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Farmington Looking at Ways to Join Northville With Outdoor Dining Shelters To Help Restaurants

CBS Detroit - With recent restrictions by the State of Michigan banning indoor dining, it has been a tough pill for the restaurant industry to follow. With many restauranteurs saying they cannot afford another round of closures like earlier in the year. Some restaurants in Michigan have even decided to buck the restrictions and stay open, opening themselves up to fines and in many cases revocation of their liquor and/or food licenses.

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Towns and cities across the state have had to adjust to allow their businesses the space they need to serve their customers to just stay afloat. Tough to do during winter in Michigan. Northville has established Heat in the Street, which the Northville Downtown Development Authority says on their website will comprise the construction of two types of structures that will allow people to consume food and drinks in heated outdoor shelters. Northville also had success this summer with their social district, which shutdown certain downtown Northville streets for businesses to have expanded outdoor seating and featured live music and events at certain times.

Farmington is hearing the hardships of its businesses as well. In an article by Hometown Life, the Farmington City Council unanimously approved the reading of a new ordinance amendment that would allow the city to build dining igloos in the city's streets for restaurant patrons to eat in what is expected to be domed and heated temporary structures.

New York City Restaurants Resume Indoor Service At 25% Capacity
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 23: Igloo dining tents are set up in Rockefeller Center on November 23, 2020 in New York City. The pandemic continues to burden restaurants and bars as businesses struggle to thrive with evolving government restrictions and social distancing plans which impact keeping businesses open yet challenge profitability. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)

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According to Councilman Steve Schneemann, it would offer relief to restaurant owners. Saying that they already lost one business, the Browndog Barlor, to COVID-19 restrictions. Browndog Barlor also has a location in downtown Northville that remains open, which serves food and ice cream.

For the structures to meet COVID-19 guidelines which currently ban indoor dining, will likely have an open flap so patrons don't breathe any lingering air from previous diners according to Farmington's City Manager David Murphy. Some council members were cautious about the proposed ordinance. "I want to make sure we have provisions in place for ventilation between uses, whatever that looks like … I want to make sure we address that before we (take a final) vote on this," Councilwoman Maria Taylor told Hometown Life.

The final vote is expected to happen at the council meeting slated for December 21 at 7 pm. If that happens the planning will then take place for the city to be in compliance with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services guidelines. Farmington also created its own social district in October which allows people to eat and drink alcoholic drinks in established areas outside, and also authorized businesses with liquor licenses to serve people alcoholic to-go beverages as-well.

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© 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Information from the Hometown Life contributed to this report.

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