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Outdoor dining on sidewalks could become a permanent fixture in Honolulu

Zoe Dym

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi approved a bill that launches a new outdoor dining program.

The limits on indoor gathering during the pandemic pushed many restaurants to expand their services to the sidewalk.

Restaurants can now apply for permits to add extra tables to adjacent sidewalks and parks.

If the project is successful, dining al fresco will become a permanent fixture in Honolulu.

"Even just a few more seats outside gives the restaurant so much of a boost," said Sheryl Matsuoka, the executive director of the Hawaiʻi Restaurant Association. "And let's remember that it's not only about the restaurants that are benefiting, but it's the whole Hawaiʻi food supply chain."

"When restaurants do well, the farmers do well, the fisheries do well, all the suppliers that supply the restaurants," she told HPR.

The two-year pilot program will begin in six months — but it could start sooner.

The city Department of Transportation Services is currently working on an application system for an outdoor dining permit.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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