It goes without saying that COVID-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge to our residents and our economy. This pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on the restaurant industry, having been unable to serve indoor or outdoor dining customers since March 23, 2020. I know how devastating that has been to local restaurants and their employees.

Now that Dane County has entered into Phase 1 of its Forward Dane Phased Reopening Plan, the City of Madison has created a “Streatery” Restaurant Recovery Program to allow expanded outdoor dining. I am temporarily allowing restaurants to expand outdoor dining onto the public sidewalks, on-street parking areas, or in privately owned parking lots through a streamlined administrative approval process, enabling restaurants to expand their capacity while maintaining physical distancing requirements.

Our new Madison Streatery Program is a direct response to requests from neighborhoods and small businesses to create new opportunities for outdoor dining, placemaking, and physical distancing. Since restaurants can only use 25% of their capacity indoors, it makes sense to open up these new spaces for seating so we can enjoy the summer with great food, and support the local businesses that make our City so special —all while maintaining the good practices to prevent community spread of COVID-19. The sustainability of our small business community is important, and this is just one way the City can help.

I am appreciative of the partnership we have with the Central Business District (BID). Tiffany Kenney, Executive Director shared: “We’re looking forward to working with the City to find creative ways to enable restaurants to get back to business. I don’t know what could be more fun than spending time at an outdoor café in downtown Madison.”

This program is temporary and will expire on October 25, 2020 or the date that Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) allows restaurants to return to normal operations, whichever is sooner. This program is subject to all local, State and Federal Heath Orders, laws and guidelines. Further guidelines and information will be forthcoming as the details of the program become finalized. I look forward to working with the Madison Common Council on this and other important changes as we support and assist our residents and businesses in the recovery of their livelihoods.

The “Streatery Program” is not intended to create gathering or social spaces for larger crowds and/or events, and only allow restaurant patrons to be seated in accordance with physical distancing requirements to increase capacity and support our local restaurants.

Please be patient as the program is rolled out and continue to follow guidelines to maintain your health and safety and that of others, including wait staff at area restaurants. I look forward to being able to enjoy our wonderful City outdoors and support our local restaurants.

Additional information for the program will be available here.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Mayor's Office and a link back to the original post.