For the customers who want to dine at a restaurant, the months of takeout are finally over.
Starting Friday, Philly's restaurants can offer outdoor dining, and some are ready to go right away.
The city issued guidelines spelling it all out Thursday: restaurants should keep employees 6 feet apart, spread out tables the same distance, and keep parties to six people or fewer. Plus, eateries can't open before 8 a.m. and must close by 10 p.m.
NBC10 visited Harper's Garden, where plexiglass barriers are dividing outdoor tables. Executive Chef Benjamin Moore said he expects to be busy tomorrow.
Glass dividers aren't the only changes coming to the dining experience. Servers will wear masks, and diners will be expected to until they are seated. And there will be signage and guidelines posted to explain how it's all going to work.
The city also announced options for restaurants to apply for outdoor dining or to expand their outdoor footprint. For a business new to outdoor dining, applications will be processed within 3 business days, the city guidelines say.
Businesses could also apply for one of these options:
- A "streetery," where curbside parking is removed to allow for tables or a take-out area
- Tables in restaurant parking lots, with the blessing of the city's Licensing and Inspections department
- And temporarily closing a street, allowing restaurants to use it for seating.
Michael Carroll, the city's deputy managing director for transportation, infrastructure and sustainability, said the street closures, if granted by the Streets Department, would be for roughly 60 hours, allowing time for two weekend days plus time to setup and breakdown any street dining.
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The different applications will be available late on Friday, and the city will begin reviewing them Monday. So only restaurants that have an established outdoor operation will be ready to go on Friday.