Parklets may become permanent

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 9:02 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - With the Suncoast’s nice weather year round, outdoor dining is something residents have been able to take advantage of with the implementation of parklets.

The Parklet Program was first implemented during the Coronavirus pandemic as a way for restaurants to stay in business while still following safety protocols.

The city describes parklets, which are curbside parking spots turned into seating areas, as “vibrant community spaces,” but they have yet to be made permanent.

“Sarasota fell in love with it. They have really shown that they want to dine outdoors. We see our parklet filling up much faster than our indoor dining fills up,” says Jonathan Van Dyke, general manager of Duval’s Restaurant.

The program is currently set to end on September 30. Something Raffaele Perna at Classico Italian Chophouse says he doesn’t want to happen as long as they can be implemented safely.

“People like to sit outside, they like to be outside. And that goes for the locals and the visitors alike. It lends to a little bit more of an enjoyable experience,” says Perna.

Owners are aiming to create an enjoyable environment whether you choose to come inside or stay outside and enjoy the fresh air.

The City of Sarasota will be hosting a meeting on June 21 to get the public’s opinion on the long-term status of parklets.