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Temporary outdoor dining program in Cleveland extended to November 2021

WKYC-TV Cleveland logo WKYC-TV Cleveland 4/13/2021 Dave "Dino" DeNatale, Marisa Saenz

Restaurants and bars in Cleveland will continue to be able to expand their outdoor dining areas throughout the summer and into the fall.   

According to a release from the city, permits issued for a Temporary Expansion Area (TEA) will now be valid through November 1, 2021.

The ordinance, first passed by council in June of 2020, permits the use of private parking lots, streets and other public rights-of-way, including onstreet parking areas and parklets (Temporary Expansion Area), as outdoor restaurant space.

RELATED: Cleveland City Council extends outdoor dining seating in streets, parking lots for bars and restaurants through June 2021

As our Marisa Saenz reported over the weekend, several of Cleveland's restaurants are already anticipating a surge in outdoor demand as the weather warms up. 

RELATED: With patio season ahead, restaurants are expanding outdoor dining

"It was probably the most perfect patio day," Great Lakes Brewing Company manager Allison Pryce said during last week's beautiful weather.

"[Outside dining] has its own vibe, and people want to feel that," Nicole Baker, experience specialist of Betts, added.

And businesses are bracing for just that. Betts in downtown Cleveland and Great Lakes in Ohio City are just two restaurants catering to the outdoor  business they're expecting.

"Patio seating was always a big thing for us," Pryce told 3News. "We actually set up our patio today with new furniture."

"Without those greenhouses, there is more space for us to have two more tables out on the patio," Baker said. 

Betts Restaurant, which opened inside the Kimpton Schofield Hotel off of East 9th street last August, added outdoor greenhouses to their patio during the winter months. The greenhouses were able to be booked in 2 hour time blocks with smaller ones that seat 2 people and larger ones that can accommodate up to 6 people. Each greenhouse is sanitized in between each use and comes with a space heater to keep the dining area above 65 degrees.

"[Taking a few of those away] just opens up a few more seats," Baker explained.

One problem that restaurants are facing right now: Staffing shortages.

"We really can't get back to any kind of normal until we increase the amount of staff," Pryce said.

Homa Moheimani with the Ohio Restaurant Association says such staff shortages are happening all over the state and the nation. 

RELATED: Restaurants struggling to find workers to meet resurging demand

"Filling positions that are open and available are incredibly difficult to fill," she said. "Employees throughout the pandemic have shifted to other industry sectors, because of those unemployment benefits [or people are reluctant to come back because of safety reasons]."

Regardless, managers said more recruiting more staff is nonnegotiable.

"We need that before we can open up all those extra seats," Pryce said.

Last summer, Great Lakes blocked Market Avenue for more, socially distanced seating. Pryce says conversations are already in the works with the city to bring that back again this year.


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