Delray Beach commissioners extend outdoor dining on Atlantic Avenue

Many businesses hopeful extended dining will be made permanent
Posted at 4:48 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 16:48:47-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The coronavirus pandemic forced cities to makes changes to how businesses operate in order to help them survive the past year.

One of those changes in Delray Beach was allowing businesses to use more outdoor space.

Over the Bridge Cafe is one of the many restaurants that was allowed to extend its dining outside.

"We got another 50 seats almost that we were able to add to the restaurant that we didn't have during the beginning part of COVID," owner Dan Newman said.

Newman said those added seats are what helped keep his business open through the pandemic.

Dan Newman hopes outdoor dining along Atlantic Avenue will become permanent
Dan Newman, owner of Over the Bridge Cafe in Delray Beach, hopes extended outdoor space along Atlantic Avenue will become permanent.

City commissioners Tuesday approved a renewal with the Florida Department of Transportation to keep tables on Atlantic Avenue. They'll still have to decide if they will let restaurants keep the added outdoor space after September.

Newman said he hopes the outdoor space isn't going anywhere.

"I think it's important for businesses to not fix what's not broken," Newman said.

Laura Simon, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, said most places have relied on the extra space.

"It was essential and proved to be very effective for each one of them," she said.

Simon said many businesses are hopeful it can become a more permanent option.

"Especially as we go into summertime, we really need to keep it going, because this is our slowest time," Simon said.