Savannah restaurants expand outdoor dining to sidewalks, parking spaces

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Its been one month since restaurants were allowed to re-open in the Hostess City. The city of Savannah is now allowing businesses that have been approved to expand their dining to sidewalks and parking spaces.

It’s back to business as usual for two Savannah restaurants after coronavirus restrictions closed dine in for two months.

“It’s like nothing obviously that I’ve ever seen or I don’t think anyone’s ever seen,” Managing Partner at Squirrel’s Pizza, Jimmy Powell said.

“It was obviously a struggle but we all worked together and like every one of our servers came right back as soon as we reopened so did our kitchen staff,” Director of Operations at a.Lure, Mary Molitoris said.

a.Lure in Downtown Savannah and Squirrel’s Pizza on Bull Street is seeing issues unfold as the reopening process continues. With guidelines still in place, Molitoris at a.Lure said they’ve had to reduce dine-in capacity.

“We have actually been really busy considering the number of our limited tables and obviously limited capacity. We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that everyone who comes in feels safe,” Molitoris said.

Powell is seeing much of the same, but these drastic industry changes mark a first in his 28-year career.

“As we progress through it we always look for opportunities to really ensure the financial stability of our staff and our team and then to make sure the business had the opportunity to prosper as much as possible,” Powell said.

Businesses interested in expanded dining must submit an application for a permit showing how they plan to implement social distancing and meet sanitary guidelines.

“Every day is a challenge and their willingness to shift and be pliable with it. I applaud them for it,” Powell said.

“I think it’s a great idea. When the city first proposed it I saw it on Facebook and I sent it to the owner and he was like let’s sign up for it right away,” Molitoris said.

Both restaurants have started seating guests outdoors and are seeing rave reviews. This is only a pilot program that will run through June 15. City Council is expected to review the future of the program at Thursday night’s council meeting.

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