Ann Arbor City Council gives go-ahead for restaurants to extend patios into closed streets

Streets to be closed on weekends for sidewalk retail, extended restaurant and bar patios

Credit: Main Street Area Association

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – On Tuesday, the Ann Arbor City Council approved a resolution that would allow Ann Arbor restaurants and bars in the downtown area to extend their outdoor patios into closed streets.

From 2 p.m. on Fridays to 8 p.m. on Sundays, restaurants will be allowed to extend their patio areas out into the streets so as to offer socially distanced dining services. Selects streets will be closed to vehicle traffic.

The closures are projected to start on June 12.

With the lifting of Michigan’s stay-home order on June 1, restaurants and bars will be allowed to open to offer indoor and outdoor dining at half of their normal capacity starting June 8.

The patio extension also allows retail businesses to offer outdoor sales.

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“The hope is that people can spread out, be outside and it can feel like a safer environment because there is just more space to socially distanced,” said Sandra Andrade, executive director of Ann Arbor’s Main Street Area Association.

Andrade said the association gathered input from business owners and residents block-by-block when working with the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority on the resolution. The association heard a resounding “yes” from the majority of community members about the idea and that the association would monitor the situation week by week.

Four blocks in the Main Street area will be closed: Main Street between Williams Street and Liberty Street; Main Street from Liberty to Washington Street; Washington Street from Ashley Street to Main Street; and Washington Street from 4th Avenue to 5th Avenue.

The unanimously passed resolution allows the city administrator to make adjustments as necessary based on how the situation develops. The resolution was worked on by all four Ann Arbor downtown associations and the DDA.

According to Andrade, some streets have been intentionally left open in the downtown area so that restaurants can continue to offer curbside services, which have been vital to many of the downtown restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.