During the COVID-19 restrictions, bars and restaurants were given “special event permits” to extend their outdoor facilities on to adjacent property with the permission of the property owner.

The result in Downtown Greensboro was that many bars and restaurants extended their service areas to include areas previously used for on-street parking.

At the Tuesday, Dec. 21 Greensboro City Council meeting, an ordinance will be considered that would allow the “Extension of Licensed Premises” to continue.

With indoor drinking and dining extremely limited during the COVID restrictions, special event permits were issued that allowed restaurants and bars to extend their premises to areas that would not have been allowed under the existing regulations.  The main purpose of the ordinance is to allow bars and restaurants to continue to do what they were allowed to do under those special event permits during the COVID pandemic. 

The ordinance states that a business with an on-premises consumption of alcohol license “may apply to the City of Greensboro for the authorization to expand their licensed premises to utilize an area that is not part of the permittee’s licensed premises for the outdoor possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages sold by the permittee.”

The ordinance states that if the extended premises is not owned by the restaurant or bar, then the owner of the property must provide written permission to allow the premises to be extended on to their property.  So, a bar or restaurant cannot extend their premises on to their next door neighbor’s property without their permission and cannot extend their premises on to city owned property without the permission of the city.

The ordinance also states, “The permittee shall visibly and vertically mark off the extended premises so a reasonable person could distinguish between the extended premises and any sidewalk, walkway, or public right of way.”

Although Jersey barriers certainly “visibly and vertically” mark the premises, it appears that this law would allow bars and restaurants to use more esthetically pleasing methods of defining the extended premises.