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Could outdoor dining help Sacramento restaurants amid pandemic?

Two Sacramento organizations say they are working with the city to allow outdoor dining to help restaurants stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As state and local stay-at-home orders continue to keep people inside of their homes — save for essential trips — many are hoping that the day they can head outside to simply eat at restaurants comes sooner rather than later.

In downtown and midtown Sacramento, organizations are working with the city in an effort to make that hope a reality by safely reopening restaurants for customers, with social distancing rules in mind. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected Tuesday to provide more details of what's required before his plan to reopen California’s economy reaches restaurant dining rooms that have been shuttered since mid-March. Restaurant owners already have employees wearing masks and they've removed tables, anticipating that social distancing requirements will slash their capacity. 

Michael Ault, executive director for the Downtown Sacramento Partnership (DSP) said in order for restaurants to survive, they're likely going to have to adapt to reduced capacity restrictions.

"In order to make the numbers work for them, they're going to need to try and find creative ways to expand some of these environments," Auly explained.

Ault, who said he's been working with the Midtown Association and Sacramento City Councilmemeber Steve Hansen, said in order to maximize dining space, some restaurants might explore more outdoor seating.

A Sacramento restaurant is trying to make people comfortable with dining out again by blocking off a street and setting up tables and chairs. More on #LateNewsTonight at 11 w/ Kevin John ABC10

Hansen would not directly comment on the initiative, but said he plans to make an announcement later this week.

"It's potentially allowing people to expand maybe out into the sidewalk and directing some of the pedestrian traffic into safe environments around some of the streets," explained Ault. "Maybe taking a bike lane or working with that."

In addition to sidewalks, Ault said they're looking into utilizing patios and other outdoor space to accommodate guests, allowing restaurants to expand while also giving diners a safe place to eat.

Ault said he is optimistic the idea could be implemented by the end of the month.

"Assuming the necessary approvals get in place, we're hoping within a week this could happen," Ault said.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Kevin John.



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