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Delaware Headlines

Rehoboth Beach Commissioners adopt new outdoor dining policy

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There’s good news for diners in Rehoboth Beach.

The Rehoboth Beach Board of Commissioners have adopted a policy allowing year-round, “post-pandemic,” outdoor dining in public spaces.

But Rehoboth Mayor Stan Mills notes that unlike the past two years during the COVID pandemic, businesses are no longer allowed to use the entire width of the sidewalk, “Some of our bases or foundational philosophies of this is that the pedestrian has the priority.”  

The practice started two years ago when Gov. John Carney reduced capacity for dining inside restaurants, while at the same time allowing for the expansion of restaurants’ floor plans to outside.

“What we found over these last two years is - restaurateurs love outdoor dining," Mills said. "Of course they do because it’s so well-liked by patrons and it provides a nice profit to them. And the patrons love it."
 
Mills says the new policy establishes a minimum pedestrian access route of 7 feet on most downtown sidewalks, 8 feet on the second block, and 10 feet on the first block of Rehoboth Avenue, allowing plenty of room to walk.

The new policy also only allows for two- and four-top tables placed along the façade of restaurants that meet the new pedestrian standards.                        

Mills says under the new regulations, businesses that currently have outdoor dining in public spaces, must apply to the City’s licensing Department for a new annual outdoor license - since their current license expires June 1, 2022.