The social zones were created as a way to help out restaurants since having to be limited to half their capacity. With the pandemic still ongoing, the city of Grand Rapids has voted to extend it through next year.

The decision was made during a city commission meeting earlier this week. The social zones will now last until May 31, 2020.

During this period, “social zones” can be established and operated by permit on public property, streets and sidewalks to encourage expanded outdoor dining and socialization space.

With winter approaching the city also made "adjustments" to accommodate to the establishments. This includes slow plowing, allowing for heaters and temporary shelter structure such as tents and canopies.

The Development City Manager said in a statement that while it's unknown what the winter will bring

...it at least gives restaurants another option to maintain their customer base and employment and make it through the winter.

He mentioned that Luna, in Downtown GR, has already installed heaters on their patio. Business who are interested in installing heaters will have to first get approval from the Fire Department.

The city also made a ruling that skateboarding, biking, etc would not be allowed within the zones and solicitation is also prohibited. People can face a $50 fine if not followed.

MLive says there are currently nine social zones. These allow patrons to eat and have alcohol within the contained space of the zone.

Social zones were first enacted on June 1 which will make it a full year in use by the time it expires. You can see what neighborhoods and restaurants are considered a part of it here.

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