The City of Tuscaloosa has created a special permit that will allow restaurants in the city to temporarily expand their outdoor seating options by doing business in public and privately-owned outdoor spaces, such as parking areas.

The Temporary Expanded Dining Program will allow local restaurants to not only increase their dining capacity but also maintain better social distancing and adhere to the Alabama Department of Public Health's requirements as the area, state and nation continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The application process for the new permit opens Wednesday, and approved restaurants will be issued a temporary permit valid from October 1st to December 13, unless the COVID-19 occupancy restrictions are removed before then.

There is no application fee, but businesses with liquor licenses may have to pay a fee to amend their licenses with the Alabama Beverage Control Board. Tables will still adhere to social distancing guidelines, and in most cases, temporary benches, railings, lighting, and shade devices can be added under this permit.

Restaurants interested in applying can do so online here.