LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - City officials voted to help struggling local restaurants increase their capacity by waiving outdoor seating fees.
Though there are not any legal restrictions on indoor dining, some customers choose to stay away from restaurants for health reasons. The "sidewalk cafe" plan's goal is to make it easier for restaurants to serve people outdoors.
Soula's Cuisina manager Greg Saliars said it will help bring more business in because he can add seven outdoor tables to the parking area in front of the restaurant.
"They can sit outside and they can look at all of the historic buildings. They can see people walking around," Saliaras said. "Maybe they'll get inspired to go shop at a different store. It's going to help not only the restaurants and bars but also the gift shops, clothing stores, candy stores and everybody else as well."
Saliaras needs to purchase more chairs and tables himself, but the City of La Crosse and Downtown Mainstreet Inc. will cover the cost of the barriers put up around the previous parking spot.
Dowtown Mainstreet Inc. Executive Director Robin Moses said another way the organization is planning to help raise money for local small businesses is the upcoming "Picnic on the River" fundraiser.
People can purchase tickets here and find more ways to help local restaurants get through the COVID-19 pandemic.