The St. Louis County Board could ease a path to outdoor service for some bars and restaurants next week.

The board will weigh approval of temporary expansions for bars and restaurants that could allow for liquor license holders to open for outdoor service when it becomes allowable June 1.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit bars and restaurants hard, having closed those establishments since March 17 for all but drive-thru, curbside or takeout service.

The resolution to allow for outdoor dining expansions was hurried onto Tuesday's agenda after Gov. Walz's order last week that bars and restaurants be allowed to reopen June 1 for outdoor service.

The resolution said it would "streamline the process" by giving authority to the board's liquor licensing committee to approve the expansions.

Under the executive order, outdoor service is allowable provided establishments have a plan to ensure 6 feet of social distancing between tables, limit capacity to no more than 50 people, and limit table service to four people or six people from one family. Reservations are necessary and workers are required to wear masks.

The resolution said the temporary expansions "would allow businesses sufficient time to comply with and take advantage of the executive order."

All told, there are 87 liquor establishments licensed by the county. It does not license establishments in cities which have their own liquor control processes.

The board will conduct its meeting online at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The meeting will be broadcast live on Webex or Facebook Live.

Citizens can submit public comments or address specific board agenda items prior to the meeting by emailing concerns to publiccomment@stlouiscountymn.gov, or by calling 218-726-2110 and leaving a recorded comment.

Online meeting participants can raise a “virtual hand” while using the Webex software during the board meeting.