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  • By Lisa Brody

Outdoor dining can expand in Birmingham

Birmingham City Commissioners unanimously approved expanding outdoor dining standards at their meeting on Monday, June 8, to equal the number removed from the interior of the restaurant in order to assist restaurants affected by Covid-19 restrictions. Under the governor’s executive order, restaurants may open at 50 percent capacity to alleviate health concerns by allowing for social distancing. Birmingham's new expanded outdoor dining program allows restaurants to request additional outdoor dining space through October 31, 2020. Birmingham Planning Director Jana Ecker explained it would replace a previous resolution approved by the commission on May 11. The new dining standards would allow restaurants to add the number of seats removed from the interior of a restaurant and place that number of seats outdoors, on the sidewalk, in on-street parking, in a via and/or on private property, all with prior approval from the city. Ecker said the new dining standards would apply to all restaurants, both Class C and bistro, which serve alcohol. The Michigan Liquor Licensing Commission has also allowed for limited outdoor service area program for establishments serving alcoholic beverages through October 31, 2020. “It lets restaurants operate and keeps in place the governor's orders for social distancing,” Ecker said. She said the resolution would also permit the use of tents. With the commissioners' approval, the resolution took immediate effect.

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