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Council approves administrative process for temporary outdoor seating

The Austin City Council unanimously approved the creation of a temporary administrative process for the approval of temporary outdoor seating during a special session held Monday morning.

The decision came in response to Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order which allows bars and restaurants to offer indoor seating and service at a limited capacity. The mayor and council hope it will allow restaurants, bars and breweries some flexibility to establish temporary outdoor seating in available parking areas, sidewalks or other adjacent open spaces.

“We need to go out of our way to help these businesses,” Mayor Tom Stiehm said during the meeting.

Businesses interested in having outdoor seating must fill out an Application for Temporary Outside Seating, which would then be approved or denied by the city administrator or another designee. Any application that would be in the right-of-way, such as shutting down part of a street, would require council approval.

The city may also administratively approve temporary expansion of liquor service to an on-site liquor licensee that has an approved application.

Businesses seeking approval are required to meet certain performance standards, such as temporary signage and compliance with all applicable laws and codes.

Those interested in applying may contact City Clerk Ann Kasel at AnnK@ci.austin.mn.us or 507-437-9943, or the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce at wendy@austincoc.com or 507-437-4561.