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Downtown Miami’s sidewalk cafe program gives local restaurants a boost

The Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has partnered with the City of Miami and the Miami Parking Authority (MPA) to develop a program to help local restaurants continue serving guests while complying with new regulations

The Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has partnered with the City of Miami and the Miami Parking Authority (MPA) to develop a program to help local restaurants continue serving guests while complying with new regulations that prohibit indoor dining. It’s called the ‘sidewalk cafe permit program,’ and it’s transforming city parking spaces and sidewalks into additional outdoor dining areas to benefit restaurants with limited or no outdoor dining capacity. 

As part of the project, the DDA is helping restaurants navigate the permitting process while providing required protection. They’re also footing the bill for umbrellas, chairs, tables, and other outdoor furniture so that restaurants can safely start serving guests right away. So far, nearly a dozen restaurants have opted to participate in the program, including Casa Tua, Vinaigrette, Rakija Grill, and Cafe Bastille, to name a few. Many more are expected to sign up in the coming days. 

The sidewalk cafe permit project is just one of several initiatives the Miami DDA has spearheaded during the pandemic. They’re also behind the “Go Local, Go Direct” campaign to boost business in the neighborhood, and they recently launched the Small Business Reopening Microgrant, offering businesses reimbursements for costs related to reopening safely.

“Restaurants are the lifeblood of Downtown Miami’s appeal as one of the world’s most desirable places to live, work, and visit,” says Christina Crespi, Executive Director of the Miami Downtown Development Authority. “Faced with incredibly difficult circumstances amid the pandemic, many of our Downtown restaurants continue to adjust their operations with the goal of serving our residents and sustaining their businesses. Now, with the launch of the Miami DDA’s new outdoor dining initiative, restaurants are able to reclaim the public right-of-way to expand their outdoor operations and safely serve our community.”

By Amanda Mesa, Contributing Writer

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