If you’ve come to like dining outdoors, you’re in luck. Some al fresco dining arrangements, established to help restaurants survive the pandemic, may become permanent.
By William J. Kelly
In Pasadena, restaurants will be able to continue to serve outside on sidewalks and in parking spaces through mid-2022, said Lisa Derderian, city public information officer. The only hitch is that those along Colorado Blvd. will have to temporarily remove table setups, barriers, and canopies on Dec. 15 to make way for the Rose Parade. After the holiday fanfare they’ll be able to set them up again. Derderian said the city will consider potentially extending the al fresco dining arrangements as summer of 2022 draws near.
“We have seen that outdoor dining is very welcome by patrons and there is almost no negative impacts, said Paul Little, Pasadena Chamber of Commerce executive director. “We have the perfect weather for it and expanded opportunities give restaurants a chance to recoup income lost during the pandemic.” Little also noted Pasadena may use federal pandemic relief funds under the American Rescue Plan Act to subsidize fees placed on restaurants for using outdoor space.
Meanwhile, in Sierra Madre the city council is poised to adopt an ordinance to make al fresco dining permanent. “We think it was a really good program,” said James Carlson, public works director. “People have said they want it to continue.” If approved next week, the new ordinance will establish permanent rules to make sure outdoor operations meet building safety codes and are accessible to the disabled.
In Alhambra city officials are in no hurry to shut down outdoor restaurant spaces on city sidewalks and streets, said Van Nguyen, public information officer. “It’s been viewed pretty positively,” she said, so the plans are to continue to allow outdoor dining for the foreseeable future.
Up north, Sacramento lawmakers are moving to allow continued sale of “cocktails to go,” with appropriate safeguards enforced by the Alcoholic Beverage Control agency. A bill—SB 389 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa)—passed the state Senate earlier this month and now is being considered in the Assembly.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, on June 3, extended an emergency measure through the end of the year to allow restaurants to serve food and alcoholic beverages outdoors in public spaces. “They have been devastated by the pandemic, and this action will immediately assist these small businesses,” remarked Dodd.
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