Waupun Adopts Ordinance Simplifying Beer Garden, Sidewalk Cafe Process

(Waupun) The Waupun Common Council Tuesday night adopted an ordinance making it easier for restaurants and bars to expand their outdoor seating area. Prior to last night, establishments with a liquor license could not sell or have customers consume alcohol in an area not enclosed by a building. Following council adoption, outdoor spaces now become part of the licensed premises. The initiative is meant to help local establishments struggling due to COVID-19 increase square footage so they can operate at greater capacity while keeping customers and servers from concentrating indoors.

City officials say while that is the immediate need, long-term sidewalk cafes and beer gardens are an asset to the community that helps promote use and enjoyment of Waupun’s public spaces as well as enhances tourism. They also pointed to a need to have a permanent ordinance on the books because some businesses may make financial investments into expanding their seating arrangements in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.

The ordinance details that any bar or restaurant applying for a liquor license must include a map describing the outdoor area they wish to expand. For sidewalk cafés, the map must also identify the number and location of tables, chairs and any equipment to be installed.