Business

Riverhead extends outdoor dining through Sept. 30 and seeks to make it permanent

The Riverhead Town Board voted unanimously Thursday to allow outdoor dining to continue from July 1 to Sept. 30 and officials are working on a plan to make it permanent.

The 2020 resolution allowing outdoor expired on Wednesday, according to Supervisor Yvette Aguiar.

“We’d like to keep it for our restaurants,” she said. 

The 2020 resolution allowing outdoor dining was done to help restaurants that had been hurt by COVID-19-related restrictions on the number of people allowed in establishments. 

“Riverhead was a pioneer in this effort, which now exists throughout the entirety of Suffolk County, and most of the towns are making it permanent,” the supervisor said. 

“We’re going to extend it for three more months and it’s my hope that we can make this permanent,” she said. 

She asked town building and planning administrator Jeff Murphree to look into making outdoor dining permanent, and to have the extension in place before the current law expires. 

She said Southampton Town is also taking similar moves to continue outdoor dining.

“I think this is a great thing, because a lot of these businesses have already made provisions and put lot of money into making outdoor seating areas,” said Councilman Frank Beyrodt.

“I agree,” said Councilwoman Catherine Kent. “This is something I’ve always wanted, outdoor dining in the downtown area, and I like the idea of moving forward with it permanently.”  

She suggested that if there are some “tweaks” that need to be made, the board should discuss it at a work session, since the board has time before Sept. 30.