Poughkeepsie to allow temporary outdoor business expansion

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POUGHKEEPSIE – The City of Poughkeepsie is launching the PKGO Forward Economic Recovery Plan, allowing restaurants and retail businesses to expand outdoor seating and displays in response to social distancing requirements enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative, which involves no fees for applicants, is designed to assist business owners of restaurants and retail stores in compensating for social distancing restrictions that may limit the number of people in their establishment at one time. It also will enable residents to enjoy their favorite restaurants responsibly.

Under proper guidelines, those activities are permitted under the state’s Phase 2 reopening, although indoor dining remains prohibited until Phase 3.

“The City of Poughkeepsie’s Restaurant & Retail Outdoor Expansion Program has been established to ensure businesses have the greatest ability to operate successfully during the COVID-19 economic recovery,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “The current initiative entails leveraging private and public outdoor space not typically permitted for business activity, to be used as temporary expanded areas for restaurants and retail businesses while maintaining public safety requirements.”

In an effort to streamline the process while maintaining required safety and building code regulations, the city has created a one-page certification request for businesses that requires a site sketch and can be emailed to the Planning Department at nquinn@cityofpoughkeepsie.com. Businesses with liquor licenses wishing to expand off the licensed property are also required to submit the State Liquor Authority Licensee Certification form with their materials.

Where a business does not have access to additional space on site, existing sidewalk space and on-street parking spaces may be utilized for outdoor dining, subject to availability and safety precautions. Under New York State Department of Health policy, businesses will be held to their existing maximum occupancy number.

Exterior seating may be accompanied by awnings, umbrellas, planters or other temporary furnishings or structures that help create and maintain an attractive appearance. Outdoor cooking is prohibited, and outdoor seating must be closed to the public after 10 p.m. Proposed seating arrangements, lighting and materials must comply with the guidelines outlined in the provided PKGO Forward Restaurant & Retail guide, which can be found at https://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/pkgoforward/.