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Why some Richmond restaurants need to apply for permit as COVID emergency ends

Saunders: 'We're going to provide a lot of grace and latitude'
Posted at 4:37 PM, May 12, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. – Temporary authorizations for outdoor dining have expired in Richmond with the end of the COVID-19 national public health emergency declaration on Thursday.

City officials mailed 20 letters to restaurant owners notifying them of the change and the process to obtain a sidewalk cafe permit.

While it is not mandatory to apply for the permanent permit, any restaurant owner who wants to continue to offer seating outside must receive approval.

"We're going to provide a lot of grace and latitude to folks to go through the process and get it authorized,” Lincoln Saunders, Richmond’s chief administrative officer, said. “We're not looking for anybody to change their outdoor seating offerings while they go through that process. We are just looking for the good faith effort to let us know they are interested in getting that permanent authorization and to work with us and for us to work with them to get that permit."

The process could take only a few weeks to complete and is $150 to obtain with a $100 annual renewal fee.

If you are a restaurant business owner who would like more information, click here. And here is more information about the city's Encroachment Guidelines for Outdoor Dining.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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