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Newport Joins Cincinnati, Covington In Outdoor Dining Expansion Effort

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A new café seating program in Newport gives eateries a chance to expand their outdoor dining options free of charge, while also providing a more walkable experience through the business district. 

Mayor Tom Guidugli, Jr. says a $37,500 grant from The Devou Good Foundation means restaurants can apply to receive free tables, chairs, umbrellas and planters. The foundation also funded so-called "streateries" in Cincinnati. 

"The streateries concept is one that we are looking forward to implementing in the future, but we have a couple challenges in regard to our main business district being on a state route," he said. "So, we came up with some other creative ways to implement immediate activity and the café seating program is just that."

Most of the money - $30,000 - will go toward the new furnishings, while $5,000 is allocated for a festival-like launch event; $2,500 goes toward marketing and branding. 

The café dining program is slated to last through at least 2022.

Guidugli says the city will store and take care of the furnishings throughout the winter. 

Newport is the latest city along the Ohio River to expand outdoor seating options. 

Cincinnati spent $2 million in federal stimulus money to make streateries permanent in Over-the -Rhine. They were originally permitted during the peak of the pandemic when indoor dining was limited due to COVID-19. 

Last year, Covington also created an expanded outdoor seating program that allowed eateries to put small tables and chairs in parking spaces, allyways and nearby sidewalks when feasible. The city also allowed heaters and tents during winter months. 

Communications Manager Dan Hassert says the expanded dining options were extended in April through Oct. 31, but the city is considering whether to permanently keep the new options place. 

Newport eateries can apply for the café dining program at the city building at 998 Monmouth St.