City of Detroit expanding outdoor dining program through April 1

Posted at 5:00 AM, Nov 23, 2020

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The City of Detroit announced Monday morning it is extending its outdoor dining program through the winter, giving people safe dining options amid new COVID-19 restrictions.

"Open Detroit" was first launched in June to help restaurants open while keeping visitors safe.

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According to the city, the program was favorable among both restaurant owners and patrons, and with the new restrictions on indoor dining, the city decided it would extend the program from Dec. 1 through April 1, 2021.

“Our local restaurants continue to face challenges as a result of COVID-19 related restrictions on sit-down dining capacity," said DPW Director Ron Brundidge. "With these restrictions continuing into the cold weather months, the extension of the Open Detroit program will give businesses an opportunity to service patrons in a safe manner. Our hope is that restaurants take advantage of this opportunity, and most importantly that residents safely support these businesses."

The program allows sidewalks, on-street parking spots and private parking lots to temporarily close and convert into uses for seating, expanded outdoor dining areas and retail space.

There are also a number of cafe and retail zones where the city will close certain portions of an entire street for the entire duration of the program.

Permits for the summer outdoor dining program will expire on Nov. 30, and restaurants looking to apply for the winter program must apply online at, including those that have summer permits.

According to the city, there have to be additional precautions and planning in the winter, and businesses looking to apply will have 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

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

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