‘Open Air ICT’: Giving local businesses chance to use outdoor space for dining, retail

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Local restaurants, bars, and retail shops are getting some relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city of Wichita is rolling out “Open Air ICT” which will allow businesses to use on-site parking, sidewalks, and streets near the venues for free. This will give businesses the opportunity to maximize the space around their location to help customers stay safe while practicing social distancing.

“I think it’s going to show a big improvement in business in general,” said Delano’s Diner Manager, Amber Almos. “Most places that I’ve been to and even here at the diner itself we’ve only been seating at a 50% capacity and this way it opens up a lot more doors for us you know with being able to seat guests outside.”

Almos said the changes implemented inside the diner haven’t been easy for customers. Because some tables aren’t able to be used due to social distancing customers have had to wait longer to be seated to dine inside the restaurant.

District Taqueria co-owner, Marc Humsi said because of social distancing he too has lost 50% of his available seating inside his restaurant, but he’s hopeful the new program will help get customers back in the door.

“I definitely think you’ll get a little more presence from people outside once they find out we are doing patio or other restaurants are doing patio as well it will get people going out more I think that they’re more comfortable being out in the open air as opposed to enclosed in places,” said Humsi.

Business owners can start the process by filling out an online application that will be reviewed by the city and an on-site meeting at the business location will be scheduled. Once the onsite inspection is approved the city will issue a permit so the outdoor space can be utilized.

The permit will be available and can be used until August 1, 2021, to apply click here.

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