The City of Philadelphia wants to regulate outdoor dining areas, known as “streeteries.” Streeteries became a popular way for restaurants to stay open during COVID-19. However, restaurant owners say the proposed streetery regulations will crash the city’s acclaimed food scene before it properly recovers.
The term ‘streeteries’ refers to any restaurant commandeering part of a parking area for outdoor dining use. The practice became common around the country during the pandemic as traffic eased and outdoor dining demand skyrocketed. Restaurants relied heavily on these structures to remain open through the pandemic. These regulations, they claim, will cause many restaurants to close due to unforeseen costs.
New Streetery Regulations Place Onus on Strained Restaurant Industry
The regulations, announced in February, include new fees and requirements for restaurant owners. The fees include an annual license fee and a hefty security bond. At a Wednesday meeting of the Philadelphia Departments of Streets and Licenses & Inspections, many restaurateurs expressed dismay with the city’s legislative development process, claiming they had no input in the process.
Among the new requirements are restrictions on the placement and size of streeteries, as well as controversial provisions about propane heating and crash barriers. Many streeteries use propane heaters to avoid having to buy expensive generators or install underground electric wiring. The new regulations would require these more expensive solutions. Crash barriers, used to further separate diners from the street, present yet another upfront cost for restaurants.
Philadelphia restaurant owners say these new provisions will require heavy upfront spending on the part of restaurants to comply. And after a long pandemic in which the restaurant industry sustained heavy losses, many worry that few restaurants will have the capital to spend.
Philadelphians should continue to support local restaurants during these difficult times for businesses. And if you’re looking to open a restaurant, you can always become a food truck owner! We can help you get your truck where it needs to go so you can serve Philadelphians with ease.