HUDSON -- Local businesses now have the option to extend their premises for outdoor seating to better comply with COVID-19 social distancing measures.

The Common Council Monday, June 1, delegated authority to approve any such requests to the staff, meaning restaurants will not have to wait up to two weeks for council meetings. City Administrator Aaron Reeves said they wanted to figure out ways to help businesses work within the county’s COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Restaurants could use side street parking spaces, alleys or sidewalk space to expand seating if city staff approved. Each approval will be brought back to the council at its next meeting.

The city has not had any formal requests to do so, but Reeves said it’s possible the city might.

In other COVID-19 news, the council delayed taking action on city fireworks scheduled for July 5.

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Reeves said if the city moved forward with the event, it could set up social distanced areas in the park, marked by spray paint or chalk, and other efforts to meet the county guidelines. There is no guarantee, he said. He is aware of eight other cities that are continuing with their events.

Council member Randy Morrissette said he’d be in favor of holding the fireworks, as it is a tradition and could give a sense of normalcy back to the community.

Council member Jim Webber said with other places canceling their events, including Stillwater, Hudson could see a larger crowd than it has in the past and may not be able to handle that number.

The contract for the fireworks does not have a deadline to cancel, so Mayor Rich O’Connor suggested waiting until the next meeting.

Council member Paul Deziel said he’d like to see what the county COVID-19 numbers are like closer to the date. Council member Sarah Atkins Hoggatt said it’s also important to get Minnesota numbers, as many Minnesotans will likely come to Hudson for the event.