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Minneapolis reveals plans to allow restaurants to use outside space

Businesses can apply for a temporary expansion of premises permit.

Minneapolis is the latest city to make it easier for restaurants when they reopen outdoor space to customers on June 1.

Restaurants and other businesses in Minneapolis can apply for a temporary expansion of premises permit so they can use parking lots, parking spaces and available green spaces to serve customers, a news release says. 

Meanwhile, restaurants with existing sidewalk cafe permits can apply to expand the size of the cafe so long as the sidewalks continue to meet Americans With Disabilities Act requirements. 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey issued an emergency regulation on May 26 that instructs city staff to expedite these applications. The city is also waiving fees associated with these applications.

The city is also hosting webinars to help guide businesses through reopening during Gov. Tim Walz's Stay-Safe COVID-19 order, according to the city's website.

Last week, Walz announced a phased-in plan to reopen restaurants and bars. The plan allows them to reopen June 1 for outdoor seating with a max of 50 people at once, with no more than four people allowed at a table unless it's a family, in which case up to six people can be together.

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The plan has been criticized because some restaurants don't have outdoor space to serve customers, among other reasons.

But Minneapolis' order should help restaurants that don't already have outdoor seating serve customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other cities are working with businesses that have lost revenue due to the pandemic. Among them: the city of Shakopee is allowing businesses to use green space and parking lots to serve customers and the city of Minnetonka is issuing temporary permits for new outdoor dining areas or expanding existing outdoor areas. 

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