Restaurant owners will soon need to winterize their outdoor dining setups, as the Department of Transportation is requiring them to take new safety measures to keep year-round outdoor dining secure.
Several new guidelines are required to be met by December 15:
- Filling roadway barriers with soil or sand.
- Making sure barriers have fully built interior walls and bottoms to hold filler material.
- Adding continuous reflector tape along the top outside edges, and adding snow sticks to the corners facing traffic
The Open Restaurants website states that “Sandbags, reflector tape, snow sticks, and plastic barriers will be available to all participants, free of charge,” and that “Participating restaurants will be emailed with distribution and pickup detail.”
In addition, a majority of restaurants will be required to place plastic, water-filled barriers in front of their roadway barriers, so that they can be visible to oncoming traffic. The restaurants which will be required to do this will be those located on streets with higher crash rates and traffic volumes, as well as those on truck routes.
As Eater reports, restaurant owners will also need to make their outdoor dining setups more portable. “During an active snow alert,” outdoor diners will need to leave their seats. Tables and chairs will need to be removed or secured, and electrical heaters will need to be removed. If 12 or more inches of snow is in the forecast, restaurant owners will need to “remove or consolidate [their] roadway setups to have as small a footprint as possible along the curb.”
A spokesperson for the DOT told Eater that “This is being done now since the program is no longer temporary and with winter weather approaching, with snow pushing against barricades and more wear and tear, the structures need to be stronger,” adding that “This also takes into account slippery roads and snow removal operations.”
With some of the new guidelines a bit unclear, and perhaps not so easy to execute, restaurant owners are faced with yet another challenge to keep their doors open.