NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The change to traffic on Lower Broadway could lead to more options for struggling businesses. There is a new push to let restaurants serve people on the sidewalks.
Metro already has a sidewalk cafe permit, but a proposed bill by Metro council member Sean Parker, District 5, would expand the program.
Parker introduced the bill on August 18th that would allow restaurants to not only set up tables and chairs on sidewalks, but also alleyways and parking lots. The goal is to help boost business since businesses have to operate at limited capacity amid COVID-19. It passed its first two readings.
“We are all trying to see what we can do to support small businesses, especially our very hard hit restaurants to help keep them afloat,” said Brett Withers, who represents District 6 and cosponsor of the bill.
Withers says the inspiration came from talking to several business owners. Last year, Lockeland Table in East Nashville reached out to the Public Works department about a permit to serve customers on the 16th street side of the restaurant during the annual Tomato Festival. It was approved and the move was well received by residents and business owners.
“It’s one of those things we’ll see how it goes and it may be something if there is a lot of interest in it, we can roll out permanently,” Withers said.
Withers says the permit fee would be waived. The plan would ensure wheelchairs and strollers would still be able to move around safely.
The bill will go up for it’s third and final reading at the next council meeting on September 15th. If approved, the ordinance will only be in effect until January 2021. But, if it’s successful, it could be turned into a permanent resolution.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 2 and WKRN.com for updates.