BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City announced Thursday it is extending temporary outdoor dining permits for on-street parking spaces until the end of the year, based on how popular they’ve become.

The Department of Transportation expanded its outdoor dining program in 2020 to include parklets—street parking spaces converted into outdoor dining areas—in an effort to encourage social distancing and provide a boost to the restaurant industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, they’ve grown in popularity.

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In its announcement, the transportation department said it would extend temporary permits related to those spaces until Dec. 31, citing their “widespread utilization.”

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Additionally, the agency said it is working on developing an expanded outdoor dining policy that covers parklets. It would establish annual permits for outdoor dining and put into place design standards and safety guidelines.

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The city expects to release the updated policy over the summer for public input and anticipates the policy will take effect on Jan. 1. No additional outdoor dining parklet applications will be approved until then.

CBS Baltimore Staff