An increasing number of places across the country are choosing to keep their pandemic-born pedestrian zones for outdoor dining and drinking—a boon to businesses and diners hesitant to head indoors with the rising Delta variant. Montgomery County is the latest local jurisdiction to solidify its “streatery” plans this week in the form of the Shared Streets Program, per Bethesda Magazine. It will remain in place through November 28.
The program covers a number of popular, extensive streateries including those in downtown Bethesda, Wheaton, Takoma Park, Rockville, and Silver Spring. In these areas, businesses can extend patios to serve food and often alcohol, or set up tables where patrons can take their fare.
The District also recently announced an extension of its streatery program through February, with more permanent plans to come later next year. Currently, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office is pushing new pandemic recovery legislation that would, among many other things, allow bars and restaurants to operate streateries between May 1 and October 25 for a minimal one-time registration fee. Certain businesses and neighborhoods have already moved to make their outdoor dining setups more permanent, such as the street-side cabins outside places like Le Diplomate and Nina May, as well as the reconfigured 17th Street corridor.