One of the pandemic-related RecoverCovington outdoor dining areas, this one on Court Street.
But changes are in store for pandemic-related ReCov program
COVINGTON, Ky. – A special program that temporarily created additional outdoor dining and drinking areas in public spaces in Covington – including parking spaces, alleys, and medians – will be extended until Feb. 28, 2022.
Come March 1, however, there will be new rules that will curtail those areas.
The four-month extension is the latest of many expansions of the program since May 2020, when City began allowing restaurants and bars – where feasible and safe – to apply to temporarily set up tables and chairs in the public right of way. The latest extension was set to expire on Sunday, Oct. 31.
The goal was to both help those establishments survive the pandemic and protect jobs largely held by Covington residents.
About 15 restaurants and bars met the “safe and feasible” standard and secured special arrangements for outdoor areas under the temporary RecoverCovington program in places like MainStrasse Village, Roebling Point, and the Duveneck Square area of Madison Avenue. All told, about 40 restaurants and bars in Covington typically feature outdoor dining.
“Covington is well-known for its unique and authentic bars and restaurants, but when indoor seating capacities were sharply reduced by pandemic-related health restrictions, we knew that many of those were suddenly in a fight for their financial lives,” City Manager Ken Smith said. “The temporary outdoor program helped many of them and their employees get through that difficult time, and we’ve extended it several times to give them additional time to recover.”
But in some cases, the continued use of parking spots has had a negative impact on non-restaurant businesses nearby, including retailers and service providers.
With the restrictions on indoor capacity largely eliminated, on March 1, the City will revert to its previous Outdoor Tables and Seating License program.
Restaurants and bars who want to place tables and seating on public sidewalks after Feb. 28, 2022, must apply by Dec. 1 by filling out the application found HERE.
The new 2022 license does not allow the use of parking spaces or outdoor tents and heaters. Nor does it allow the use of outdoor tents and heaters after Feb. 28 – however, if restaurants had tents and heaters set up last fall and winter, they can use them again this fall and winter provided they use the same setup.
The changes were announced in a new executive order signed by Mayor Joe Meyer today that can be seen HERE.
“It’s all a balancing act,” Smith said. “We want to protect all of our businesses. We said from the beginning that the extended areas were going to be temporary, and come Feb. 28, nearly two years after they were first put in place, it’s time to restore our much-needed parking.”
For more information about the Outdoor Tables and Seating License program, email Elizabeth Glass at email@example.com.
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