Business reacts to new outdoor dining policies in Rehoboth Beach

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- This week, Rehoboth Beach commissioners approved of new guidelines for restaurants to follow when it comes to outdoor dining, but not everyone is on board with the changes.

“I think it will hurt businesses, in the fact that they will probably have less outside seating then they had a week ago,” Warren Rosenfeld, owner of Rosenfeld’s Deli, said.

Rehoboth Beach Mayor, Stan Mills, said a lot of restaurants have been taking up space on public sidewalks with their outdoor dining layout.

As a result, the city put up barriers in the streets to create walkways for pedestrians.

The problem is the rental period on those barriers is up in November.

That’s why city leaders say they needed to rethink outdoor seating plans.

“Push all the tables that are spread across the sidewalk up against the front facade of the restaurant and to allow at least the five foot pedestrian walk way,” Mayor Stan Mills said.

Not only will restaurants have to have the five feet of sidewalk space in front of any outdoor seating they also will have to make sure outdoor tables are spaced eight feet apart from each other.

“We need to pull our tables out a little more, they are about six feet apart we’re lucky we have some parking lot that we can work with,” Rosenfeld said.

Warren Rosenfeld, owner of Rosenfeld’s Deli, said right now Rehoboth Beach is not crowded and there is not a lot of pedestrian traffic, so he wishes these new policies were different.

“I think if Rehoboth avenue could be closed, even if just on weekends lets say and we could put tables into the street and everything would be spread out so that customers felt comfortable eating outside,” Rosenfeld said.

While some may not be on board with the new policies, we are told the city is looking at even more dining options for the future to hopefully restore the sidewalks for the pedestrians while still allowing extra dining for restaurants.

Commissioners also approved tents and canopies, without sides, to be used in outdoor dining spaces, as well as outdoor heaters fueled by propane that are five feet from the restaurant’s entrance and exit.

The new guidelines approved by commissioners this week are set to stay in effect until march 31st of 2021.

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