Watch CBS News

Officials enforce Philadelphia streeteries for new permit

Officials enforce streeteries in Philadelphia for license
Officials enforce streeteries in Philadelphia for license 02:47

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Enforcement begins Monday for streeteries throughout Philadelphia. As it stands now, no restaurants have been approved for a license.

The Italian restaurant Ambrosia opened 10 months before the pandemic hit. The owner says the streetery not only saved his business but is the reason people dine there.

Now they're one of the many restaurants in the city that must tear it down to comply with the new regulations.

The Streets Department estimates the permit process could take up to 30 days before approval, and that includes paying over $1,700 for a license in addition to making necessary structural changes.

Its customers like the Galinskys are the reason the owner of the restaurant Ambrosia has held tight to keeping his streetery.

"We only go to outdoor restaurants," David Galinksy said.

But since the city's emergency outdoor dining program expired in 2021, these dining structures with features like electricity and heat no longer comply with new regulations.

"The streetery program is an outdoor dining program," Richard Montanez, the deputy commissioner of the Streets Department, said. "It is not an extension of their interior space."

As of Monday, Philadelphia streeteries without the new mandatory license must come down.

"I don't know what we're going to do," Ambrosia owner Fredi Loka said.

The city's Streets Department says 49 businesses are currently going through rigid inspections that include checking the condition, barrier safety and distance from the street and curb. So far, all are awaiting approval for an annual permit.

However, the ones without pending applications will receive final notices to apply for a permit or suffer the consequences of fines of up to $300 a day.

"All the restaurants did know that that program was going to sunset and eventually remove what was done," Montanez said.

"We had no choice but to build this otherwise we wouldn't survive, Loka said. "And right now, there are people who 100% will not eat indoors."

Like David Galinsky and his wife Beth who only dine at restaurants with streeteries due to his auto-immune illness.

"So if the city makes them take these down I'm in trouble until the spring comes and we can eat outside again," Galinksy said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.