In order to continue helping local businesses through the pandemic, the Portland City Council approved a plan during its October 19, 2020 meeting to allow restaurants and retailers to continue to operate outdoors on private property, public sidewalks, and in parking lanes until January 4, 2021.
“City staff and I explored a number of strategies and connected with other cities like Portsmouth, Madison, and Boston to learn of any best practices to implement here in Portland,” said City Manager Jon Jennings. “We are committed to doing what we can to assist businesses, but we also had to come up with a plan that ensured any wintertime outdoor business operations are conducted safely and in accordance with all public health standards, as well as allow for City crews’ expeditious clearing of snow and ice.”
City staff will begin the process of reopening closed streets on November 1, 2020, beginning with upper Exchange Street. As streets reopen, staff will work closely with abutting businesses to facilitate the continuation of outdoor operations for those that are interested.
Continuation of outdoor operations into the winter will require businesses to apply for a permit; however, all associated fees will be waived. The permit application is now available on the City website. Businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as to not disrupt any current permits they have.
One of the requirements of any business interested in continuing to operate in parking lanes is that their area of operations be surrounded by barriers to protect people, furniture, and structures during plowing operations. The City recognizes the financial hardship facing local businesses, and plan to use existing or purchase new concrete blocks for businesses operating in parking lanes.
Additional details of this program can be found here. As this is an unprecedented program for the City of Portland, staff will continue to evaluate it throughout the season and make changes as needed.