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Restaurants In Manchester Can Use Private Parking Lots, Adjacent Sidewalks For Outdoor Dining

Chris Spielmann/Wikimedia Commons

Manchester is easing the process for restaurants to set up outdoor seating, including using sidewalk space in front of adjacent properties.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants in the state will be allowed to serve customers outdoors beginning May 18, though tables will need to be spaced at least six feet apart.

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Many restaurants located in downtown areas, however, say the math to reopen in-person dining may not make sense due to limited access to outdoor space.

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig announced Wednesday that restaurants in that city will be allowed to set up tables in privately owned parking lots, as well as on the sidewalk in front of neighboring businesses, as long as they have permission from those property owners.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has halted normal operation of our vibrant restaurant community, the City is committed to working with our restaurants to ensure they’re able to open up safely,” said Craig in a statement.  “It’s required us to be creative and think differently to make sure we’re doing whatever we can to support our local economy.”

Restaurants in Manchester are required to submit a diagram to the city outlining where it plans to locate tables.

Along with the six foot space between tables, Gov. Chris Sununu’s reopening guidelines also require servers to wear masks, and diners to make reservations to ensure there is no crowding.

Manchester officials are also still considering a request to close Elm Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, to traffic during weekends this summer. The move would allow restaurants to set up tables in the street, however there are concerns about its impact on parking and access to other businesses.

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