Council moves to make Madison’s ‘streatery’ program for restaurants permanent

MADISON, Wis. — A program that helped keep many Madison restaurants afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic could outlast the pandemic that prompted its creation.

On Tuesday night, the Madison Common Council took the first step toward approving outdoor dining expansion, which 175 businesses in the city have utilized.

The streatery program allows businesses to place tables in designated roads and parking lots.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway sponsored new ordinances that would allow eligible sidewalk cafes to expand onto the surrounding sidewalk and nearby streets.

“When the pandemic hit, we were really looking for ways to support, particularly our restaurants and really just leaped into action to make it possible for more places to have outdoor seating,” she said.

The program was set to expire in April after getting an extension in 2021. The council’s referral needs to clear several committees before reaching a final vote, which is tentatively set for mid-March.