City Of Poughkeepsie » Press Release » City of Poughkeepsie Ramps Up Restaurant And Retail Outdoor Program in Response to COVID-19

City of Poughkeepsie Ramps Up Restaurant And Retail Outdoor Program in Response to COVID-19

As the weather warms up, City of Poughkeepsie officials are reminding businesses and the public of the Restaurant and Retail Outdoor Program that allows an expansion of seating and displays in response to social distancing requirements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative, which involves no fees for applicants, is designed to assist business owners of restaurants and retail stores in compensating for social distancing restrictions that may limit the number of people in their establishment at one time.

Businesses participating last year received a temporary permit, which is still valid for the duration of the program unless they are proposing changes to how they use the outdoor space.

“We want to make this as easy as possible for businesses,” said Mayor Rob Rolison. “We know our businesses have struggled through this crisis. Our expansion program was highly successful last year, and we expect it will remain popular with both businesses and the public.”

The City’s Planning Department created a Restaurant & Retail Outdoor Expansion Guidebook to assist restaurant and retail establishments in navigating all necessary regulations and requirements. The guidebook is also available in Spanish.

Exterior seating may be accompanied by awnings, umbrellas, planters or other temporary furnishings or structures that help create and maintain an attractive appearance. Outdoor cooking is prohibited, and outdoor seating must be closed to the public after 10 p.m.  Proposed seating arrangements, lighting and materials must comply with the city’s guidebook.

This year, the city has updated the guidebook to reflect changes in state regulations regarding live music and indoor capacity restrictions.

“We will continue to adapt to this fluid situation,” said Planning Director Natalie Quinn. “We appreciate the cooperation from businesses and hope to see even more outdoor dining this spring and summer in the city.”

More information about the city’s reopening efforts can be found at