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Seattle gives restaurants free permits for outdoor dining in cold months

The permits allow an extension of outdoor dining, which was put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus. These restaurants will also get tents and heaters.

SEATTLE — The city of Seattle will begin immediately issuing free permits to restaurants to try to keep business flowing during the rainy months, as businesses have already had to adapt to changes put in place by the pandemic.

These permits, issued by the Seattle Fire Department, will allow restaurants to continue using sidewalk dining, as well as allowing for tents and heaters.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, and concerns over indoor dining, the restaurant business has suffered greatly over the last several months.

Seattle Councilmember Dan Strauss applauded the move in a statement.

"Café streets should be a permanent feature in Seattle," Strauss said.

“The street eatery permits have been a huge help in staying afloat for us and fellow restauranteurs,” said Charlie Anthe & Rumi Ohnui, owners of Moshi Moshi in Ballard, in a statement. “Even with colder weather arriving, knowing that these permits will be available to us without interruption relieves a lot of anxiety about planning, and gives us the ability to adapt to customer seating preferences through the next year.”

"This is great news, now we can really put our energy and resources into making our outside dining space a true extension of our interior dining room. I am so excited to be able to treat our guests to the safety and peace of mind that comes with dining in the open air while enjoying the classic Mamnoon experience," said Jen Kligerman, General Manager, Mamnoon on Capitol Hill, in a statement.

The city will issue refunds to any business that had already gone through the permitting process.

Seattle's Department of Transportation said it has issued 151 free street use permits and closed off 11 blocks for this purpose so far.