Detroit expands outdoor dining program


  • East Eats

The City of Detroit has moved to expand outdoor dining in an effort to support local restaurants and keep diners safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The new program will run from Dec. 1 to April 1, 2021, and will feature more domes and tent-like seating options for restaurants.

“Our local restaurants continue to face challenges as a result of COVID-19 related restrictions on sit-down dining capacity," said Ron Brundidge, the city's director of public works, adding the program "will give businesses an opportunity to service patrons in a safe manner."

Indoor dining has been identified as a hotspot of coronavirus transmission. Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently suspended indoor dining service until early December in an effort to mitigate rising case counts in the state.

The new program will allow for sidewalks, street parking, and private parking lots to be converted to outdoor dining and retail space to support businesses. Additional streets will be blocked off and designated “cafe and retail zones.”

Enclosed outdoor seating will be a key part of the program, but the city has provided specific guidelines including capacity, heating specifications, and specific floor plans.

Additionally, only people who reside in the same residence can eat in a dome together.

Businesses interested in applying for the winter program can do so at

Applications are subject to an eight-day approval process.

Related: 25 Detroit area restaurants with igloos, tents, and heated outdoor seating

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