Outdoor dining, take-out policies extended in R.I. until spring 2022
CRANSTON, R.I. — Rhode Island restaurants will be allowed to keep temporary outdoor dining patios and take-out windows until at least next spring.
Governor Dan McKee signed a bill into law Monday extending the pandemic-era policies until April 1, 2022.
“Without this bill, without the expansion of outdoor dining, I would have restaurants that wouldn’t be here right now,” said Rick Simone of the Federal Hill Commerce Association.
Like many restaurants, Legal Seafoods in Cranston’s Garden City Center improvised during the pandemic, setting up a tent and a make-shift patio in their parking lot.
“The extended patio really helped us and gave us the opportunity to expand our seating,” said General Manager, Gary McCann.
“It also gave guests the opportunity to come out, who didn’t feel comfortable inside,” McCann continued.
The Governor’s bill also halts any zoning requirements or penalties that a restaurant would face for making temporary modifications.
“The addition of zoning ordinances helping us use outdoor areas that we wouldn’t normally use has made all the difference in the world,” Simone explained, “whether it’s parking lots or outside street enclosures.”
Simone says he and other restauranteurs are working together to extend the policies even further, so they would expire after next summer instead of in April.
“I think anything we can do to help the restaurant industry in Rhode Island is a win-win for all of us,” said McCann