As local leaders try to keep people safe during the pandemic, the City of Tulsa wants to get more businesses to create outdoor seating.
Councilors approved a plan in June to encourage restaurants to form "sidewalk cafes" outside for people to eat and drink. It includes a new permit program for parklets, which are extensions to the sidewalks that usually replace a parking space with tables or chairs for people to sit outside.
Tulsa restaurants have been using patios for years, but as many people try to social distance when they go out for food and drinks, the need for outdoor seating has increased.
"You don't want to be stuck with 500 other people in there," David Woods said.
Woods came out with two of his friends today. He said while they try to stay safe during COVID-19, they try to prioritize places where you can eat and drink outside.
"Patio seating is best," Woods said.
Tulsa city leaders said they're encouraging restaurants and stores to make outdoor areas if they don't have them already. Stores can now apply for this other option of parklets.
Sidewalk cafes, patios, chairs and tables, are all available city-wide. The idea is to boost the number of customers they can serve outside.
Tulsa Downtown Coordinating Council Executive Director Brian Kurtz said typically these would be used downtown, on Brookside or Cherry Street.
"Whether it's additional store space or cafe style seating out in the public right-of-way," Kurtz said.
Kurtz said they don't have any parklets that are being added yet, but since it's a new concept they're seeing businesses that are interested.
"We're talking right now to a number of businesses that are very excited about it and want to be able to execute very quickly to get this additional space," Kurtz said.
This is good news for people like David Woods, who said it's just a sign of the times we live in now.
"So hopefully like I said, they'll create more seating, because not everyone wants to be two feet from you, so yes it's a good deal," Woods said.
The city said the application fees for these programs are being waived this year.
You can find the links here: Tulsa Planning.