This week, the City of New Orleans launches a series of initiatives that are designed to support outdoor dining as restaurants continue to grapple with the impacts of the pandemic. The City’s Outdoor Dining Program will utilize portions of the public right of way to support businesses, promote safe places and physical distancing, and activate our City’s streetscapes. The City is managing the program with support from the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA). Overall, the City has committed $250,000 to the initiative.
The outdoor dining efforts launch today, Wednesday, Aug. 12, with a small grant program. Through this program, the City will give out $2,000 each to 50 restaurants operating outdoor dining areas in sidewalk cafe spaces or in off-street parking lots. Both of these opportunities have been available to restaurants since the beginning of the pandemic, and these smaller grants are an effort to support restaurants operating outdoor dining options.
Within a month, the City will launch a Curbside Dining and Parklets pilot, which will enable restaurants within City-designated corridors and districts throughout the city to expand their operations into the public, on-street parking spaces. The pilot will run for one month and enable the City to learn more about operating the new curbside dining and parklet permit program over the long term, as well as gather feedback from restaurants, stakeholders and the general public.
“As a longtime advocate for parklets and similar adaptive uses of the public space, I am excited that the City is putting in resources to help our local businesses make ideas like this a reality,” said Kristin Gisleson Palmer, District C Councilmember. “The past five months have brought unprecedented challenges, but New Orleanians have shown time and again what a resilient and creative people we are. Grant programs like these will help support recovery in the short term, while creating a pedestrian-friendly streetscape in line with our overall Complete Streets policy.”
Once the pilot concludes, the City will make the curbside dining and parklet permit available citywide and launch a second round of Outdoor Dining Grants. These grants will be up to $6,000 to support the construction of al fresco curbside dining and parklet areas.
For more information and to apply, please visit outdoordiningnola.com. The City will be hosting an FAQ webinar on Friday, Aug. 14, at 2 p.m. (CDT) to answer any questions about the Outdoor Dining Program. More information can be found on outdoordiningnola.com.