Philly outdoor dining questions for City Council

Following Councilmember-at-large Rue Landau’s call to review Philadelphia’s outdoor dining regulations, a hearing was held at City Hall last Friday, with testimonies from restaurant owners, industry advocates, and city officials on the approval and licensing of streeteries.

Popularized during the pandemic, streeteries provided restaurants a lifeline against restrictions on indoor dining, with curbside structures erected by approximately 800 businesses across the city during the height of COVID-19.

That number has since been decimated by new regulations introduced through the city’s Outdoor Dining Program, which restaurant operators have said are inequitable and prohibitively expensive. They’ve also described the updated licensing process, requiring approvals from various city departments, as needlessly disjointed.

Presiding over Friday’s hearing were Councilmembers Landau, Kendra Brooks, Jim Harrity, and Jeffery Young, Jr., with a brief appearance by Mark Squilla. Among those testifying were Ben Fileccia of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association, who had collected written statements from several restaurateurs, and Mike Carroll, deputy managing director for Transportation and Infrastructure.

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