Antoniou’s & Other Rochester Hills Restaurants to Begin Special Outdoor Seating
(Lara Mossa, June 29, 2020)
ROCHESTER HILLS – Soon, you’ll be able to have dinner and a cocktail outside at Antoniou’s Towne Square Pizza. Like many restaurants during the pandemic era, Antoniou’s will combat the economic downturn by adding outdoor seating to the Rochester Hills business.
“It’s affected us immensely in so many different ways…a lot of different levels…financially, emotionally,” Owner Mike Antoniou said of the Coronavirus. “Our relationships we built over 24 years with these customers we have grown to love and look forward to seeing every week abruptly ended. That was just a big loss.”
Applying for the change will be easier due to three different resolutions passed by the Rochester Hills City Council earlier this month. The first allows restaurants to seek a special event permit to allow outdoor dining. The second allows businesses to conduct more outdoor activities. And the third relaxes some of the sign regulations, so businesses can advertise their sales and other items without a special permit, explained Ryan Deel, Rochester Hills City Council President.
The new guidelines went into effect June 8 – the same day restaurants could reopen for indoor seating after more than two months of being closed – and expires Dec. 31.
“The idea is to help stimulate business activity as we re-engage our economy following the prolonged (Coronavirus) shutdown,” Deel said.
Among the options businesses will have include having sidewalk sales or point-of-sale equipment outside, Deel said. Outdoor activities also could include allowing tents where employees can take people’s temperatures before they go into a building or have areas outside with park benches or tables wear employees can take a break.
Restrictions for restaurants require that outdoor seating cannot interfere with other businesses activities or be a nuisance. Other than that, the outdoor dining is limited to 75 percent of the indoor occupancy. (Currently, the state regulations say that restaurants can only operate at 50 percent capacity indoors.)
“Many of our local businesses quite frankly are all struggling from the aftereffects of the three-month shutdown,” Deel added. “They need help as we re-engage our economy.”
Antoniou’s, which is located near the corner of Avon and Rochester roads, does not currently have outdoor seating. The owner is in the process of applying for outdoor dining and hopes to have it by the end of the month. The patio would include picnic tables for 20 people with shrubs and mood lighting, Antoniou said. In addition, he plans to take advantage of the sign requirements.
Currently, Antoniou’s includes a sit-down restaurant and banquet room that accommodate 120 people at a time. With 15 to 20 employees, that number was pared down to eight during the height of the pandemic that launched a quarantine throughout the state. The restaurant will still provide no contact pickup and no contact delivery, Antoniou said.
“The city has really made it so easy for us to conduct business and try to make things normal again,” Antoniou said. “I think it’s going to be kind of fun. A lot of families will enjoy sitting together in a safe zone.”