Public hearing on outdoor dining amendments tonight

The Bemidji City Council has a fairly light agenda today, with the only items under New Business relating to a proposed set of dining amendments.

The changes relate to allowing downtown restaurants to expand their outdoor dining spaces in the warmer months, as was initiated in the summer of 2020 in the emergency phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When Gov. Tim Walz’s emergency powers ended in the summer of 2021, the city continued to allow these expanded patios on portions of city streets and sidewalks, but alcohol was not allowed to be served.

The four amendments would permit alcohol to be served in these spaces through changes to the city’s code relating to alcoholic beverages; offenses against the public peace; fee schedule related to outdoor dining; and the code on streets, sidewalks and other public places.

The public hearing on these amendments will take place this evening during the council meeting at 6 p.m.

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