SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Mayor Ben Walsh announced updated guidelines for outdoor dining during the winter for the city of Syracuse via press release Monday.
According to the release, the updated ‘Winter Dining Guide’ extends the outdoor dining season for restaurants and bars with already approved outdoor sidewalk cafe permits. These establishments may continue offering outdoor seating until further notice.
Additionally, when seating materials are on the sidewalk, businesses will be responsible for clearing the snow and ensuring a minimum six-foot path for pedestrian use at all times. This path too, should be clear from ice and snow.
The guidelines also allow for temporary outdoor structures and outdoor heaters to keep patrons safe and comfortable while dining outside in the cold and possibly snowy weather.
Initially, outdoor seating was introduced in the summer of 2020 by the city to aid restaurants who were struggling during the COVID pandemic. Extra seating outside allowed for business to host more customers, due to indoor capacity limits.
Margaritas Mexican Cantina on Walton Street in downtown Syracuse took advantage of the program greatly and up until about two weeks ago, still had outdoor seating available, but as winter approaches, they’re packing it up.
“We’re done for now, just because it’s been so cold and wet,” said Noelle Langdon, a server at the restaurant. “We were doing it- we were trying to push it as long as we could, but it’s not happening anymore.”
Heat lamps and outdoor vestibules are welcomed, with proper permits, between Oct. 15 and Mar. 31 of next year, but restaurants like Margaritas don’t have those resources.
“If we had those [heat lamps], or something with like a roof, I would say go for it, because I’ve dined like that and it’s fine, but we don’t have that,” said Langdon.
Though the outdoor dining season appears to have come to an end for the year, indoor seating in Armory Square restaurants like Margaritas and Pastabilites, are still available with COVID protocols in place, according to management.