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Mendenhall emergency proclamation, Mendenhall Covid Victims
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Mendenhall: emergency proclamation expands outdoor operations for businesses

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 8, 2020, file photo, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall wears a face mask as she attends the daily COVID-19 media briefing at the Capitol in Salt Lake City. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall signed an emergency proclamation Monday expanding outdoor operating capacities for businesses.

Under Emergency Proclamation 17 signed by Mendenhall, the city will ease restrictions on using temporary structures. The order applies to both private and public property. It will also waive the need for permits for structures that are smaller than 200 square feet. 

This comes as several businesses have moved parts of their businesses outdoors, complying with COVID-19 restrictions that prohibit large gatherings inside. The newly-signed proclamation applies to all retail and restaurant services. 

“We want to ensure businesses have the ability to maximize their revenue while also creating a safe environment for our residents and visitors,” Mendenhall said in a statement. “It has been an incredibly difficult year for many businesses, especially small businesses and food and beverage establishments, and we want to do everything we can to assist by expanding their options to do business.”

The goal is to alleviate fiscal losses brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the mayor’s office, city restaurants and bars saw a 70% revenue drop from April 2019 to April 2020.

While many restaurants recovered from the summer — when warm weather allowed for outdoor dining — others reported a perpetual loss. As of September, businesses reported a 39% drop compared to the same time period in 2019. 

“These updated provisions enable expanded outdoor dining to help restaurants serve patrons safely this winter,” said Dee Brewer, Executive Director of the Downtown Alliance, in a statement. “Long term, they will also foster some pretty cool outdoor dining environments — similar to what you might find in Europe — to attract and delight local and visiting diners to Salt Lake City.”