The Portland City Council approved a plan Monday night that will allow restaurants and retailers to continue operating outdoors until Jan. 4.

The plan will allow businesses to operate on private property, public sidewalks and in parking lanes. Councilors approved the plan to help local businesses, which are enduring financial hardships, make it through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are committed to doing what we can to assist businesses, but we also had to come up with a plan that ensured any wintertime outdoor business operations are conducted safely and in accordance with all public health standards, as well as allow for city crews expeditious clearing of snow and ice,” City Manager Jon Jennings said.

To operate during winter months, businesses will need to apply for permits. The city has agreed to waive all fees. Permit applications are available on the city’s website.

Businesses that operate in parking lanes must take steps to ensure that their dining or retail areas are surrounded by barricades to protect people, furniture and structures during winter plowing operations. The city is also planning to deploy concrete blocks to protect businesses.

All city streets that have been closed will reopen Nov. 1, except for Dana Street (from Fore to Wharf) and Wharf Street (from Union to Dana). Middle Street businesses will be allowed to continue using parking lanes, but parklets in Boothbay Square may not be used after Nov. 15 because there is not enough space for plowing and snow removal.

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