Outdoor dining in Leesburg is here to stay, thanks to a town council vote Tuesday that made the once-temporary option for restaurant owners permanent.
Like much of the country, outdoor dining in Leesburg was enacted out of necessity in the wake of COVID-19 mandates. Those options, however, became an unexpected hit in many places, including Old Town Alexandria, where a waterfront area that was once open to automobile traffic has since been closed off for pedestrians and outdoor dining. Now, Leesburg is following suit.
“This is one of the things we did that saved many of our downtown businesses, our businesses period,” Leesburg Mayor Kelly Burk told the Loudoun Times Mirror. “I know that many of them are very excited and want to continue to use the tents, so I look forward to having this come back.”
Gone, meanwhile, will be any 6 feet social distancing requirements that initially accompanied outdoor dining. Fences encompassing dining areas and at least 900 square feet of space inside a dining tent, however, will be required. Also mandated will be a $100 annual fee paid by owners for an outdoor dining permit, according to the Loudoun Times Mirror.
“[Outdoor dining] helps us out a lot,” Spanky’s Shenanigans Pub general manager Kolt Fox told the Times Mirror. “It doesn’t matter how hot it’s been, we have people who want to sit outside.”
There was some concern about outdoor dining space resulting in more limited parking but those reservations were assuaged, the Times Mirror reported, by policy language that requires businesses to provide at least one parking space per four outdoor dining seats.
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