Restaurants Face New COVID Challenge – Preparing to Offer Outdoor Dining

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Local restaurants now face new challenges thanks to the Coronavirus – preparing to offer outdoor dining for the first time. 

While some eateries in Portsmouth are already set up for outdoor dining with permanent tables and even space to place patio furniture, other restaurants are creating entirely new spaces to offer safe, outdoor dining. 

New Rules

Starting today, Monday, May 18, restaurants in Rhode Island are able to begin limited outdoor dining in addition to their take-out, delivery, and drive-through operations, as long as they operate under the following new regulations, among others:

  • Dining will be by reservation only and groups may not exceed five people, in accordance with guidance on social gathering.
  • Tables must be at least eight feet apart or separated by barriers, and no more than 20 tables will be allowed in any outdoor space.
  • One-time-use paper menus, digital menus, or chalkboard menus will be recommended.
  • Condiments and utensils will either be single-use or sanitized between uses.
  • All high-traffic areas will have to be frequently cleaned.
  • Tables and chairs will be sanitized in between parties.
  • All employees must wear face coverings, and all customers must wear face coverings when they are not eating.
  • Self-service food stations like buffets and salad bars will be prohibited.
  • Cashless and contactless payment methods will be encouraged. Pens and payment stations will be frequently cleaned.
  • For now, no valet services will be allowed. Customers will be asked to park their own cars.

Portsmouth Application

In Portsmouth, currently licensed restaurants must apply for temporary outdoor dining through a special application process.

All applications shall include the following:

  • A plan showing the proposed outdoor service area;
  • The proposed number of seats (capacity may not exceed the current licensed capacity);
  • The location of physical barriers or other protection to keep diners separated from other trafficked areas;
  • Evidence that the expanded service area is covered by liability insurance;
  • And, for restaurants wishing to temporarily convert a portion of off-street parking areas into service areas, a parking plan.

Where any portion of the proposed area of temporary expansion is owned by a separate legal entity, a written authorization from the property owner must be presented and where use of a tent is proposed, a separate tent permit application shall be required.

3 Portsmouth Restaurants Apply

To date, only three Portsmouth restaurants have submitted applications for temporary outdoor dining: Montaup Country Club, Tremblay’s Bar & Grill, and the Valley Inn Restaurant.

All three restaurants will appear before the Portsmouth Town Council for approval at a special meeting on Wednesday, May 20, starting at 7 p.m.

You can watch and participate in the meeting remotely.

To access the meeting by phone dial-in, please dial: 1-888-788-0099
Once prompted for the meeting ID, please dial: 996-8471-9966#

View the entire meeting agenda here:

Montaup Country Club

Montaup Country Club on Anthony Road is seeking approval for four tables outside its clubhouse. Each table, set eight feet apart, will seat five guests for a total of 20 people at a time.

You can view the application, including proposed dining map, here:

Tremblay’s Bar & Grill

With a little help from a neighbor, Tremblay’s Bar & Grill will offer outdoor dining.

Since the current restaurant does not possess any available outdoor space, Michael MacFarlane is allowing Tremblay’s Bar & Grille to use a fenced patio area behind his building at 506 Park Ave.

The proposed plan includes eight tables, which seat five guests each.

You can view the application, including proposed dining map, here:

The Valley Inn Restaurant

The Valley Inn Restaurant on West Main Road, which previously never offered any outdoor dining options, plans to place 10 tables to the right and the left of the entrance on the south side of the building, adjacent to the parking area.

Each table can seat five guests, totaling only half of the restaurant’s current approved seating.

You can view the application, including proposed dining map, here:

Other Restaurants

Portsmouth Press reached out to several other restaurants in Portsmouth on Monday about their future plans.

Graziano’s 501 Cafe, Localz Kitchen & Cocktails, and 15 Point Road Restaurant, Waterfront Dining are all working hard and planning for outdoor dining. However, an opening date is not yet determined.

Schultzy’s Snack Shack said they are not yet looking into outdoor dining, while a couple favorite restaurants in Portsmouth, such as Cindy’s Country Cafe and the longstanding Reidy’s Family Restaurant, remain closed.

Only one restaurant in Portsmouth appeared to offer outdoor dining as of Monday – Gulf Stream Bar & Grille (by reservation only). Diners could reserve a table online at or by calling 401-293-0930, according to their Facebook page.

You can view our updated list of Portsmouth restaurants offering takeout and delivery here:

UPDATED LIST: What’s Open, Closed, and Offering Take-Out in Portsmouth 

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