City of Racine–Today, Mayor Cory Mason, in conjunction with City Clerk Tara Coolidge, and the Racine Public Health Department, have issued an order waiving the fees for sidewalk café licenses and allowing them citywide. The City of Racine is still in the midst of a public health emergency as coronavirus cases continue to increase. The Racine Public Health Department encourages outdoor seating as a way to better maintain social distancing.

“Many City residents are not yet comfortable entering restaurants for meals but would feel more comfortable eating meals at their favorite establishments if more outdoor seating were available.Outdoor seating, as long as it is sanitized properly and adheres to physical distancing guidelines, is a great option for restaurants especially as we get into warmer weather,” said Racine Public Health Administrator, Dottie-Kay Bowersox.

“I want to thank Alderman Jeff Coe and other local restaurants that reached out asking for options. This will help restaurants have some additional seating capacity while keeping people outside and physically distant. As weather warms up, we know more people will want to be outside, but because coronavirus hasn’t gone away, we need to still be smart and this is one safer way to eat at restaurants,” said Mayor Cory Mason.

Under the order the following is required, but City staff are prepared to expedite the process:

  • Restaurants must complete the sidewalk café application and return it to the City Clerk’s Office. You can request an application and return an application via email by contacting clerks@cityofracine.org.
  • Must include a copy of a valid restaurant license and certificate of insurance.
  • Provide an 8.5 x 11 layout which includes photographs, drawings, or manufacturer’s brochures describing the appearance and dimensions of all tables, chairs, umbrellas, or other objects related to the sidewalk café.

The application will be forwarded from the Clerk to City Development and the Chief Building Inspector. Once City Development and Building Inspector review the application the City Clerk will either grant or deny the sidewalk café license. If granted a license will be mailed to you and fees will be waived.

The City wants to remind restaurants that there is a difference between sidewalk cafes on a business’ private property or sidewalk cafes that will use the public right of way. For questions please call 262-636-9171.