City: Restaurants planning to open for outdoor seating should submit plans, reach out for assistance

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MANCHESTER, NH — The City of Manchester announced Wednesday the opportunity for restaurants to safely open outdoor seating on May 18, 2020, including expanding service to sidewalks and privately-owned outdoor parking lots. Additionally, restaurants with existing sidewalk encumbrance permits can extend food service in front of adjacent businesses with the written permission of that property owner.

“Our goal is to be as flexible as possible in helping our restaurants maximize their seating capacity while still meeting social distancing requirements,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “While the COVID-19 pandemic has halted normal operation of our vibrant restaurant community, the City is committed to working with our restaurants to ensure they’re able to open up safely. It’s required us to be creative and think differently to make sure we’re doing whatever we can to support our local economy.”

“As restaurants and hospitality businesses begin to reopen and ramp up operations, providing them tools and options to adapt to the Stay-at-Home order and other public health restrictions is critical to their recovery. The City expanding outdoor dining space options for restaurants through the use of private parking lots and additional sidewalk space is a positive step,” said Mike Skelton, President & CEO, Greater Manchester Chamber. “We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with the City on developing the guidance on how restaurants can utilize these new options and the ongoing discussions of adding additional options and flexibility as the public health situation improves.”

As New Hampshire continues to reopen, the City of Manchester is looking at other opportunities to assist local restaurants and businesses in the Central Business District to increase outdoor space for dining and shopping. Ideas under consideration include expanding seating to parking spaces and partial closure of Elm Street on weekends, while at the same time adhering to social and physical distancing requirements.

Restaurants should contact the Manchester City Clerk’s Office with any questions or to submit outdoor seating proposals.