The Alexandria City Council has cleared the way for restaurants to sell food and alcohol outside starting on Monday, June 1, as long as they follow state guidelines.

To quicken the process, the council has waived requirements for the restaurants to hold public hearings or obtain conditional use permits for serving customers in outdoor patios. State standards allow this as long as the patios are an extension of a restaurant's existing building.

The restaurants must submit site plans to the city for approval and follow the state guidelines issued last week.

Those state standards include: Tables in outdoor patios must allow at least six feet of space between customers and tables can only serve four people, or six if they are one family unit. Also, walk-ins won’t be allowed. Reservations will be required. Workers will have to wear masks and customers will be encouraged to wear masks when they’re not eating or drinking. No more than 50 people can be on a business premise at any time. The outdoor areas must be barricaded and no vehicles will be allowed.

The council took the action at its meeting Tuesday night after having several discussions with restaurant owners and Horizon Public Health about how restaurants can open during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to City Administrator Marty Schultz.

Alexandria is allowing the limited openings through Sept. 8 unless the state loosens the requirements before then.

In a related action, the council, for the second time, extended the mayor’s declaration of a local emergency because of the pandemic for another 30 days. It was set to expire on May 31.