PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- The City of Peoria is relaxing patio restrictions so that restaurants and bars, currently operating at 50 percent capacity, have more places to sit customers.

The permit normally costs hundreds of dollars, but now it's free, and several businesses have already taken advantage.

Since 2013, the Haymaker located off Happy Valley Road and Lake Pleasant Parkway in Peoria has been a popular destination for families.

"It hurts when people get in their car to specifically come see us, and they go somewhere else. We miss out on sales, on the bonuses for managers, on tips for our employees," said owner Joey Lucidi.

Though he supports the need for social distance, Lucidi can't help but calculate the potential revenue those empty tables would have brought in, around $20,000 a month.

"Easy word, it sucks, it sucks, said Brandon Richter. Down the road, Brandon Richter with Richter Aleworks is also crunching numbers.

"We are at 50 percent capacity, and on a Friday night, it's standing room only, and it's extremely difficult to watch somebody walk up to the door look in, and there's no place to sit, said Richter.

So he reached out to the City of Peoria for help. They responded; last week, the city council approved the Temporary Use Permit, allowing restaurants and bars to expand seating outside without impacting current capacity guidelines.

"Something we are offering to businesses free of charge, they submit an application, and it's expedited. They still have to meet CDC guidelines, psychical distancing all those kinds of things," said Chris Jacques with the City's planning department.

Normally an outdoor seating permit can range from $700 to thousands and can take months to get approved.

"The four or five tables alone I'm going to add in the front probably equate to 4 or 5, 6 thousand dollars a week," said Lucidi.

Lucidi said his patio would be ready by this weekend. Richter estimates their patio up and running by December.


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