Feargus O’Sullivan continues asking the urbanist question of how the push for outdoor bar and restaurant seating in public rights of way affects other demands upon public space.
But the movements of these private businesses into new spaces pose new challenges about who gets to occupy outside spaces that are increasingly in demand. Reopened parks, one of the few place to freely and safely congregate during coronavirus, are frequently packed. Many streets already have sidewalks filled with lines of people waiting to enter stores enforcing a low customer capacity. Add a new range of table service businesses to this busy streetscape, and issues about who get priority come to the fore. These questions have been exacerbated in a summer of unrest when, in the most extreme of examples, racial justice protesters demonstrate against police brutality in city streets where other people sit eating brunch.