Springfield restaurants could be seeing more outdoor dining space

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Springfield restaurants could have more breathing room.

That’s if the city council approves two bills on Monday, June 1, 2020, that would give local restaurants more outdoor dining space.

If these bills pass, Springfield restaurants would be allowed to serve more customers on the sidewalk or even their parking lot.

If this passes, Nonna’s would be able to set up six more tables stretching from here to the South Avenue street corner.

“Right now it’s a struggle for everybody,” Shawn Kraft, owner of Nonna’s Italian Cafe said. “So when you have limited seating possibilities, we have to make the most of it. And then for them to allow kind of a little leniency in letting us do what we need to do, it shows that they’re willing to work with us and help us out in this time.”

Kraft says his restaurant’s capacity is 55 to 60 people at most.

He tells me only nine tables are used inside at the moment, that number used to be 23.

Kraft says he hopes these bills pass, and that there is nothing better than a sidewalk dining experience.

Rusty Worley with the Downtown Springfield Association says this proposal would help accelerate Springfield’s road to recovery order.

He says what’s being proposed will help small businesses especially.

“We recognize the economics of it,” Worley said. “Certainly, there’s a certain economic scale that they need to function more profitably. We don’t have generous sidewalk spaces in our downtown, but I think trying to be as creative as possible in utilizing that is for everybody’s benefit.”

What’s being proposed would also lower insurance rates for sidewalk cafe’s, and waive the application fees for businesses who want to apply for a permit.

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