City leaders across the country discuss successful ways to help restaurants stay afloat amid pandemic


AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The National League of Cities is hosting a series of virtual panels this week, featuring local leaders across the country largely focused on COVID-19-related topics.

One of those sessions Wednesday honed in on how cities are helping restaurants stay afloat amid the pandemic.

Many restaurants have expanded their outdoor seating, sometimes even overflowing onto public sidewalks. City leaders said best practice is to keep the application process of this expansion simple, so it doesn’t deter any businesses from trying it.

In Tampa, Florida, the city doesn’t even require restaurants to apply. Instead, each restaurant is just reviewed by the city every so often.

The mayor of Arlington, Texas, said his city is providing incentives for citizens to eat at local restaurants.

“We encourage our citizens to go by and visit our locally-owned restaurants and with their receipt, if they will send us their receipt, then we will take $25 and donate it to Mission Arlington, which is our organization here with most of our churches. It’s a faith-based organization,” Mayor Jeff Williams said.

City leaders also encouraged posting on social media to promote these restaurants. That includes checking in on Instagram and Facebook, even if you’re just ordering delivery or take-out.

The full meeting can be viewed once you create an account, here.

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