Newport Revises Ordinance to Enhance Outdoor Dining Opportunities


Well-known member
Sep 5, 2023
Attention restaurant and bar owners in Newport, we have exciting news that could greatly benefit your outdoor dining ventures. The City of Newport has recently revised an ordinance that previously imposed restrictions on certain businesses, particularly in residential neighborhoods, when it came to utilizing outdoor dining spaces.

Initially, this ordinance placed constraints on the use of tables and chairs on public sidewalks and enforced specific limitations within residential areas. However, the revised ordinance introduces new measures. New businesses in residential neighborhoods are now required to conduct a public opinion survey within a 75-foot radius of their establishment as part of the outdoor seating permit application process. Additionally, these permits will undergo an annual review.

To provide clarity, the revised ordinance specifies operating hours for outdoor seating. It mandates a standard closing time of 9 p.m. from Sunday to Thursday and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Nevertheless, there is room for flexibility based on the survey results, potentially extending operating hours up to midnight.

These changes are a direct response to concerns raised by business owners during the COVID-19 pandemic and aim to eliminate potential disparities while establishing elevated industry standards. For a comprehensive overview of these developments, please refer to the full article here.
Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Thanks for this passing this along, @Debashis. It sounds like the original ordinance prohibiting restaurant outdoor seating in residential neighborhoods arose during COVID (I assume having to do with concerns about social gatherings near where people dwell). It's a reassuring sign of the times to see cities loosening laws like these to be more inclusive of businesses that need no longer be at the same disadvantage now that COVID is behind us.

I'd wager that some residents feel benefited by the change as well. If the restaurant down the road from me was suddenly able offer outdoor seating, I'd almost certainly consider that a plus.
While I am not in favor of allowing businesses to utilize public spaces like sidewalks and parks for their business, I think the new permitting rules from Newport that make businesses survey local residents before they can use public space is really good. When businesses utilize public space, it will cause inconvenience to the people and if the locals say they are fine, who are we to stop the business?
COVID-19 pandemic have almost been dealt with 100%, I don't see any reason why outdoor businesses will still be forced to operate like COVID-19 haven't been beaten. The positive which I can take from this new proposal is the survey which is needed before any restaurant or any other outdoor business will take their businesses outside. This survey will help gather information on how residents in Newport feel about this but from my observations in how people feel about post COVID-19, they will want this done as quickly as possible.

For further information on this GPT, visit the U.S. National/Federal GPT page.