We already know that when businesses reopen things are going to be different and social distancing will still be top of mind so in order to help our local economy, the city of Grand Rapids will be introducing "social zones."

The City Commission approved the initiative at Thursday's council meeting. Social zones will allow restaurants, coffee shops, bars, etc to create additional space for their customers, to make up for the space they won't be allowed to use at their establishment.

Social zones will be set up around the city and can be on public or private property, sidewalks and streets. Businesses can get a permit from the city and once granted, are responsible for running it thereafter. This includes providing trash & litter, enforcing a no-smoking policy, maintain furniture, and follow health guidelines.

The city says restaurants and bars should start planning ahead.

...about their desired amount of outdoor seating and where that seating may be placed and talk to their neighbors about their ideas.

They even suggest neighboring businesses work together to come up with a group plan for social zones.

When places reopen, only 50% capacity will be allowed.

Social zones will run June 1-November 30. However, with the current extended stay-at-home order, that start date may end up changing.

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