The council backed the measure Aug. 5. Businesses will be able to implement the change effective immediately after notifying the city. The provision will remain in place until coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
"As we continue to deal with COVID-19, this is a great solution to help our businesses," said City Council Member Abbie Kamin, whose district includes portions of the Meyerland, Montrose and Heights areas. "It's a great example of creativity and something the community has been asking for."
The program was developed by Chief Transportation Officer David Fields, mirroring efforts in Austin, Dallas and other cities. It applies only to restaurants in Houston city limits.
An open-air environment limits the spread of the coronavirus more effectively than indoor spaces, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.