Arlington is speeding up plans to grant restaurants and bars the right to expand their patio parameters to serve more al fresco diners during the pandemic.
In an unanimous 4-0 vote passed by the Arlington County Board on Tuesday, eating and drinking establishments can now apply for temporary, expanded outdoor seating permits, . The board previously adopted the measure in March, notes DCist, but this new emergency ordinance speeds up the process.
Under Gov. Ralph Northam’s phase one reopening guidelines, set to go live on Friday, May 29, Northern Virginia restaurants’ outdoor seating capacity will be capped at 50 percent and diners must be spaced six feet or more apart.
Starting today, establishments can apply for the Temporary Outdoor Seating Applications (TOSAs) on Arlington’s website for free. A representative for the county said early Wednesday the application site was not yet live.
Restaurants that also want to serve alcohol across the expanded outdoor seating areas will have to get the green light from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is looking to adopt similar emergency legislation, which would let D.C. restaurants apply for permits to serve food and alcohol on sidewalks and roadways. In her address Wednesday she announced the city would begin reopening Friday, but she was not yet prepared to announce details on an expanded outdoor seating program.