(CBS DETROIT) – Detroit is extending its outdoor dining program, Open Detroit, to help restaurants impacted by the new Covid-19 dining restrictions.

The program begins Dec. 1 and will run through April 1, 2021. Applications for the winter program are now open and can be submitted here.

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Open Detroit will allow for for sidewalks, street parking and private parking lots to be temporarily converted for uses such as seating, which will expand outdoor dining areas and retail space.

The city has also designated a select number of Café & Retail Zones where the city will close selected portions of an entire street. These zones provide the maximum space to serve businesses in a concentrated area and will be installed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for the duration of the program.

Social distancing requirements as well as ADA clearances must be followed.

Enclosed outdoor seating is permissible under the following guidelines:

  • Tents can only have one single side of the tent down. Tents with more than one side down are not allowed.
  • “Igloo” style seating is allowed but must only sit one household at a time. A household is defined as a group of persons living together in a shared dwelling with common kitchen or bathroom facilities.

Permits currently for the summer outdoor dining program are set to expire on Nov. 30, 2020.

All restaurants looking to apply for the winter program must apply online, including current summer permit holders.

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The city says due to the unique circumstances winter weather brings, there will be additional precautions and planning that must occur before the winter operations can be launched.

Business looking to participate in the winter program will need to have the following ready when applying:

  • If a heating apparatus is going to be used, the specifications of that apparatus must be submitted at time of application.
  • This submittal shall also include the number of units and location of units.
  • If a tent is proposed to be used, the manufacturer specifications, sizing and weighting must be supplied at time of applications.
  • A floor plan for seating must be provided at time of application for any partially or fully enclosed seating areas outside of the building
  • The review period for winter applications is up to 8 days for approvals.
  • Once applicant has received official approval in the form of an Open Detroit- Winter Edition permit, applicant can then begin to assemble space.

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