ANNISTON, Ala. (WBRC) - Diners in downtown Anniston will soon have another seating option.
The city council, at its regular meeting Tuesday night, passed an ordinance allowing outdoor dining at area restaurants. They can expand their dining areas outside to the public sidewalk, with limits.
The vote was unanimous.
Many restaurants have to limit seating indoors to allow for social distancing, with COVID-19 numbers going up.
"Obviously during this particular time, I have a mask, it's going to be exceptionally good to have that comfort of being outside," said Natalie Couch, a floor supervisor at the Peerless, a bar and restaurant on Tenth Street.
Council member Millie Harris says the city needed to help restaurant owners get some relief, from the money they're losing through social distancing, but still allow diners a seating option that will keep them safe from COVID-19.
However, council member Jay Jenkins says the idea has been in the planning stages for three years, and calls it "long past overdue."
“It’s curb appeal. If people drive by they can see seating outside, it’s a good thing. It’s more vibrant,” says Daniel Seymour, the General Manager of Rack & Roll Billiards and Sports Bar on Noble Street.
Rack & Roll, known for its Taco Tuesday and Wing Wednesdays, has already applied for an outdoor dining permit, and will find out Oct. 21 if the council approves it.
Outdoor dining areas must be approved by the council and fire marshal.
And they’ll be able to serve alcohol under entertainment district rules that allow customers to leave with their drinks.