SAUK RAPIDS -- Sauk Rapids is expected to loosen up restrictions on outdoor seating for bars and restaurants when the city council meets on Tuesday.

City staff is proposing temporarily allowing restaurants to use excess parking for outdoor seating space.

The staff is also suggesting expanding sidewalk cafe permits and added flexibility. Sidewalk cafes would be permitted in all non-residential zones, not just downtown.

Permits would be issued administratively instead of at the council level. Fees would also be waived under the proposal.

The Sauk Rapids HRA is also meeting on Wednesday to consider adopting financial incentives for businesses related to the COVID-19 issues such as the need to buy outdoor furniture for restaurants.

This week Governor Tim Walz announced bars and restaurants could open on Monday, June 1st but only for outdoor seating with a limit of 50 customers at a time.

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