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Cedar Rapids accepting applications from businesses for temporary outdoor service areas

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 10:31 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - An offering launched last summer to help businesses, especially restaurants, in Cedar Rapids during the pandemic is back again.

The City of Cedar Rapids is now accepting applications at no cost for temporary outdoor service area permits, which allow businesses to serve customers on private property and public sidewalk areas, such as on temporary patios, without having a permanent permit.

“There’s a list of requirements that they need, and as long as they just tell us they’re going to do that, they’re good to go. They can fill out the permit, submit it to us, and they have one year to have their temporary outdoor service area,” Ken DeKeyser Cedar Rapids Development Services Manager, said.

Only six businesses applied last year, which DeKeyser attributed, in part, to the temporary permit not being offered until the summer. But so far this year, four applications are already approved or pending.

“I think we’re going to see an uptick of the same type of businesses opening early, maybe late March, early April, instead of the late June like when we had set it up,” DeKeyser said.

Old Neighborhood Pub in northeast Cedar Rapids opened a temporary patio in part of its parking lot last year to serve customers while pandemic-related restrictions on restaurants and bars were in place.

“We made it last year all the way until November, so it was really helpful to be able to have that space to make sure that everybody was safe and not too close to each other indoors,” Andrea Vanhoeck, Old Neighborhood Pub’s owner and president, said.

Vanhoeck said they are looking to reopen the patio in time for St. Patrick’s Day but will need to repair winter and derecho damage sustained in the last several months.

“If the weather permits, we will open as soon as possible,” Vanhoeck said. “We would like to start shoveling and put some ice melt down to get that moving.”

Businesses, including restaurants, bars, shops, and fitness centers, can apply for a temporary outdoor service area permit by clicking here. They can also contact the City of Cedar Rapids’ Development Services Division by calling 319-286-5836 or by emailing zoning@cedar-rapids.org.

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