KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Kansas City is allowing businesses to get creative with the spaces outside their dining rooms.

Right now, there's a lot of empty parking spaces in downtown KC. So, the city council has passed three new ordinances that would let them turn parking into patios.

It's something The Russell has been experimenting for a few days now. They’ve moved tables to an unused part of the parking lot for outdoor dining.

“When everything happened with the 10 feet within the tables and 6 feet back to back, we knew we needed to come up with a way to keep our customer base happy with an outside seating source,” said Heather White, who works at The Russell.

It allows them to gain back some of the seating they've lost inside while still creating an atmosphere for customers who want a sit-down meal.

“This feels right, and this feels good for Kansas City and people who want to socialize,” she said.

The three ordinances passed by the council would allow restaurants to apply for permits for street cafes (sometimes called “parklets”), to expand into parking lots, and to serve alcohol outside.

Craig Howard owns Howard’s Grocery and Cafe in the Crossroads. Right now, his shop is closed while he focuses on his urban farm. However, he said expanding into the street might make reopening possible later this summer.

“Anytime the city comes up with ways to use space and make it more pedestrian friendly, walkable, that's a good thing,” he said. “I think it's a step in a good direction. Just allowing space and more places to invite people to sit down and relax make the place more friendly.”

Right now, the ordinance would let the permits go through August.

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