Platteville restaurants will have outdoor option

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Platteville restaurant owners seek city flexibility as they cope with the economic toll caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To assist restaurants as they operate with social distancing measures, city leaders will permit restaurants to set up temporary outdoor seating areas on sidewalks, parking stalls and city streets on a case-by-case basis.

“This is a win-win for everybody,” said Council Member Kathy Kopp. “Everyone is excited to get back to eating out. The concept of outdoor dining is extremely appealing to many, many people.”

The Platteville Common Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a new process in which restaurants can apply for temporary permits for outdoor seating, valid until Oct. 31.

Owners of restaurants — businesses that derive at least 50% of their income from food sales — will be able to submit applications for consideration by a committee of city staff and administrators from the police and fire departments.

Approved restaurants can offer expanded outdoor seating on sidewalks and parking stalls from 4 to 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.

The businesses will be required to install a secure boundary or barrier around the outdoor seating area and identify employees who will monitor it.

Restaurants may not exceed their current indoor maximum occupancy, and applicants must submit a plan that includes seating arrangements along with designated entrance and exits for the seating area.

Signs indicating that smoking is not permitted must be posted. The city also will require tables to be spaced at least six feet apart and seat no more than six patrons per table. Alcohol may not be consumed outdoors.

Mike Osterholz, who co-owns 2nd & Main, said he hopes to use the parking spaces outside his business for additional outdoor seating during the evening hours.

“We would be thoroughly responsible for cleanup, setup and roping off of the area,” he said. “We would do it tastefully.”

Council Member Robin Cline said she was excited by the new dining prospects.

“I know that Main Street parking is hard to come by, but we want business downtown,” she said.

The council also is considering a similar temporary outdoor seating permit for bars and will revisit the issue at its July 28 meeting.