EDMONDS, Wash. — Edmonds restaurants wishing to continue operating their "streateries" through April can now do so by paying a $500 monthly fee, for a total of $2,000.
The city council voted Tuesday to change the fee for extending a streatery permit from a $4,000 lump sum. Streateries will be allowed to operate through April 2022, but must be removed from the right-of-way no later than the night of May 15.
Restaurants that do not wish to pay the fee must remove their streatery by the night of Jan. 15.
"Streateries" are outdoor dining structures some businesses erected in public parking spaces during capacity restrictions on restaurants and bars. The Edmonds City Council initially voted in December to require businesses to pay a $4,000 fee to renew their permits until April 30, 2022.
Tuesday wasn't the first attempt at a vote to change the fee. The council met Dec. 20 to discuss the matter, but the meeting ended before that could happen after two council members left.
Jeff Barnett, owner of Salish Sea Brewpubs, previously said the $4,000 fee is a "killer," especially since it's only good through April.
One of his employees, Michelle Hammons, is a mother of two and worried the original fee would impact her livelihood as well as the restaurant's chance of survival.
"It makes you have to consider if you have to go look for work somewhere else or get a second job," said Hammons.
The change comes as COVID-19 cases are rising globally due to the omicron variant. The amendment text lists the possibility of future "COVID-related restrictions on restaurants," COVID-19 variants and lower than ideal vaccination rates as motivating factors for the vote.
There has been no indication that COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants will go back into effect. In a previous interview with KING 5, Gov. Jay Inslee said he was not contemplating any new COVID-19 restrictions "in the immediate future," aside from further guidelines for high school athletics.