CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - It’s been one week since the City of Charleston gave the OK for restaurants to use sidewalks and extended parking lots to expand their outdoor seating for dining.
According to City of Charleston officials, 14 businesses have officially been approved to expand their restaurant beyond their doors. Nine of those are for the use of a public sidewalk and five for private property.
Currently, four businesses are awaiting review for use of private property and five are awaiting inspection of their proposed sidewalk use.
No complaints have been received and no permissions have been denied or revoked.
Roy Neal, the co-owner of El Jefe Texican Cantina, said the city has had people with the police department, fire department and Department of Livability going around to restaurants making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be.
“Restaurant owners will do what the rules are,” Neal said. “They just want a fair playing field and that's what the City Council and the Mayor have provided for us. They've given us an opportunity to try to make things during this tough time.”
Neal is a part of a task force that’s been established to advise the city on what other actions can be done to help restaurants and businesses. One of the ideas they’re discussing is possibly letting parking be free downtown at night.
“People can drive downtown and not worry about having to get a parking ticket at seven o'clock or eight o'clock,” Neal said. “That's great because then that helps us get patrons to come to our restaurant. So those are the things that I believe everybody's going to focus on and try to advise the city and Mayor on how to make things better because the restaurants want to want to thrive. We just have a new world now.”
The free parking is just a discussion right now, nothing is set in stone. But, restaurant owners are thankful the mayor and city council are willing to work with them to help boost their business.
Charleston restaurant owners to apply for temporary use of additional areas, such as private property and public sidewalks, for outdoor dining.