Delaware District Councilmember Joel Feroleto recently sponsored a bill that is being passed today, which allows business owners to come up with custom plans to expand their outdoor seating capacity. A similar law was in effect in 2020, when the pandemic hit, forcing businesses to heavily rely upon outdoor seating.
Feroleto pointed out that numerous restaurants applied for, and were granted, patio expansions, such as Soho and Rec Room (including an event on Chippewa), Bada Bing (seating in the alley), Little Club (extended on their sidewalk), Hartman’s Distilling Co. (blocked off the street), and Tappo downtown (expanded into the parking lot).
“The ability to utilize the street for dining is a life saver,” said Justin Hartman of Hartman’s Distilling Co. “With social distancing, our tasting room footprint only allows for 40% capacity. Opening the street helps us gain an extra 50% which is crucial to survive and thrive. We plan on investing more into our outdoor space for this summer to create an incredible and safe experience for our customers.”
As of today, business owner/operators can apply for patio expansions through City Hall’s Office of Special Events. Feroleto said that the law will give restaurants and small business the opportunity to expand space while socially distancing because the State still has restrictions on indoor capacity.
When asked if this law might become permanent some day, Feroleto responded, “Yes we are looking at making it permanent.”