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Meridian Township officials approve of outdoor dining when restaurants reopen

Meridian Township
Posted at 4:46 PM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 16:46:06-04

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. — As area restaurants prepare plans to reopen, once permitted by the Governor's Executive Orders, Meridian Township officials are providing local owners and operators with the tools they will need to not only survive, but thrive. One of these is the ability to establish temporary seating areas for outdoor dining.

Outdoor dining will allow for restaurants to properly meet social distancing requirements, address reduced seating, and ensure the safety of customers and staff.

"Spring weather has arrived in Michigan, and there couldn't be a better time to enjoy a locally prepared meal in a comfortable outdoor space," said Peter Menser, Meridian Township Principal Planner. "Establishing an outdoor dining space in Meridian Township is easy, free and Township staff available to help you get started."

The requirements for opening temporary seating for outdoor dining in Meridian Township include:
-Permission from Property Owner: If a restaurant owner or operator does not own the property or space, a letter from the property owner/landlord acknowledging approval to create the outdoor dining area must be obtained.
-Seating Plan: Submittal of a diagram showing the location of the outdoor dining area and the arrangement of seating. Adequate distance for parties to be seated at least six feet from one another and provide aisles at least three feet wide to navigate the seating area is required.
-Barricading: The outdoor dining area, particularly those proposed in parking lots, must be designed to provide protection and clearly demarcate customers and staff from motor vehicles.
-Emergency Egress: Any outdoor seating area will need to be served by at least one clearly marked and unrestricted emergency access route out of the space.
-Fire Extinguisher: At least one fully functioning fire extinguisher must be present in the outdoor dining area.
-Lighting: Any proposed outdoor lighting must meet Meridian Township's Dark Sky Ordinance, which requires downward directed and shielded fixtures to prevent light pollution and glare.
-Tent or Other Covering: If the use of a tent or other similar temporary roofed structure is planned, a permit and inspection by the Fire Inspector is required.

In addition to what's above, for those restaurants serving alcohol, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) has announced a streamlined approval process for outdoor service and retail sales.

To begin the process of opening temporary seating for outdoor dining in Meridian Township, contact
Principal Planner Peter Menser at 517.853.4576 or menser@meridian.mi.us.

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