Photo by Megan Turner.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced on Monday businesses can expand their operations outside to help jumpstart the road to the economic recovery while also following the new statewide guidelines. 

The move to use outdoor space comes as more businesses opened with the start of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Phase 1: Safe. Smart. Step-by-step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery.”

Photo courtesy of the City of Orlando’s Twitter.

Dyer said during a Monday press conference that businesses within Orlando’s city limits can expand outdoors and use farmers market-style tents to accommodate the new rules.

DeSantis’ executive order states restaurants and food establishments may allow on-premises food and beverage consumption — with appropriate social distancing measures in place — and limit indoor occupancy to no more than 25% of the establishment’s building occupancy during Phase 1.

The statewide order allows outdoor seating with appropriate social distancing, which requires parties to be sat 6 feet apart and bar counters to be closed.

Dyer said businesses — not just restaurants, but also retail and those operations permitted to be open during Phase 1 of the statewide order — can expand into outdoor areas such as private parking lots. Next week the Orlando City Council will consider the use of public rights-of-way, as well.    

Businesses can also use extra banners and signage for marketing, and City Council will meet to discuss the city covering the costs of downtown parking to encourage residents to shop at local businesses, Dyer said. 

The City of Orlando is taking these to help businesses temporarily get back on their footing, according to a news release, and all programs will be available to businesses until Sept. 1.

Dyer said during Monday’s press conference that businesses can begin taking advantage of a majority of these actions — which are only applicable to businesses within Orlando’s city limits — effective immediately. 

Dyer said the city is working to help expedite local businesses on their path to economic recovery. 

“We know, there are few, if any, businesses that have been immune to the impacts of this global pandemic,” Dyer said in a news release. “Whether closing completely, limiting operations or having employees work remotely, our employers and entrepreneurs have helped us control the spread of this virus and now we can begin to reopen our economy responsibly.”

The Orlando City Council will virtually meet on May 11 at 2 p.m. to consider expanding the program’s operations to public rights-of-way and to discuss covering the costs of the downtown parking program. The council will also vote on suspending permits and payments to participate in the program.

The City Council meeting can be viewed in real-time at the City of Orlando’s website. Members of the public can submit comments during the livestream or in advance — more information is available at the City Council’s website.