ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Petersburg city officials have told restaurants that in order to keep their parking space dining programs, they must apply for a temporary use permit by Friday, May 13, or move their tables and chairs by Sunday.
Successful applications will allow restaurants to continue seating and serving patrons in designated street parking areas for at least six more months.
City officials have said they wanted to keep the program but because it was under the local emergency order nullified by Gov. Ron DeSantis, its future is in the air. The city's expansion of outdoor dining into the street helped restaurants lower indoor capacity, keep people safe and not lose customers through the pandemic.
"With only having seven tables on the inside, and these two extra tables on the outside, I mean it's almost 20 percent of our business has been enhanced because we can actually seat people outside,” said Terry Moberly of Five Bucks Drinkery along Central Avenue. “"It's been a blessing for, you know, for our needs and our purposes just to keep us afloat."
Another city representative said council is awaiting legal guidance before they move forward with a permanent solution.
"I think one of the beautiful things is, yes, it's enhanced business which is just by the nature of having a table, but I actually think it's enhanced the culture and the vibe and the energy that runs along here," Moberly said.
According to an email from the city, restaurants that don’t apply for a permit by Friday must move their tables and chairs by Sunday ahead of the city moving concrete barricades on Monday.
Applications must be turned in at the Zoning Center on 4th Street N. There is a $40 application fee.
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