SEATTLE – Councilmember Dan Strauss (District 6 – Northwest Seattle), Chair of the Land Use Committee, introduced legislation that extends free café street and outdoor dining permits through January 31, 2023. The program enables restaurants and other retail storefronts to utilize streets outside of their businesses for outdoor dining or displays.
In May 2021, Councilmember Strauss passed legislation to extend the pilot program until May 31, 2022. The new extension to January 31, 2023 provides small businesses with the predictability they need as permanent guidelines are finalized.
“Last year I took action to create a pathway to permanency for café streets after hearing from many small businesses about the program’s success,” said Councilmember Strauss. “The pandemic has prompted us to use our outdoor spaces in new ways, and the addition of café streets across Seattle adds vibrancy to our neighborhoods while saving so many small businesses.”
“This extension is part of our path to permanency and will give Mayor Harrell, the City Council, and Seattle Department of Transportation time to establish permanent guidelines that are right-sized and meet the needs of our city. By introducing this legislation more than four months before the current pilot expires we give restaurants and retail businesses the flexibility required to stay open and invest in outdoor spaces as COVID-19 guidelines continue to change.”
Councilmember Strauss applauded Mayor Bruce Harrell for his optimism, leadership, and support for the Café Street program and is excited to continue working with him to make this program permanent.
The extension legislation is expected to be considered by the Transportation and Seattle Public Utilities Committee on February 1 at 9:30 a.m., with a final vote by the City Council as soon as February 8 at 2:00pm.
The extension of the Cafe Streets program builds on Council’s support of small businesses during the pandemic. This includes the Bringing Business Home ordinance, which allows microbusinesses to operate in their homes; grants for small businesses through the Small Business Stabilization Fund; direct financial support for workers in the restaurant, bar and hospitality industries; and financial support for museums that were denied federal aid.