Updated Dec 3, 2021 - Business

City Council sends bill making some streeteries permanent to Kenney

A scene of Rouge's streetery in Rittenhouse Square from September.
A scene of Rouge's streetery in Rittenhouse Square from September. Photo courtesy of Rouge

Restaurant streeteries that popped up during the pandemic can remain permanent fixtures in Philly — but only in some areas of the city.

Driving the news: City Council passed a bill on Thursday that allows restaurants to continue operating outdoor dining service on street parking spaces in broad swaths of the city.

  • That includes Center City, Fishtown, Main Street in Manayaunk, Old City and East Passyunk, among others.

Yes, but: Restaurants and other businesses outside of those pre-selected areas must get approval for a streetery through legislation, which means winning the support of their district legislator.

Flashback: Philly began offering temporary permits for sidewalk cafes and streeteries in response to the coronavirus pandemic last year.

  • The city has issued 780 permits for sidewalk cafes and streeteries during the pandemic, said city Department of Licenses and Inspections spokesperson Karen Guss.

Between the lines: The outdoor dining options became lifelines for restaurants, which allowed them to offer in-person dining when COVID restrictions were in effect.

What they're saying: Councilmember Allan Domb, the main sponsor of the bill who had initially proposed to make streeteries permanent citywide, worked with Council President Darrell Clarke on the newly approved legislation.

  • Clarke told Axios streeteries in some areas have led to limited parking and raised accessibility issues.
  • "There were significant swaths of residential communities where these things simply don't work," he said.

Of note: Council members also passed legislation that allows the sidewalk cafe permits issued during the pandemic to remain in place through 2022.

  • City approvals for outdoor dining streeteries and cafes would have expired at the end of the year.

What's next: The legislation will go to Mayor Jim Kenney for his signature or veto.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Councilmember Allan Domb was the main sponsor of the newly approved streeteries bill.

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