Some Columbus bars and restaurants may expand their outdoor seating option under a pilot program.
The Temporary Outdoor Seating Pilot Program would allow certain businesses to temporarily increase their seating capacity to parking lots, sidewalks and even on-street parking spaces on some slow speed roads, with appropriate barriers. Columbus Public Health has approved the plan.
Restaurants have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and some have reported business is down by as much as 70%. Restaurants were allowed to re-open dining rooms in late May, but social distancing requirements dramatically reduced capacity. After reported increased community spread, Governor DeWine issued orders that ended alcohol service at 10pm, which trade groups like the Ohio Restaurant Association said would wipe out lucrative late night sales.
Expanded outdoor seating options are limited by more than Central Ohio weather. The Temporary Outdoor Seating Pilot Program runs only through the end of October. More information on how to apply for the expanded seating is available at portal.columbus.gov.