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The pandemic is leaving behind permanent al fresco dining and expanded curbside pickup in Triangle

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Though the past two years have been turbulent for restaurants, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought some changes for the better.

City of Raleigh officials are making al fresco dining a staple for businesses that want to continue serving their customers on the sidewalk or in parking lots.

Charles Kmet, operations manager at Virgil’s Cocktails and Cocina, said when the pandemic forced closures two years ago this week, al fresco dining became a necessity.

“Alfresco dining has helped us pay our bills,” Kmet said. “It’s a small restaurant so maybe eating outside allowed us to bring in more people, especially on nice days like today.”

The City of Raleigh is enabling businesses to transform what were once makeshift platforms into permanent fixtures through the permanent outdoor dining program.

Beginning April 1, restaurants can apply for annual permits to use sidewalks and authorized parking spaces out front to serve customers. Businesses must pay a permit fee.

Kmet said he will take full advantage of that.

“If I could make it 300 feet longer, I would,” Kmet said. “If I could make it from here to the other end of the street, I would.”

The city of Durham also made sidewalk dining a staple last fall.

“We are truly encouraged that many elected officials are now allowing al fresco dining to become permanent,” said Lynn Minges, president of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. “We are very happy about that.”

Raleigh city guides are also trading 15 parking spots for eight curbside pickup zones along Hillsborough Street near NC State to give customers easy access to expanded corporate takeout options.

https://www.cbs17.com/news/local-news/wake-county-news/pandemic-leaves-permanent-outdoor-dining-and-expanded-curbside-pick-up-in-triangle/ The pandemic is leaving behind permanent al fresco dining and expanded curbside pickup in Triangle

DUSTIN JONES

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