Lincoln restaurants are now able to apply online for a Dine Out Lincoln Permit at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: dine out). The application process is part of the City's new Dine Out Lincoln program aimed at helping local restaurants serve more customers while still following the requirements of the COVID-19 Directed Health Measure (DHM). Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird took emergency action May 28 to allow restaurants to expand their seating capacity into adjacent indoor or outdoor, publicly or privately-owned spaces.
To support Dine Out Lincoln, the Lincoln City Council Monday approved temporary measures to streamline the process for restaurants and similar businesses to receive special designated liquor licenses (SDLs) and to add to the area covered by the licenses. When there is no opposition to an SDL, the City Council will waive its procedures to hold the first reading, public hearing and vote on the same day for SDLs and addition requests. The approved measures also remove the 21-day filing deadline for SDLs.
Liquor licenses are issued by the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission (NLCC). On June 5, the NLCC issued an advisory allowing licensees to apply for temporary additions to their current location. This change allows businesses to temporarily add indoor or outdoor space without having to apply for SDLs and to avoid the daily fees associated with the SDL. Businesses will submit the request for a temporary addition to the NLCC, which will issue an amended liquor license after receiving the City Council's recommendation for approval. The Dine Out Lincoln Permits will expire immediately when the DHM restrictions are lifted or authority for use of the space is removed. Violations of the DHM or of any city or state law could lead to a revocation of the permit.
Under the DHM, restaurants and bars are limited to 50-percent occupancy and must separate tables by at least six feet. Applications for the Dine Out Lincoln Permit will be reviewed by an Outdoor Dining Review Team, which will have the authority to make changes and to waive the previously required fees. Some of the waivers may include the duration of tent permits; fencing requirements; parking standards; set back requirements; and restroom distance rules.
The Outdoor Dining Review Team will hold a question-and-answer sessions by Zoom at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 10. Information on how to participate in the meeting is at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: dine out). More information on COVID-19, including the current DHM and safety resources for businesses, is available at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov.