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Solomon Expedites Restaurant Outdoor Seating Permits

Warwick City Hall
Warwick City Hall
Warwick City Hall.

WARWICK, RI  —  Mayor Joseph J. Solomon’s new executive order allows temporary outdoor seating permits for restaurants, provided safety guidelines are followed.

“This order has been in the works for quite some time,” said Emily Martineau, Solomon’s press secretary.

Temporary outdoor seating permits may be applied for through the Warwick Police Department Licensing Division at 401-468-4340-4341.

The order is intended to give restaurants time to prepare as the state nears the May 18 date for allowing outdoor seating  at restaurants.

Starting that Monday, restaurants will be able to begin limited outdoor dining in addition to their take-out, delivery, and drive-through operations. Restaurants will be required to operate under the following new regulations, among others:

  • Dining will be by reservation only and groups may not exceed five people, in accordance with guidance on social gathering.
  • Tables must be at least eight feet apart or separated by barriers, and no more than 20 tables will be allowed in any outdoor space.
  • One-time-use paper menus, digital menus, or chalkboard menus will be recommended.
  • Condiments and utensils will either be single-use or sanitized between uses.
  • All high-traffic areas will have to be frequently cleaned. Tables and chairs will be sanitized in between parties.
  • All employees must wear face coverings, and all customers must wear face coverings when they are not eating.
  • Self-service food stations like buffets and salad bars will be prohibited.
  • Cashless and contactless payment methods will be encouraged. Pens and payment stations will be frequently cleaned.
  • For now, no valet services will be allowed. Customers will be asked to park their own cars.

Solomon’s executive order allows temporary outdoor seating for restaurants in Warwick as long as they are in compliance with related safety regulations. All businesses must adhere to State guidance on social distancing, limiting the number of people in a building or area, wearing cloth face coverings, rigorous cleaning and sanitizing measures, and prohibiting any employees or customers who have any symptoms of illness.

Among the safety guidelines are the following:

  1. Seating must be protected from vehicles and traffic by a barrier that is deemed sufficient by the Building Official to prevent motor vehicle impact.
  2. There shall be a minimum three feet six inches (3’ 6”) wide unobstructed and clear passageway for pedestrians on the sidewalk.
  3. Nothing shall hang over the sidewalk (umbrellas, signs etc.) below seven (7) feet.

“I am anxious to give businesses the green light to move forward with less restrictions, while remaining cognizant of the need to keep COVID-19 at bay. I’m convinced that with the creativity and ingenuity that Warwick is known for, we’ll strike that delicate balance,” Solomon said.

Kim Donahue-Bonn, co-owner of Kim & Steve’s Masthead Grill, which has been closed due to the challenges of running a take-out operation, the only service restaurants have been allowed during the pandemic so far, said she appreciates the Mayor and Governor’s efforts to allow outdoor seating, but said there has to be still much more flexibility in permitting if restaurants are going to survive.

She said her experience tells her many restaurants will not make it through the crisis.

The Warwick outdoor restaurant seating executive order is embedded at the following link.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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