Friday, June 9, 2023

Ok, so we’ve entered Phase 1, but some items may still be clear as mud. Here’s some guidance for Williamsburg business owners

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unspllash)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unspllash)

The city of Williamsburg has issued emergency temporary zoning guidance to local business owners as the state entered into Phase 1 of reopening.

Statewide in a nutshell, here’s a refresher of what Phase 1 intends.

But some may be unclear on what the phase entails as far as local operations are concerned.

So here you go:

The city’s emergency temporary zoning guidelines “offer clear procedures pertaining to outdoor seating at all licensed restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, wineries and tasting rooms,” according to a city news release.

“As the Governor relaxes restrictions on businesses across Virginia, it has become obvious the city would need to provide guidance to our local entrepreneurs on best practices,” City Manager Andrew Trivette said.

The guidelines are categorized by facility type and are “effective  immediately” and expire under any of the following conditions: on the revised directive of the city manager, the adoption of an ordinance by the City Council, or by July 31, 2020.

Private outdoor seating expansion:

  • Existing outdoor seating areas may be expanded into adjacent areas including streets and sidewalks so long as the public throughway remains open, applicable special event permits are obtained, and emergency access is uninterrupted. Only locations in downtown Williamsburg will be considered for street closures.
  • New outdoor seating areas may be created to include portions of the existing parking field provided that the guidelines in Executive Order 61 can be met, and:
  1. Appropriate barriers must be installed to protect patrons and comply with any applicable ABC regulations.
  2. Architectural Review Board requirements for such outdoor seating shall not apply.
  3. City staff shall have the discretion to determine maximum space available for conversion to outdoor seating while providing necessary parking for patrons.

Public seating areas:

  • The city may create outdoor seating areas on Duke of Gloucester Street:
  1. The street shall continue to be closed for use by vehicular traffic and will have limited pedestrian access from Boundary Street to Henry Street.
  2. The city of Williamsburg shall install and maintain tables, chairs, and umbrellas for use by patrons regardless of point of purchase for consumer goods.
  3. The seating area shall open at dawn and close at 10 pm.
  4. Necessary emergency access shall be maintained for all adjacent structures.
  5. Architectural Review Board requirements for such outdoor seating shall not apply.


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John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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