The City of Fort Collins will continue to allow expanded outdoor dining in the public right-of-way into the future to help local businesses during COVID-19.
The expanded dining areas will be permitted until the end of COVID-19 related emergency orders, which are currently in effect indefinitely. The areas are meant to allow for increased physical distancing for dining and retail patrons.
Since May, restaurants, bars, breweries, retail, and other similar establishments have been able to apply to the City to open an outdoor seating or retail area on a sidewalk or in public parking spaces in accordance with state guidelines.
Outdoor expansion areas are reviewed by the City and must meet accessibility requirements, including maintaining sidewalk access. The City provides barriers for the outdoor area if it is in public parking spaces, and businesses provide their own furnishings. Snow removal within the expansion area will be the responsibility of the business.
In other areas of Fort Collins that are less dense or where a business has its own parking lot, businesses have been able to apply for a variance from City parking rules to create an outdoor dining or retail area in their own parking lot or property.
Businesses that wish to continue expanded dining and retail may do so but need to submit plans to the City should they add features like heaters for the colder months.
The outdoor dining/retail area program was originally scheduled to run through the end of September. City Manager Darin Atteberry authorized the continuation of the emergency order on Sept. 24. A copy of that order is attached to this press release.