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Staff working with restaurants seeking to offer temporary/expanded outdoor dining options

On May 20, Governor Walz issued an executive order which outlines the safety requirements for the opening of restaurants. Under the order, businesses are required to have a plan in place to safely reopen to the public that reflects social distancing requirements and complies with limits imposed on the number of customers that may be served at one time in outdoor settings only. It is anticipated that businesses will need to add additional outdoor dining spaces to accommodate customers while complying with the executive orders.

In order to support the continued viability of local businesses, maximize the number of customers allowed to access restaurants in light of the State’s operating restrictions, and to exercise the creativity encouraged by the Governor’s office, the City of Woodbury will work closely with each restaurant to identify opportunities for additional outdoor capacity.

Permitting Process
For extended outdoor dining areas intending to begin operation on June 1, the City will utilize the existing ordinance language to review requests for additional outdoor dining space. A Temporary Outdoor Event permit will need to be obtained prior to public occupancy. The permit requires the restaurant to provide a site plan, requested occupancy, and fire code items. There is no fee for this permit. 

For patio space operating from June 11 and beyond, staff is working on revised ordinance language that will allow temporary outdoor events for a longer duration. This language is anticipated to be reviewed at a Special Planning Commission meeting on June 8 and the City Council will review on at the City Council Meeting on June 10.

For further information on the requirements for outdoor dining, please contact Matt Novak, senior code enforcement officer, at 651-714-3553 or matt.novak@woodburymn.gov.

Liquor Licensing
State law requires all outdoor areas that offer intoxicating beverages to be compact and contiguous in design. Staff will work closely with all restaurants to identify how compact and contiguous requirements can be met for each unique site.

If a restaurant does not currently have an outdoor dining area, their liquor license must be amended to include a provision authorizing exterior consumption of alcohol.

State law also requires appropriate insurance be provided. All on-sale liquor license inquiries related to patio service should be directed to City Clerk Kim Blaeser at kim.blaeser@woodburymn.gov.

Resources for small businesses
City staff has put together a list of emergency resources for small business owners, including information on reopening, financial assistance and more.