FOLSOM, Calif. — On Tuesday, the Folsom City Council will consider an ordinance that would make the temporary outdoor dining permit program permanent.
According to the city of Folsom, this ordinance would replace the temporary program that was established under an emergency order during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The plan would regulate outdoor dining and lay a framework for the application and approval process for restaurants seeking to use portions of city-owned properties and on-street parking spaces for outdoor dining," city officials wrote in a statement.
When dining rooms were forced to close at the start of the pandemic, these impromptu outdoor dining spaces that extended into sidewalks and streets helped restaurants like Citizen Vine in Folsom's Historic District stay afloat.
"The first six months of the pandemic were very challenging for our business," Lisa Gomez, the owner of Citizen Vine, told ABC10. "The outdoor dining implementation really saved our business because without it, we would have gone out of business."
Gomez says that, prior to the pandemic, Citizen Vine only had 45 seats inside. When they were given the opportunity to offer more seating outside, her business was able to employ additional staff and grow their business.
"Now, with this new outdoor dining area, we are able to offer solo acoustic music which has also allowed us to increase our sales," Gomez said. "Business is officially financially better with the outdoor dining as the community really appreciates this new environment on Sutter Street."
Gomez remains optimistic that the City will make the temporary outdoor dining program permanent because without it, she says her business will take a hit as she invested nearly $15,000 into building the parklet.
"If this ordinance does not pass, our business will suffer greatly," Gomez said. "Our customers love to be outside, and if I can't retain the outdoor dining, I will lose 50% of my business."
According to city officials, if this ordinance is adopted, restaurants with an existing permit under the emergency order would need to apply for a new temporary outdoor dining permit.
The city is encouraging community members, restaurateurs and business owners to provide input at Tuesday's City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m.
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