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Councilmember Domb joins with PA Restaurant and Lodging Association & others to ensure smaller, locally owned restaurant owners do not face undue financial burdens

PHILADELPHIA – As part of ongoing efforts to ensure Philadelphia’s new outdoor dining feature allowing restaurants to have Streeteries can remain vibrant and successful for small businesses, local leaders and small business advocates across the hospitality industry and from various neighborhoods, are calling on the Mayor’s Office to amend its regulations so that there is equal and fair access.

In a letter to Mayor Jim Kenney signed by Councilmember Allan Domb, the Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association (PRLA), and local business advocates, several concerns were presented about the new regulations the Mayor placed on outdoor dining. Furthermore, the regulations were established without seeking input from industry professionals and with almost no communication to City officials or the public.

“Our restaurant industry is a vital and necessary cultural, economic, and social asset. It is therefore important that we get the regulatory framework right as our city moves forward,” said Councilmember Domb. “We need to work together and ensure that our restaurant owners do not face undue financial burdens, especially our smaller, locally-owned, neighborhood-based, and less wealthy businesses.”

It was made clear by the more than 125 participants who attended the public meeting on March 16 that the restaurant industry supports the need for regulations, but meaningful changes are necessary to ensure equal and fair access to the Streetery program. Several recommendations were made during the hearing and outlined in the letter to the Mayor’s Office, including:

  • Eliminate the $60,000 security bond requirement until there is a better understanding of the City’s likelihood of incurring costs to remove and store Streeteries and remediate damage in the right-of-way.
  • Reduce the initial year license fee to reflect the immediate costs to restaurant owners to remove existing Streeteries constructed during the temporary program and provide a sliding scale license fee that takes into account the capacity, seasonality, and economic realities of less affluent restaurants in neighborhoods around the city.
  • Provide two to three Streetery design options for restaurants to select, allowing input from the Art Commission in the creation of these options.
  • Establish more clear regulations regarding the “crashworthy” barriers required around the perimeter of the Streetery.
  • Clarify regulation language regarding Streetery removal during inclement weather.
  • Reconsider allowances for underground and overhead electrical conduits to provide safe heating and lighting options in Streeteries.

“We have worked very hard to establish the vibrant outdoor dining program in Philadelphia and across the Commonwealth,” said PRLA President & CEO John Longstreet. “Recovery for bars and restaurants in the city will likely take years, but it can start this spring and can start specifically with outdoor dining if we get this program right.

“We look forward to continuing this conversation with the Mayor and his team, and we hope they will consider the suggestions made by PRLA, Councilmember Domb, and hundreds of operators in the city. PRLA stands ready to assist however we can.”

Philadelphia’s hospitality industry, which includes restaurants, is still down 37 percent from 2019 levels, continuing to lag behind the economic recovery trends of other sectors. A January 2022 National Restaurant Association operator impact survey showed that 76 percent of restaurant operators have lower sales volume today than they did prior to the pandemic.

“The industry remains in a precarious financial situation, and it is incumbent upon us as city leaders to support its comeback for the benefit of all,” said Councilmember Domb.

Supporters who signed the letter to the Mayor include: Councilmember Domb, PRLA, African-American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ and DE, Asian American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, Independence Business Alliance, Design Advocacy Group, Aramingo Business Improvement District, West Philadelphia Corridor Collaborative, Rittenhouse Row, Manayunk Special Services District, Fishtown Kensington Area Business Improvement District, East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District, University City District, Mayfair Business Improvement District, South Street Headhouse District, Old City District and Northern Liberties Business Improvement District.

Read the letter:

Letter to Mayor_Streetery Regulations_03_23_22



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