Council OKs Outdoor Dining to Aid Struggling Eateries

The Santa Barbara City Council unanimously voted May 19 to close the 500 to 1200 blocks of State Street to vehicular traffic and allow restaurants to offer outdoor dining in some areas as proposed by the city administrator last week. 

Currently, State Street pavement is scraped up with plans to resurface the once thoroughfare. Officials said the traffic halt could start as early as this weekend.

Restaurant owners will be allowed to bring tables and chairs outside in front of their establishments and serve alcoholic beverages as well as food. 

Proprietors at the council meeting seemed to agree with the plan as Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares to soon allow indoor dining, which will mean eateries will lose most of their seating. 

Santa Barbara Downtown officials agreed with the council’s move, perhaps in part because its board president runs an eatery on Ortega Street, just off State.

Even though restaurant dining tables are supposed to be kept 6 feet apart, the mayor said outdoor seating might make many people think they can cease social distancing.

Posted May 19, 2020.

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