Closure of Milwaukee Street to create outdoor dining space approved



Restaurants that wish to add more outdoor dining space will be able to start applying to a new city program on Wednesday.

Applications for the Active Streets for Businesses program will be posted on Wednesday morning. Thanks to the program approved by the Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday, restaurants will be able to add more outdoor seating using sidewalks, parking lanes and traffic lanes.

The resolution to create an Active Streets for Business program was adopted on Tuesday with 14 yeses and one abstention from Alderman Chantia Lewis.

The program will allow the creation of an additional outdoor dining space when restaurants reopen following the lifting of government stay-at-home orders to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

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“As the City of Milwaukee focuses on the safe continuation and resumption of businesses and operations for all sectors of our economy, Active Streets for Businesses offers businesses and customers an expanded option for increased physical distance while by being in well ventilated outdoor areas, ”said the mayor. Tom Barrett in a press release.

Restaurants and bars in Milwaukee were allowed to reopen on June 5 with limited capacity to allow for social distancing. These companies had only been able to offer take-out food since implementing a statewide stay-at-home order in March.

Eating with seats outside is safer than eating indoors, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

More outdoor seating could be created on sidewalks and through the city’s parking program, which replaces street parking with seasonal outdoor spaces. The program could also temporarily close commercial streets, possibly in the evenings and on weekends.

Restaurants should create barriers to block traffic from the new rest areas.

The Active Streets for Business program is suspending code and permit requirements to allow the city’s expedited approval for restaurants to use the streets and sidewalks for alfresco dining. The fees would be waived.

The program would run until November 15.

The program does not allow for neighborhood parties, pub crawls or street festivals. These events have mostly been canceled for months due to the pandemic.

Sarah Hauer can be reached at [email protected] or on Instagram @HauerSarah and Twitter @SarahHauer. Subscribe to his weekly Be MKE newsletter at



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