Executive Order Allows Lincoln Restaurants to Expand Outdoors

May 29, 2020, 5:20 p.m. ·


Listen To This Story


The city of Lincoln will allow restaurants to expand into outdoor spaces, including parking lots and sidewalks, under a new executive order from Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird.

City officials want to allow restaurants to increase their capacity while still following social distancing requirements. The state directed health measure requires restaurants to operate at 50% capacity and with tables six feet apart.

Restaurants can apply for a permit to expand into parking lots, sidewalks, and potentially low-traffic streets. Under the order the review process will be shortened and some parking requirements will be waived.

Dan Marvin is director of urban development. He said more action will be needed to allow restaurants to serve alcohol in their extended outdoor spaces. One option involves special designated licenses, or SDL's.

"That would then extend into these areas that we’re talking about so that you would actually be able to have a burger and a beer," Marvin said. "That process currently exists but if you apply for an SDL the SDL only runs for six days. So then after that period the license would expire and you wouldn’t be able to operate in that area.”

The city hopes to extend the time limit on SDLs for the summer months. Mason said the restaurant industry has generally reacted positively to the new executive order.