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Vienna Officials Extend Outdoor Commercial Use Waiver to 2021

Restaurants and businesses in the Town of Vienna can take advantage of outside spaces for the next seven months.

Last night, the Vienna Town Council voted to extend a temporary waiver on commercial activity outside in hopes of helping local businesses stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Businesses are utilizing parking lots and sidewalks in hopes of attracting more customers as they operate under state and local rules capacity restrictions and social distancing guidelines. As the pandemic continues, customers are gauging how safe they feel inside or outside — with some people opting to limit their time inside businesses.

“We have got to do this to keep our businesses going,” Councilmember Howard Springsteen said.

The Vienna Town Council first approved the emergency ordinance on June 1 and then readopted it on June 15. Before the town officials voted last night, the temporary waiver was set to last until Sept. 30.

Now, town businesses will have until March 31, 2021 to apply for and use temporary emergency outdoor commercial activity permits, which Town Manager Mercury Payton authorizes. Payton can also waive regulations for signage and conditional use permits for outdoor dining activities.

After Councilmember Nisha Patel pushed the town to consider a similar waiver for non-commercial zones, Colbert suggested calling for an emergency session on Friday for the Vienna Town Council to consider the proposal.

Patel said that she knows of private schools that would like to use outdoor space for teaching. “If you can get the kids out of the classroom and out into the open air, I think is safer in general,” Patel said.

Photo via Vienna Business Association/Facebook

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