Avon Lake Rolls Out Temporary Outdoor Dining Area Program for Restaurants & Bars
06/05/2020 – On Friday, June 5, the City of Avon Lake released to its restaurant and bar owners the permit application for the City's new temporary outdoor dining area program. This program is aimed at reducing the damage to these businesses from the Covid-19 crisis.
This type of program was first discussed on the May 11 at the City Council meeting in light of other cities in Ohio that were taking steps to give their restaurants and bars more square feet for social distancing. The Ted Esborn, the City's Economic Development Director, explored the possibility with Avon Lake's restaurateurs and barkeepers. More than half of the restaurants and bars that Esborn talked to were interested in a temporary outdoor dining area. "My biggest takeaway," says Esborn, "was that nobody was talking about putting tables and chairs in a street or a big shared parking lot. They were talking about the walkway in front of their restaurant, or an unused spot on their property. That settled some of our biggest concerns and allowed us to push forward."
Avon Lake is working in partnership with Ohio's Division of Liquor Control so that a temporary dining area permitted by the City is also approved by the state for alcohol use. A Permit is effective for a maximum of 180 days. There can be no structural improvements, such as fences, walls, or paving. The business owner is not allowed to install new lighting for the area, except for lighting on the tables. Temporary outdoor areas must close by 10pm. Music - live or recorded - is prohibited in these spaces. The City's permit has language that gives the people living closest to the areas recourse if noise becomes a nuisance. "The City's goal was to create space that allows for more socially distanced customers," says Esborn. "For that to work, weneed the temporary spaces to be pretty simple so that they don't disturb the balance in our neighborhoods."