St. Pete pulls back on outdoor dining to make room for cars

Outdoor seating has always been popular for St. Petersburg, but the pandemic took sitting outside to the next level. Concrete barriers went up for additional tables, which prompted some restaurants to hire extra staff to keep up with the demand. 

Come October 18, tables will still be allowed on the sidewalks, but no longer in the streets.

Ben Kirby, communications director, says the city’s decision came down to parking.  

Mayor Kriseman’s office was not available for an interview Monday, but Kirby says 61% of businesses that they surveyed were unhappy with the tables cutting into parking.   

No one from Bandit Coffee located on Central Avenue could be reached but they posted to Instagram saying, "the city did not poll small businesses or citizens for feedback regarding this measure." 

There’s also a petition with more than 1,100 signatures to keep outdoor dining in the streets.

Some small businesses say it’s the only good thing to come from the pandemic, an argument that loses out to those who say, "we need the parking."