ORLANDO, Fla. – Restaurants in Orlando have benefitted from extended outdoor dining space during the pandemic.
The city is now considering a three-year extension of the Temporary Use Permit Parklet Program, which allows for parking spaces to be used to conduct business in a socially distanced manner.
Maxine Earheart, who is the owner and namesake of Maxine’s on Shine said she got nervous when she got word the city of Orlando was considering rolling back its outdoor dining extension that came into fruition during the pandemic.
“I kind of freaked out a little bit,” Earhart said.
Earhart said on Thursday she met with the city planning department. She said the city assured them they’d help guide the pathway forward to make the structures permanent.
“They have a grant program for that and that can get a little pricey. They also have a main street grant program that it’s my understanding can help us with beautification of the property,” Earhart said.
Earhart said the city has been helping guide the way.
“It’s my understanding the city is concerned about safety. As they should be, and so by asking us to meet with them and get permits, they are able to decide what can stay and what has to go,” Earhart said.
Earhart said that the city officials she’s spoken with have shown support for the outdoor dining extension.
“People want to be careful. They are looking around, paying attention. They are watching the news, so they want to eat outside,” Earhart said.
The Orlando City Commission is set to meet on Monday at 2 p.m.