LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday to begin taking action to make its COVID-19 alfresco dining program permanent.
The program, which began in May 2020 to help restaurants serve customers safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, streamlines requirements and approvals across several city departments for alfresco dining on sidewalks, parking lots and streets.
On Wednesday, city council voted to report on whether to make the program permanent while following U.S. Disability Act regulations. There were 14 yes votes and one absent.
The vote asked the Engineering Bureau to report on recommendations on transitioning all existing outdoor participants to permanent sidewalk restaurants.
The city attorney was also asked to report on the feasibility of revising the People St. program of the Department of Transportation to allow restaurants to have exclusive use of the public right-of-way, and of the Department of Building and Security, Planning and Los Angeles Fire Department was tasked with drafting recommendations on developing a regulatory framework for a permanent outdoor program.
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s draft budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 – currently under review by the Budget and Finance Committee – includes $ 2 million in grants for low-income neighborhood restaurants to create permanent spaces for outdoor dining as part of the program.
Garcetti showed his support for making the program permanent during his State of the City address in April.
“In a city whose unofficial motto is 72 and Sunny, let’s make outdoor dining permanent, including nearly $ 2 million in grants for restaurants in low-income neighborhoods to install permanent parklets for outdoor dining.” Â», Declared the mayor.
Former city councilor David Ryu, who introduced the motion that council approved on Wednesday in August, said at the time that Los Angeles “has the opportunity to reimagine the way we use the streets of our city and support our local businesses. Now is the time to think about how we want our city to emerge from this pandemic, and it is one way we can come out better than before. “