Decisions on which businesses can trade in Aberdeen streets, roads and parks are to be taken by unelected officials as Covid restrictions are lifted.
But councillors have been accused of “washing their hands” of their responsibilities.
Non-essential businesses, including pubs and restaurants, are expected to be allowed to reopen on April 26.
In the last month, more than 100 queries from business bosses seeking to make use of public space for trading have been received by the local authority.
Not all have been from hospitality venues, though their beer tents and marquees in Union Street and around the city centre were the most visible signs of the move outdoors last year through the pandemic.
Last year, councillors voted to allow senior officers to make decisions on outdoor trading spaces but the delegation of power needed to be reinstated.
The decision does not affect the licensing process, still overseen by councillors on the Licensing Board.
In the last 12 months, there has been fierce criticism of some of the decisions led by the unelected officials – most notably in the £1.76 million Spaces For People physical distancing project and in the permissions given for businesses to take to the streets.
Mr Yuill, the Liberal Democrat group leader on the council, said: “I don’t question for a minute our staff and the commitment they would have to doing this professionally but it’s fairly obvious that some of the decisions made – particularly street occupations – have been difficult and resulted in public discussion and sometimes outright hostility.
“If there is going to be grief for making these decisions, it should be directed at councillors, not staff.
“I firmly believe we should be the ones taking the flak.”
SNP group leader Mr Nicoll said elected members needed to “stand up and be counted” on the decisions, in an effort to be “more open, transparent and accountable” to the public.
He had suggested councillors should take back control of decisions on the use of public space – including roads, pavements and parks – but was voted down five to four on Monday.
The Conservative said councillors could not “pick and choose” what decisions they could take, pointing out the need for an “even-handed” approach.
Shops and hospitality venues are expecting to reopen on April 26, with licenced premises only able to serve alcohol outdoors until the next anticipated relaxation of restrictions in mid-May.
Meanwhile, ministers have encouraged local authorities to temporarily relax planning rules to accommodate trading outside.
Chief capital officer John Wilson – consulting strategic planning head Gale Beattie and operations boss Mark Reilly – will take on the decision-making, in an effort to speed up decisions by bypassing the need to provide councillors with reports and arrange meetings.
Mr Wilson said: “This is a pragmatic way to manage a fluid changing environment where applications will need to be responded to in a relatively short time period thereby providing confidence for business investment.
“Adopting this methodology will give confidence that the council wishes to continue its support for businesses in this way over the summer months, in line with advice from the Scottish Government.”
The Conservative, Aberdeen Labour and independent administration councillors agreed, on the basis that “urgency and expediency” were key to the survival of troubled city centre businesses.
Tory group leader Mr Lumsden said: “There needs to be a lot of flexibility around this and we should do as much as we possibly can to allow businesses to open again.
“Businesses are really hurting out there and we need to act as quickly as we can.
“We are almost still in an emergency situation when it comes to getting businesses working again – we are in an emergency on our high street.
“I would have had more sympathy if you had set out a way of allowing these decisions to come back to sub-group of councillors.”
His group voted the extension of powers through, with a review on their continued use before the projected reopening of indoor pub trading next month.