What to know about the new program that will allow restaurants to accommodate more capacity

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HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council approved a new program this week that will help restaurants accommodate more people without sacrificing health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a news release, the “More Space” program was approved Wednesday and will allow restaurants to turn 50% of the off-street parking into an outdoor dining space.

Turner called the program a win-win, saying that “since occupancy is lower during this time, parking spaces can be converted to places to serve customers.”

The program will include the following guidelines:

  • Allow each restaurant to convert up to 50% of its off-street parking to space for serving food. The area will be for serving only. Food storage and preparation will not be allowed
  • The program is voluntary. Restaurants are not required to participate, but they can choose to opt-in by filling out a notification form
  • Social distancing rules still apply
  • Driveway and pedestrian access and ADA-spaces must remain functional
  • The overall program and/or individual sites will be revocable at any time if there are safety concerns

According to the release, the program went into effect Wednesday and will last through COVID-19 space restrictions. Those interested in learning more can visit the city of Houston’s page dedicated to the program.

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