Saline City Council Loosens Rules on Tents to Help Restaurants

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Saline City Council voted 6-1 to approve an ordinance imposing a temporary moratorium on the enforcement of ordinances requiring businesses to remove portable tents in accordance with normal city rules.

The city considered the ordinance at the request of Salt Springs Brewery, which is renting a rent for its patio this winter. Last year, Salt Springs Brewery, Dan's Downtown Tavern and Brecon Grille all used tents for additional dining space due to COVID-19 restrictions and some customers' fears about dining indoors.

Without the moratorium, the ordinance would require restaurant owners to remove tents after 72 hours.

Councillor Dean Girbach made the motion, seconded by Councillor Jack Ceo, to approve the ordinance.

"When you hear reports in the media, one of the concerns is that people are afraid to go inside (restaurants) and eat. So I think this is a good idea," Girbach said.

Mayor Brian Marl agreed, saying the outdoor spaces might help keep diners safe - and keep restaurants and their employees afloat.

Councillor Girbach requested an amendment to the motion reflecting that change. The ordinance recommended by Assistant City Manager Mike Greene originally stated the moratorium would expire after 120 days. Girbach recommended it should be 180 days - which means tents can be up until the end of April.

Councillor Janet Dillon suggested 180 days was too long and she voted against the motion. 

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