to be tweaked.

To make it easier for eateries to work through the permitting process if they’d like to pursue expanded outdoor seating, the City is temporarily reducing permit requirements and fees. But there are some stipulations.

Participating businesses setting up dining areas in parking spaces or on-street must remove the seating daily, and can’t use parking spaces designated for disabled parking. Partial street closures are also a possibility along portions of Broughton, River, Bull and West Congress streets, as well as around Ellis Square.

But during Thursday’s pilot program presentation to council, Mayor Johnson made it clear the initiative is meant to benefit businesses across Savannah.

“It was not going to be just the downtown. There are businesses throughout the City. And basically if they’re able to check the boxes, meet the criteria for safety and traffic engineering standards, then it would be available all over the City," said Mayor Johnson.

City Manager Pat Monahan told council next steps could include passing a resolution to temporarily suspend an ordinance to allow for use of parking spaces for dining, which he said should be on the agenda for the next meeting.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.