The Rockwell Group, a Manhattan-based design shop of 250, has designed conversion kits for 30-216 well-spaced seats as restaurants move patrons to outdoors. The design constructs wooden decking to cover the sidewalks and parking strips, semi-private booths, and carefully spaced tables. There are also sanitation units which allow workers to regularly wash their hands.
Many cities are converting spaces in front of restaurants so they can re-open with larger capacity and in the much-healthier open air. Bloomberg reports that New York City has convened an interagency task force to move quickly on expediting regulations to allow more al fresco dining.
In Seattle, it might make sense to create a design competition among local architects to create modular units for tables, rain protection, serving stations. That way, we would have a larger market for manufacturers of these units and Seattle-specific designs. Maybe there could be three finalists selected. This would allow a big enough market for manufacturing the units, as well as some variety and different costs for the conversions.
Hat-tip to Bob Donegan of Ivar’s for spotting the Rockwell story.