Pinehurst extends street food arrangement until at least April | News

Pinehurst Village Council recently decided to extend a temporary arrangement allowing restaurants in the town center to offer street dining to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Jeff Batton, the village’s assistant operations manager, said eating on downtown streets was permitted by the council under Bill 890, which Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law last September. The law, Batton said, allows the council to waive the arrangement or codify it as permanent accommodation.

“There’s not necessarily a timeline that I found we need to have this in place by now,” Batton said of the options during the council’s January 11 business session. “We have some flexibility to continue the way things are now with meals on the street or if we wish to ‘sunset’ (the arrangement) on a particular date. If you want to continue temporarily, we can do so. If you want to continue permanently, we can do that, but there are a number of caveats that come into play.”

To make the arrangement permanent, Batton said, the council would have to pass an ordinance that includes guidelines for the appearance of street food areas, which had previously been designated with orange safety cones.

‘If it’s a permanent arrangement, we want to make sure it feels appropriate and safe at the same time,’ he said, adding that the board must also consider ‘fairness’ of the arrangement. “Why are we allowing a retail operation – ie a restaurant – to use public space but not allowing a business right next door to do the same?”

Batton said no restaurant was taking advantage of the arrangement at the time of the work session. He noted that the council’s decision would not affect outdoor dining in downtown Pinehurst, as most restaurants that offer outdoor seating do so on their own property and not on public roads. .

Recognizing the increase in COVID-19 cases fueled by Omicron in Moore County, the council ultimately decided to continue allowing street dining until at least April. The board is expected to reevaluate the situation in March, when the temporary arrangement could be halted or extended depending on county coronavirus trends.

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