Virginia Beach City Council unanimously votes to allow temporary outdoor dining

Posted at 4:56 PM, May 14, 2020

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Local restaurants are getting ready to begin service Friday - but only outdoor seating.

In a special virtual meeting Thursday afternoon, the Virginia Beach City Council unanimously voted to approve an ordinance allowing Acting City Manager Tom Leahy to approve temporary outdoor dining permits.

The ordinance will also suspend resort open-air cafe franchise fees and provide revenue offsets.

Restaurants can serve at 50% percent of their outdoor capacity. Local governments like Norfolk and Virginia Beach are trying to help by working with restaurants to offer additional capacity in parking lots or other open areas.

The Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Authority (ABC) also has guidelines on how the restaurants can serve alcohol outside.

At the Oceanfront, the Black Angus Restaurant has a front patio to serve about ten customers under the guidelines, but may look into expanding their outdoor capacity. "We'll wait and see how this goes this weekend," said Chris Savvides, the owner. "If things go well, we'll approach the landlord and the city to see what we can do next door."

Moving forward, Savvides is hopeful indoor seating will be allowed soon. "When you look at all the businesses that are out there in Virginia today, there's no business that's better suited to deal with this," he said, noting how restaurants are already constantly cleaning.

"We need to get this economy going," he said. "We need to get this business going."

Click here for full coronavirus coverage.