St. Pete allows restaurants to apply for temporary outdoor dining permits

The City of St. Pete has found a temporary solution to allow expanded outdoor dining as the city’s COVID-19 emergency order expires Friday.

The city is giving businesses until Friday to apply for a temporary use permit.

Restaurant owners were upset the expanded dining would end after Gov. Ron Desantis lifted local COVID-19 restrictions.

Federico Fanelli, owner of Italy Bottega on Central Avenue in St. Pete, told the city council it was one of the few good things to come from the last year.

MORE: Parking spots turned into patio seating could remain after pandemic, St. Pete says

Restart St. Pete barriers create extra outdoor seating for restaurants along Central Ave.

"We are small businesses we are not huge restaurants, and the people are choosing St. Petersburg because of Central," Fanelli said.

Like Lincoln Road in Miami, even before the pandemic St. Pete has talked about making parts of Central Avenue a pedestrian mall by the year 2050.

Councilwoman Gina Driscoll told FOX 13 they are working on a long-term solution.

"More people want to sit outside these days and it’s just a very St. Pete thing to do. It’s helping our businesses more than ever," she said.