Norfolk has plan to help restaurants with outdoor dining during a coronavirus winter

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A plan to help restaurants in Norfolk survive the winter months is moving forward. 

With the coronavirus pandemic, more people are turning to outdoor dining, but because of the cold temperatures some worry business at restaurants in the mermaid city may plummet. Now they’re hoping federal funds can help keep the cash flowing.

10 On Your Side’s Brett Hall reported Tuesday night that the Norfolk city manager approved the use of $500,000 from the city CARES Act funds to help Norfolk restaurants during the pandemic.

Council loved the idea. In fact, it was applauded.

The OpenNorfolk team was created by the city to help businesses stay open and follow health precautions during the pandemic.

Mel Price, a member of the OpenNorfolk team, shared details of expanding outdoor seating. This could mean shutting down part of Granby Street to allow restaurants to set up more permanent outdoor tables. Some parking lots have already been converted into dining areas.

OpenNorfolk’s “Streatery” program proposal also includes $50,000 to buy outdoor heaters for outdoor dining, $30,000 for signs and outdoor dining equipment and $20,000 for the Streatery program.

The permanent outdoor seating can last until Dec. 31, 2022.

There are a few rules restaurants still have to follow, including: outdoor dining ends at 11 p.m. in most of the city, and after midnight in Downtown, dining must be on a street with a speed limit of 25 mph or less, and it must be able to be removed in one day.

The program does not have to be approved by council. 

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