Portland City Council extends outdoor dining in public spaces

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 6:39 AM EST
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PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) - Portland’s City Council approved a plan Monday night to extend outdoor dining in public spaces as the program was set to expire.

The extension is part of an overall extension of the city’s emergency proclamation that now continues through May 10.

The city extended outdoor dining on public sidewalks and parking lanes back in October in an effort to help local businesses through the pandemic.

Before Monday night’s meeting, some restaurants said they will close for the time being, or they’re switching over to takeout only during the winter.

Other restaurants, such as TIQA in the Old Port, are taking advantage of existing property they have, which means they don’t have to stop outdoor service.

“Everyone is struggling. I think a lot of people have moved to takeout and delivery model pretty much for the wintertime. Some of the spaces are just too small to actually handle indoor dining. We’re fortunate in the sense that we do have a fair amount of space, but honestly, most people really do want to dine out or want takeout or delivery. The model has shifted,” said Deen Haleem, who owns TIQA with his wife.

Even with outdoor seating, Haleem said revenue in December was down by at least 70%.

“It is an advantage. It’s one we’ve never taken advantage of before. We never thought people would want to sit outside in January in February but, obviously, times have changed,” he said.

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