In this Dec. 11, 2020, file photo, a sign in a Portland restaurant window asks patrons to wear a mask. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

A lifeline has been extended to Portland restaurants as city leaders extended outdoor dining on city streets and sidewalks into the spring.

That program was set to run out after Monday night.

Portland’s city manager, Jon Jennings, said it’s imperative for restaurants using outdoor dining facilities along the city’s main roads to remain open for the upcoming months.

“I think it makes sense to extend it, you know?” The Thirsty Pig Manager Dave Mowers said. “We are all struggling and in a really tough time, and restaurants are very important in this world.”

Restaurants like The Thirsty Pig, which have private outdoor dining areas, can resume normal operations, but Mowers said those using city streets only would have suffered financially should outdoor dining have ended Monday.

“I think it’s obvious it’s going to hurt them financially,” Mowers said. “There’s a lot of restaurants in this town that a lot of buildings in this town only hold 20-30 people inside. So yeah, there’s restaurants closing right now because of that, and they don’t have the space to do outside seating.”

DiMillo’s on the Water Manager Steve DiMillo said the warmer weather Portland has experienced so far this winter has helped those businesses continue serving guests outdoors.

“I think people are adapting to the new norm, and although the weather has been somewhat cold this winter, we’ve had some nice spells,” he said.

DiMillo also said for those restaurants operating with public outdoor dining, he hopes the City Council will extend this allowance for the duration of the pandemic.

“The restaurants in the neighborhood that are small and don’t have any private outdoor space, I think should have the allowance by the city to have outdoor seating,” DiMillo said.

As of now, the order has been extended until May 10, 2021, with councilors having the ability to make amendments if need be.