Philadelphia councilmember pushing bill to make outdoor dining permanent

The temporary allowance for outdoor dining expires at the end of the year.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Philadelphia councilmember is pushing to make outdoor dining on some streets and sidewalks permanent.

Councilmember Allan Domb introduced the legislation during Thursday's City Council meeting.

"They'll have to be licensed every year, but we're trying to make this permanent because we think this is great. It is attracting people from all over," said Domb.

The councilman expects wide support from his council colleagues.

So what do some diners think?

"I think the sidewalk dining is OK. Honestly, I like to park close to where I eat, so I preferably would like to get rid of the street dining," said Milan Urquhart of West Philadelphia.

"I want people to park normal but still enjoy their food as well, so if we gotta sacrifice these spots so people could eat, cool," said Anthony Steele of North Philadelphia.

Outdoor dining, long popular across Europe, has become a part of the Center City landscape brought on by safety concerns about dining indoors during the pandemic.

The restaurant owners that survived made huge investments to attract customers, some installing heating and cooling ventilation systems.

"They invested a lot of money, and especially they invested during a time during the pandemic when the money wasn't coming in. So now is the time that they'll be able to recoup those losses. And it would be a shame to take that from everyone now," said Marc Collazzo, the executive director of the Fishtown District.

The temporary allowance for outdoor dining expires at the end of the year.

Councilmember Domb hopes to get his bill through committee and up for a full council vote soon.

The bill would then have to be signed by Mayor Jim Kenney to make it permanent.

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