If you, as a restaurant owner has gotten this message, don’t panic.
PBOT sent out the following email to restaurants with sidewalk cafe permits:
Hi 2020 Sidewalk Café Permit Holder,
Thank you so much for your patience while we are navigating all county, state, and national COVID-19 guidelines regarding the City of Portland Sidewalk Café permits.
When Multnomah County reopens and enters Phase I, café dining on most sidewalks will not allow enough space to accommodate physical distancing rules. We must prioritize pedestrian travel on the sidewalks and clear any obstructions that will not meet physical distancing requirements. Sadly, this includes your sidewalk café tables.
We have made the difficult decision to suspend ALL Sidewalk Café permits through October 1, 2020. All previously issued 2020 Sidewalk Café permits are now revoked and invalid, and we are no longer accepting any new sidewalk café applications.
We understand that you are trying to keep your business open and your staff employed. The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has launched the Safe Streets Initiative in response to the Covid-19 public health crisis. One pillar of this initiative is the Safe Streets |Healthy Businesses Initiative, with a Healthy Businesses permit, which helps businesses use more public space to conduct business safely. This is a free program that will allow businesses such as yours to operate in the right of way differently than your original Sidewalk Café permit, within certain parameters. This means you can apply to do things such as placing your outdoor café furniture in parking spaces. We encourage you to coordinate with other businesses in your area. Check with your neighboring businesses to see if they also need public right-of-way. Work with these other businesses or organizations to determine how much space you all need and how the public right-of-way could be used to benefit everyone.
Please visit this link for more information about the Safe Streets | Healthy Businesses Initiative:
We understand that you may have already paid your sidewalk café fees for the 2020 calendar year. The amount you have paid will be transferred to your 2021 Sidewalk Café renewal fees and you will not be charged for your 2021 permit renewal.
We know this is an overwhelming time for you, so if you have any questions or concerns, please let us know. We are here to help.
OregonLive posted an update this afternoon:
On Friday, Portland transportation communications director John Brady said the message sent to sidewalk permit holders was a mistake.
“We made a mistake,’ Brady said. “We need to own that and make it right.”
Brady said the permit holders, which typically numbers around 800 citywide, have done nothing wrong and the city did not mean to give the impression it wants to reduce seating capacity outdoors.
According to Brady, they will be sending out another notice as soon as possible.
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