Restaurants in Charlottesville expanding their outdoor footprint to get financial relief

Council voted unanimously Monday to lessen the burden on restaurants by waiving and reducing the café space rental fee.
Updated: Oct. 19, 2020 at 9:12 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville restaurants facing challenges to survive during the pandemic will be getting some financial relief, courtesy of the city.

Council voted unanimously Monday night on an item that will lessen the burden slightly by waiving and reducing the café space rental fee.

Many restaurants along the downtown mall and elsewhere in the city rent space from the city to conduct outdoor activities, made all the more vital to survival during COVID-19.

“Given that March and April were months that this was not permitted by the state, the proposal is to waive the fee completely for those two months and the remaining months of this year and up until the cycle starts again in March of next year, reduce the fee by 50%” Chris Engel, the city’s Director of Economic Development, proposed.

The plan, which passed unanimously, also cuts the cost of parking spaces rented by restaurants in half.

“Since outdoor dining is more advantageous from a public health perspective at the moment, we want to do what we can to try and help folks that can take advantage of that,” Engel said.

This will help restaurants like Whiskey Jar in Charlottesville save a lot of money.

“Anything that we don’t have to pay during this time of course is very helpful, so if the city can make that happen and reduce costs, or even kick the cost down the road so there are no costs right now that would be most helpful,” Whiskey Jar owner Wilson Richey said.

The plan goes into effect immediately.

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