City clears way for outdoor service at Shakopee businesses

By Amanda McKnight

Shakopee City Administrator Bill Reynolds signed an administrative order Wednesday that allows Shakopee restaurants to set up outdoor seating areas in spite of existing city code.

Gov. Tim Walz announced this week that restaurants can reopen starting June 1 but only for outdoor seating with a maximum of 50 patrons at a time. Tables must be spaced at least six feet apart, and parties are limited to four. If everyone is in the family, parties are limited to six.

Reynolds’ administrative order allows Shakopee businesses to use parking areas or green space for outdoor service areas without the need for a city-issued variance or permit. Businesses can erect temporary tables, tents and sun shelters, as well.

After June 1, the city will allow restaurants to use public parking spaces as customer seating areas, but such requests need to go through the city of Shakopee Public Works Department.

Some caveats of the temporary use of outdoor space include:

  • Businesses must prepare traffic management plans and provide on-site traffic and operational management
  • Customer waiting or service areas must not impede sidewalk usage or block accessible parking spaces or ramps
  • Activities should not create a nuisance to neighboring properties
  • Businesses must obtain modifications to their liquor licenses if they plan to allow liquor to be dispensed or consumed in the temporary service areas

Reynolds’ administrative order applies not just to restaurants, but to all commercial and industrial sites that want to establish drive-up or drive-thru areas; customer ordering, waiting or pick-up areas; or customer seating or service areas.

According to the order, these temporary outdoor allowances will remain in effect until repealed by another administrative order or until the Shakopee City Council takes action.

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