Missouri City City Council unanimously approved a temporary ordinance during its June 21 meeting that will increase local businesses’ ability to hold special events and prepare and serve food outdoors.

“We all want businesses to sustain, thrive and grow, and whatever we can do as a city to do that, I am all for it,” Council Member Lynn Clouser said during an initial conversation about the ordinance June 7.

Under the adopted ordinance, a business holding a current certificate of occupancy will be allowed to host a special event up to three days a week. An extended temporary health permit will be required each week a special event is held, according to city documents. The temporary health permit will cost $55 for the initial day of the event plus $22 for each consecutive day up to three consecutive days a week.

Missouri City issues annual health permits to restaurants that meet the rules and regulations of the city. This permit, however, is for the use of permanent equipment and spaces, according to city documents.

Businesses must seek a temporary health permit in association with a special event permit for temporary food service setup including outdoor events and activities. Prior to the temporary ordinance, these events were limited to once every six months.

Mason Garcia, a planner with Missouri City, said the city has had several businesses inquire about having additional space and flexibility for outdoor food service to help combat the economic effects and social distancing requirements necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Morris, the co-owner of Missouri City-based restaurant Cabo Dogs, was one such business owner working with the city to relax special event and temporary health permits.

“Everything that is happening now is headed in the right direction,” Morris said June 7. “Thank you very much for hearing us out on this, and we look forward to a positive outcome.”

The temporary special event and outdoor cooking ordinance is effective through the remainder of 2021. Development Services Director Jennifer Thomas Gomez said the city will continue to work with business owners, and permanent permitting changes could be brought before council this fall.