On Tuesday afternoon, Raleigh City Council members met and approved an ordinance to make outdoor dining, known as a streetery, a more permanent fixture in the city.
This means that starting April 1, the outdoor-dining options will be year-round.
The streeteries became available at the height of the pandemic when indoor dining was restricted.
The current ordinance is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on March 31. But with this new ordinance, restaurants can apply for this option on a permanent basis each year.
Businesses say this is a good move for them... Especially on the heels of the end of mask mandates a couple of weeks ago.
"Because we were able to demonstrate it during the pandemic here for temporary use, it was a lot easier to show 'oh yeah it's a pretty neat idea for businesses and customers and that street-level energy," said Downtown Raleigh Alliance president and CEO Bill King. "Businesses are really excited for these. They see it as valuable for adding space to sell more, at a time when throughout the pandemic it's been hard doing indoor dining."
King and DRA staff have been working with businesses and City Council during the pandemic to advocate for the future and more permanent use of the outdoor dining feature.
"In the past couple of years, that's really what we've done. We'd eat play outside, eat outside, and we just kind of bundled up and enjoyed it," said Wake County mom Eliza Williams. "We'd absolutely love to have outdoor seating. That's one of the reasons why we come out here to The Raleigh Times."
Williams' daughter felt likewise.
"I agree with her that it's better outside, especially during times like this," said Aura Williams.