Cantinetta and Fern Thai

Bellevue City Council recently received a report that reviewed the city’s efforts regarding the expansion of outdoor dining capacity for areas in downtown Bellevue. One of the community partners also explained a marketing campaign to connect local businesses during the pandemic.

We reported in July about the outdoor dining space expansion, which was an eight-week program. Bellevue’s economic development and transportation teams, along with the Bellevue Downtown Association, worked together to engage downtown merchants associations, streamline city permitting processes, and assist with furniture to expand safe dining areas in line with COVID-19 health guidelines.

A survey went out to residents regarding the dining expansion program. More than 70% of respondents were supportive of it, and 80% said that they were more likely to return to the Main Street area as a customer with patio areas. Main Street restaurants reported that this option has had significant economic benefit.

According to the City of Bellevue, they are focused on exploring ways to further streamline permitting to support businesses through the winter months to create greater capacity where possible. They also recognize that there is a need to build capacity and partnerships in more areas of the city to launch similar programs.

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