Los Angeles Extends Outdoor Dining Program for Up to Three Years

An emergency ordinance signed by the city's mayor will allow restaurants to keep outdoor dining facilities built during the pandemic for at least one more year.

2 minute read

July 8, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

LA Al Fresco Informational Graphic

City of Los Angeles LA Al Fresco Program / LA AL Fresco Graphic

To "continue to support restaurants and bars throughout the ongoing pandemic," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has extended several COVID-era policies, writes Mona Holmes for Eater LA. The emergency ordinance, "set to become codified in the next two weeks, provides sweeping clarity on several fronts, including the continuation of outdoor dining spaces for business across the county." The city's outdoor dining program, known as LA Al Fresco, "would be allowed to continue for at least the next 12 months, with the possibility of extension for another two years beyond that date if approved by the City Council down the line." The program, launched in May 2020, was briefly suspended in December as COVID-19 cases in the city climbed.

"Garcetti’s emergency ordinance also updates the city’s parking variance needs related to changes of use for restaurant spaces up to 5,000 square feet. While wonky, the policy essentially means that new and existing restaurants can suspend the need to provide a set number of on or off-site parking spots for cars, freeing up the city for more business density and a more transit-oriented approach to everyday life — to say nothing of the reduced fees needed for opening a business in the first place."

F E Design and Consulting’s Eddie Navarette "sees a lot of potential in this ordinance, including changes regarding parking and the coveted and expensive alcohol licenses from California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control." Navarette also says the new rules will free up public servants "from the cumbersome process of permitting for things like parking variances" and reduce the workload for city departments whose budgets were reduced during the pandemic.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Eater Los Angeles

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