(PHILADELPHIA) April 29, 2021 – Today, Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson’s outdoor entertainment (210135-AA) and drug paraphernalia (210159) bills passed City Council.
Bill 210135-AA would allow restaurant and entertainment venue owners who have received a sidewalk café, streetery, or temporary use permit for outdoor dining to also offer outdoor entertainment. This bill will allow businesses, through a permitting process, to safely offer outdoor entertainment, attracting customers and tourists back to Philadelphia. It is crafted to ensure the City has the tools to enforce Covid-19 restrictions and other necessary regulations.
“Our restaurants continue to work tirelessly to make it through this pandemic,” said Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson (At-Large). “We need to continue to be innovative to create solutions that allow business owners to operate safely, and Bill 210135-AA does that. I want to thank my colleagues for their support, and I look forward to joining my fellow Philadelphians for safe, outdoor entertainment at our local restaurants.”
Bill No. 210135-AA has significant support from the restaurant and hospitality industry.
“Approval of the Outdoor Entertainment Bill helps Philadelphia’s tourism and hospitality industry recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19,” said Jeff Guaracino, President & CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA. “Not only will the timely ordinance support the vitality of local restaurants and restore industry jobs, but it will also increase foot traffic to our City’s diverse small businesses, retail shops, attractions, and other adjacent neighborhood entities. Through creative solutions such as the Outdoor Entertainment Bill, we can work together to ensure that Philadelphia emerges from the pandemic stronger than ever.”
“COVID-19 has taught us that the safest way for people to go out and dine is to be outside and the outdoor streeteries, parklets and sidewalk cafés have and will continue to be how the hospitality industry survives the coming year,” said John Longstreet, President of the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association. “We are pleased that Councilwoman Gilmore Richardson has introduced this bill which allows the industry to be more creative by allowing for outdoor entertainment to be part of the guest dining experience.”
Bill No. 210159 would modernize the definition of drug paraphernalia and help the City better enforce the code against businesses that intentionally skirt the zoning process.
“We are seeing these stores pop up overnight, applying for permits as groceries or convenience stores, advertising that they are candy stores, but it is clear, they are only operating to sell tobacco and drug paraphernalia, said Councilmember Katherine Gilmore Richardson. These businesses don’t improve our corridors, they don’t create jobs for our young people, they don’t build wealth for our families. They skirt our rules so they can sell drug paraphernalia right next to candy bars. In Philadelphia, we believe that community members should have a say over the kinds of businesses that operate in their neighborhoods, and that’s exactly what this legislation will do. It will especially help Black and brown communities where these stores are predominately appearing. If we say we are committed to racial equity, we need to ensure we listen to communities of color and equip them with the tools they need to address quality of life issues in their neighborhoods. I want to thank the community members who testified in support of this legislation and my colleagues for their support.”