City of Memphis permits restaurants to expand outdoor dining space

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The City of Memphis has released guidelines permitting restaurants to expand their outdoor dining spaces Wednesday.

Restaurants can expand outdoor dining space onto private property adjacent to the restaurant or onto a public right-of-way, such as a sidewalk or street, according to a press release from the City.

All outdoor dining expansions must adhere to the current Health Directive.

Plans may only accommodate seated dining, not standing areas.

Food preparation must remain in the kitchen; only serving is allowed outdoors, according to the press release.

No animals are allowed in the outdoor area except for service animals.

When the weather is good, most of us don’t have a problem eating outside. FOX13 spoke to Montrell and Ramona Patterson in Overton Square.

"The weather was pretty nice, so we decided to sit outside and enjoy lunch," Montrell Patterson said.

Before COVID-19, eating outdoors was more of a luxury. Now it’s become more of a necessity as many restaurants are depending on outdoor space due to safety concerns.

“I feel like this is something we were supposed to have been doing, keeping our social distance, and washing our hands. This is something we have been doing before the policy,” Montrell Patterson said.

Some diners said they appreciate the choice of eating outside occasionally, but they’d rather eat inside.

“It’s a bug actually, having to eat outside,” said Ramona Patterson. “I kind of don’t like being on the outside actually. I don’t think this is something I want to get used to personally.”

Read the full release here.