Restaurants in Downtown Boise are preparing outdoor spaces for colder weather

8th Street Downtown Boise
Posted at 5:32 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 20:15:43-04

BOISE, Idaho — When the pandemic first struck Idaho, most restaurants shut down immediately. Some businesses modified their operations to open up their doors as soon as possible for many that entailed expanding patio services and outdoor seating.

In downtown Boise, the city shut down a portion of 8th street so that restaurants could safely expand. Even restaurants that couldn’t do so found a way to get outside.

While some didn’t survive the sudden changes, many made it through the Spring and Summer months successfully. But, as temperatures begin to drop and seasons begin to change, restaurant owners once again have to accommodate elements beyond their control.

Tim Campbell, the Taphouse owner in Downtown, tells Idaho News 6 that the pandemic has forced him to operate at 50% capacity. Unable to expand his patio due to location, unforgiving weather will be taking about a third of Tim’s business this weekend alone. With heaters on the way, Tim hopes he’ll be able to keep some outdoor seating open a little while longer; however, he says the heaters are not sustainable because, “once it gets cold enough there’s nothing you can do” adding, “that’s when it’s going to be a real struggle.”

A couple blocks down at Diablo and Sons Saloon on 8th street; the concern over cold weather operations are the same. Dave Krick, the managing partner at Diablo and Sons and Bittercreek Ale House, tells us that patios were a majority of their business all summer, and as they go away, they’re “nervous.”

The City of Boise did send a list of guidelines for business regarding colder weather operations last week. Diablo and Sons say that fortunately, they have a structure to support the tents they need for a majority of their outdoor seating. But, putting tents up presents another set of challenges. Krick tells us, “in essence, it becomes indoor space, and so the complications of indoor space during a pandemic now just expand for us to spread people out will give us some ability to form well enough to get through winter.”

Idaho New 6 received a copy of Boise’s outdoor guidelines, and below we’ve briefly outlined the following options:

1. Select an Option (from the Attached Documents):
a. Option 1 – Open air, no tents/walls (parklet possibility)
b. Option 2 – Tent, no walls (not a parklet possibility)
c. Option 3 – Tent with walls (not a parklet possibility)

2. Create a Map of the Proposed Footprint:
Winter sidewalk patios/cafes must comply with all federal, state, and City laws, rules and regulations. The following are some examples of information that should be included on application maps:

a. Fire Prevention Compliance
1. Position of portable heating appliances, tables, chairs, etc.
2. Type of portable heating appliances
3. 36-inch entrances/exits
4. Dimensions – occupant load is calculated at 30 sf/person

b. ADA Compliance
1. Minimum of 36-inch continuous clearance for pedestrian pathways
2. Cane detectable base on fencing, posts, etc.

c. Alcohol Compliance
1. Fencing at least 36-inches high around perimeter
2. Signage stating alcohol cannot be removed from premise

d. Location relative to the sidewalk (sidewalk clearance must be at least 48-inches) and/or the licensed premises

3. Insurance
a. A copy of your Liability Insurance Policy, in alignment with Boise City Code requirements stated below, shall be submitted with your application.

BCC Section 3-4-4 (D) Liability Insurance: The applicant shall be required to maintain in full force and effect comprehensive general liability insurance with liability limits of not less than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00) for the term of the sidewalk cafe permit applied for. The insurance policy shall name the City and ACHD as "additional named insureds" and a copy of the insurance binder shall be filed with the Clerk prior to the issuance of the said permit.