Huntington Beach

More outdoor seating for restaurants?

MAIN STREET in downtown Huntington Beach has many eateries and bars (Flickr/Dan Lund).

One of the features of downtown Huntington Beach’s restaurant scene is its al fresco – outdoor – dining. Many of the diverse eateries have table and chairs outside their front doors where patrons can eat and drink in the sunshine and watch the passing parade.

Would expanding the area and capacity for such dining help revive the financial prospects for the local dining scene once restaurants are allowed to re-open?

Such a proposal will be considered at Monday’s meeting of the Huntington Beach City Council. Councilmembers Mike Posey and Patrick Brenden are asking city staff to research temporarily expanding outdoor dining because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Those businesses able to reopen will need to impose strict social distancing and safety measure for their workforce and customers,” wrote the two in a letter to the council and mayor.

Allowing eateries to use public spaces and/or expand to adjacent private spaces to allow for the placement of additional tables would allow businesses to serve more customers. “The added seating capacity could make the difference between a business being able to stay afloat and having to close its doors,” they wrote.

In a related matter, Councilman Erik Peterson is asking the city to challenge the definition of what’s considered an “essential business” allowed to remain open by state and federal guidelines.

Referring to how some stores must close and others may remain open, Peterson wrote “Why is Target allowed to be open when Nordstrom clothing is required to be closed? There does not appear to be any rational definition of essential business and/or categories of businesses that are considered essential.”

He wants the city to “create a list of businesses essential to Huntington Beach and discuss the policies needed to get our city open,” and “discuss local enforcement of the state orders.”

The council meeting will be conducted electronically and the open session is to begin at 6 p.m.


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