Linden Neighborhood Conversation

Robin Davis
Director of Media Relations
614.645.2425
rcdavis@columbus.gov

Melanie Crabill
Communications Manager
614.645.5300
mjcrabill@columbus.gov

Media Advisory
News Date: August 31, 2020

City of Columbus Announces Temporary Outdoor Seating Pilot Program

In an effort to assist local restaurants during the Public Health Emergency Order declared by Mayor Andrew J. Ginther in March, the City of Columbus is implementing a pilot program that will allow restaurants to expand outdoor seating in Columbus. Beginning today, the Temporary Outdoor Seating Pilot Program will allow restaurants and bars to apply for expedited City approval to use the right-of-way for temporary outdoor on-street dining areas or expand seating into their parking lots.

“Now more than ever, it is important to find ways to support our local restaurants,” said Mayor Ginther. “The Temporary Outdoor Seating Pilot Program will allow for more patrons, while still maintaining the social distance required to decrease the spread of COVID-19.”
 

All Temporary Outdoor Seating areas permitted must comply with the requirements in this pilot and with state and local health requirements intended to slow or prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Upon receipt of a completed application with a site plan showing the proposed layout of the outdoor, dining area, the application will be reviewed by the appropriate Departments and Division.

“The Columbus restaurant community is looking forward to initiating on-street dining and expanded patios to safely attract customers and keep restaurant workers employed. This gives restaurants a better chance to survive the Coronavirus pandemic as they continue to work hard to serve the Columbus community and add to the vibrancy of our neighborhoods, supporting small businesses that thrive when the hospitality community succeeds.” said John Barker, President & CEO, the Ohio Restaurant Association. “The ORA was glad to partner with Mayor Ginther and City leadership to help get this pilot program initiated and we look forward to helping restaurants navigate the process.”
 

Conditions for the right of way and sidewalk program include:

  • The pilot program is applicable to restaurants on city streets with speeds 30 mph or less.
  • All locations must be in an existing parking lane and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
  • “Edge buffers,” or barriers, are required to maintain a safe distance between vehicular traffic and patrons.  Barriers can be either concrete or water filled.
  • Dining areas cannot block vehicle or pedestrian traffic, or impede ADA access. 
  • All entities are required to return the public property to its original condition upon conclusion of the Pilot or use.

Conditions for expansion on private property or into parking lots include:

  • No more than 25% of required parking spaces may be used.
  • Accessible parking spaces are not to be obstructed, or approved alternative spaces of the same dimensions must be provided elsewhere on the parcel.
  • Tents are allowed with 75% of tent sides remaining open when in use.
  • Temporary dining area does not increase the current establishment maximum capacity.

All applications and/or questions for expansion into the right of way or sidewalks can be submitted online at https://portal.columbus.gov/permits/.

All applications and/or questions to expand patios into parking lots or on private property shall submit a summary email to DLDaniel@Columbus.gov for an initial review.

The expanded outdoor dining opportunity is available for restaurants and bars. All federal, state and local laws must be adhered to.