ALEXANDRIA, Va. (FOX 5 DC) - The pandemic brought on several temporary changes to help make life easier, like outdoor dining and streeteries. The city of Alexandria now wants to create guidelines in order for businesses to make them permanent.
Alexandria started their outdoor dining program on King Street as a temporary and quick response to COVID-19 to financially help restaurants. Now, if businesses want to continue with it, they have to request a permit by the end of next month.
Alexandria says there have been no rules with outdoor dining for more than two years but now restaurants will have to make sure their streeteries follow a specific set of guidelines.
This includes providing a layout of how they plan to utilize the space, information on how it will be ADA accessible and making sure fire and light protocols are met.
The President and CEO of the Economic Development Partnership says this will allow residents, visitors and the business community to dine and shop outside in safer, attractive and more permanent facilities starting Oct. 1.
Alexandria residents seem to be happy about the idea.
"Especially on a day like this, it’s a beautiful day, not humid – I think it’s wonderful we get to experience the fresh air and I feel safer since the pandemic, still getting over the pandemic," says Rhonda Golder.
"I think it's been great. I think it has really helped the businesses over the course of the pandemic which is still going on unfortunately and yeah, I love it," says Jonathan Sherman.
There will be no cost for the space this year, but a fee will kick in starting Jan. 1.
Restaurants interested in getting a permit can visit the city of Alexandria's website and fill out the application before the end of September.
In Montgomery County, streeteries will run through at least Labor Day. Officials don't have a decision on whether the program will continue after that.