Photo Caption: Forest Avenue in Laguna Beach converted to pedestrian promenade with outdoor seating areas.
“So here we are months into a global pandemic, and although things feel more normal than they did in March/April, many businesses are feeling the impact of the Covid-19 virus. Restaurants in particular have been especially hit hard, with a record high number of closures and many struggling to barely hang on. In July alone, California saw the most permanent restaurant and bar closings with 1,271 locations shutting their doors for good.
One lifeline that has helped restaurants keep their head above water, and in some rare cases thrive, is outdoor seating. Patios, sidewalks, parking lots, off-street parking, alleys, lawns, and even public areas have all been utilized to put customers back in the seats. Cities all across the southern California coast have expedited permits to allow for outdoor dining. The Alcoholic Beverage Control of California has also been working fast to accommodate restaurants in need by approving temporary licenses to serve adult beverages in designated outdoor areas. Astroturf, wooden pallets, umbrellas, and picnic tables are becoming a common sight in popular areas. Unlike many other areas in the US, we are lucky here in southern California that we have favorable weather year-round.
Many cities have been proactive to help businesses with outdoor dining. Laguna Beach has converted Forest Avenue into a pedestrian only walkway with many restaurant patios. Patrons of Huntington Beach’s popular Main Street can be seen outdoors on the sidewalks and streets enjoying the southern California sunshine while they eat and drink. Dory Deli and Blackie’s by the Sea on the popular oceanfront in Newport Beach have customers living the high life with a front row view of the boardwalk and ocean from the parking lot. Belmont Shore Long Beach has dozens of businesses taking advantage of the street along the 2nd Street corridor. Life isn’t too bad with all these outdoor dining options. And, most importantly it is safer for the customers and the employees. In fact, many people will be pretty bummed when these outdoor dining options eventually go away. Until then, grab a burger and a beer safely outdoors and support your local restaurant. They could definitely use it right now.”