By Shereen Siewert

Some Wausau tavern and restaurants could serve patrons outdoors through Dec. 31, if city officials confirm a proposal that mirrors one approved last summer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If approved, the temporary rule will allow local bars and taverns citywide to apply for temporary sidewalk cafe permits to serve alcoholic beverages in outdoor areas, maximizing social distancing. Those businesses can use public sidewalks, parking areas and open spaces during a limited time period to expand their service area.

Last year’s rule allowed outdoor service through Dec. 2020. The new rule would be in place in time for the spring and summer season.

The criteria for granting temporary permission for outdoor operation requires that taverns have 50 or fewer demerit points on the date of their application. The proposed outdoor area cannot be greater than 50 percent of the indoor licensed premises. The proposed temporary outdoor premises must be entirely visible at all times from the indoor premises, or must have licensed bartender located within and supervising the temporary outdoor area during operation. Outdoor areas are restricted to operating between noon and 10 p.m.

The matter will go before the full council during a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 407 Grant St., Wausau.