St. Pete streetside dining spots revert back to parking spaces

This is your last chance to take advantage of street dining in St. Pete. After today, most of the city’s temporary streetside dining areas will turn back into parking spaces.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city allowed restaurants to use parking areas to set up extra outdoor tables. The program has been a big hit; neighbors say they love the extra outdoor seating and some restaurants say they’ve even had to hire more staff just to keep up with all the extra customers.

But not every business along Central and Beach has loved the loss of parking spaces. Mayor Rick Kriseman said last month 61% of the businesses have asked to go back to normal and let parking spaces be parking spaces

The special program was set to expire Monday and the city decided not to extend it again.

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Fewer than two dozen restaurants are still using the special permits that allow them to set up on the street, and those businesses don’t want to give them up. Central Ave’s Bandit Coffee started a petition to try to convince city leaders to reconsider, tallying nearly 1,300 signatures.

The city says it’s currently working on a proposal for a long term, permanent program.