New outdoor restaurant seating that has sprung up on new patios, in parking lots and along sidewalks in Colorado Springs due to coronavirus restrictions may be here to stay, even after pandemic rules are lifted.
In some cases, restaurants have invested time and energy into creative outdoor seating options that customers appreciate, and city plans give owners the option to apply to keep them, Ryan said. Tefertiller, head of town planning.
“Some are well placed and don’t impact parking supply and are comfortable and desirable for users…The city and planning would like to help restaurants continue to use these spaces,” he said. declared.
The city plans to give restaurants 30 days after occupancy restrictions are fully lifted to apply to retain outdoor seating, he said.
City staff issued about 30 permits to sit in the city right-of-way, such as along sidewalks, which are mostly in downtown and Old Town Colorado, he said. The city also issued 45 outdoor permits to sit in other areas, such as parking lots, he said.
However, the need for outdoor seating to compensate for limited table space caused by pandemic restrictions is unlikely to go away anytime soon, said Doug Price, president and CEO of Visit Colorado Springs. The number of COVID-19 cases in El Paso County and the percentage of people who test positive have been increasing for the past few weeks, according to data from El Paso County Public Health.
“It doesn’t look to me like the six feet of social distancing is going to be reduced,” he said.
Even when indoor seating restrictions are lifted, Kevin Dexter, co-owner of Shuga’s on Cascade Avenue, plans to offer his guests the opportunity to be seated away from others and his new outdoor seating options include will contribute.
“I feel like the trauma of the pandemic will last well beyond 2021,” he said.
Dexter has set up a striking new teepee next to his restaurant for the winter months after reviewing igloos, tents and greenhouses. The teepee is both beautiful and has excellent air circulation, he said.
A long-term increase in outdoor table space is also welcome at Shuga’s, which had 14 tables in a pre-pandemic winter, creating longer wait times, he said. The teepee will also create welcome shelter from the rain in summer, when guests seated outside were often forced inside with their plates and glasses, he said. Dexter is also not waiting to make his seat permanent; he expects to seek a waiver to retain the seats soon, he said.
At Lucky Dumpling on Wahsatch Avenue, the new gazebo-like pergola-covered patio was a project that began after the restaurant was robbed and thieves took the restaurant’s heaters and propane about two years ago. weeks, said owner Brother Luck. HBA Cares, the nonprofit arm of the Housing and Building Association, got involved to help with construction after Luck posted about the theft on Instagram, he said.
He hopes many restaurants will keep their new outdoor seating as well, he said.
“Outdoor seating has been the lifeline of most restaurants that are still open today,” he said.
In Luck’s case, the city has already granted the pergola permission to remain in place permanently, Tefertiller said.
In Colorado’s Old Town, 25th Street between Vino Colorado Winery at The Sweet Elephant and Mother Muff’s has been blocked off for months for outdoor seating, and it’s especially helped when customers were concerned about sitting outside. inside, said Susan Quintana, owner of the winery. But the 30ft tent that was pitched in winter proved problematic, particularly because it would get caught in the wind, she said.
Long-term, she would prefer to seat customers in curbside parking spaces at tables covered with umbrellas and possibly surrounded by decorative fencing, she said. This model could allow the road to reopen and preserve the outdoor dining customers want, she said.
Quintana contracted COVID-19 in January and it made her all the more aware of preventative measures, such as social distancing and mask-wearing, she said.
“I’m very careful,” said Quintana, who is now vaccinated.
More outdoor seating is also being incorporated into new restaurants downtown, such as the new White Pie pizzeria on Nevada Avenue and a new beer garden on the same street, said Susan Edmondson, President and CEO of the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs.
“When we have more outdoor dining downtown, it’s good for both our independent restaurants and for adding vibrancy to the downtown environment,” she said.