CUMBERLAND – Restaurants that have been operating under temporary permissions to serve customers outside now have an indefinite extension to do so, though with temperatures turning colder, note Council President Mike Kinch and others, there will likely be a natural movement inside over the coming months.
Town Council members were in unanimous agreement at the Oct. 6 meeting that the outdoor dining allowance for restaurants that don’t have approved permanent outdoor service is good for businesses that have struggled during the pandemic.
Restaurants with permanent approved outdoor service, such as Davenport’s, would be able to continue even without the extension.
The current restrictions and allowances remain in effect unless renewed, modified or terminated by subsequent resolution of the council.
At Councilor Bob Shaw’s suggestion, the council removed a limit requiring that entertainment be done by no more than two people at a time. Shaw said stipulations giving police discretion to respond if entertainment becomes a nuisance are plenty, and he doesn’t see a reason to limit the number of entertainers if the second musician could in theory be a drummer.
Though an open-ended resolution, the council will keep the matter on its radar for reconsideration in future months to make sure they don’t forget about it, as suggested by Town Solicitor Kelley Morris Salvatore.
Restaurant owners are still only allowed to serve liquor outside if it’s accompanied by food service. They can continue to operate outside with up to 100 percent of their indoor capacity as long as they’re abiding by certain regulations, including no outdoor recreation and having approved parking plans, among others.
The previous ordinance was set to expire on Oct. 31. Town Clerk Sandra Giovanelli estimates that there are between eight and 10 restaurants operating outdoor service in Cumberland under the temporary outdoor dining resolution.
The resolution acknowledges that businesses have and will continue to struggle and suggests that provisions for outdoor service “allow the best success while providing a safe environment for employees and patrons.”