City of Redwood City restaurants open with outdoor dining program

Supporting Outdoor Restaurant Dining Citywide During COVID-19

Under the County’s new public health order, outdoor dining is now permissible in Redwood City. Recognizing the physical space needed to support outdoor dining opportunities, the City Manager, as the Director of Emergency Services, issued an Executive Order Proclamation last time, June 15, to enable staff to expedite an outdoor dining program. The Proclamation allows for alterations to normal City permitting requirements for certain outdoor commercial activity to allow businesses to extend their operations outdoors in a timely and safe manner, so as to provide a safe environment for customers. It also allows restaurants to immediately apply for a Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit (COVID-19), which allows restaurants to use public and private property for outdoor dining, such as use of sidewalks, parklets, and private parking lots.

Temporary Outdoor Dining COVID-19 Permit

Restaurants that want to expand their footprint to use public and private property for outdoor dining must complete and submit a Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit (COVID-19) application (encroachment permit) to the City. The encroachment permit fee is temporarily waived by the Executive Order Proclamation. In anticipation for an increase in restaurant permit submissions, and to expedite the permit approval process, the City reallocated engineering staff to assist with processing the permit requests. In addition, in anticipation of potential City Council action at the June 22 City Council meeting to temporarily close some downtown streets for outdoor dining beginning June 26, restaurants are encouraged to apply now for a Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit (COVID-19) to participate in the potential outdoor dining downtown street closure program.

For restaurants that already have a permitted outdoor space, there is no need to apply for a Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit (COVID-19) if there is not an expansion of the already permitted use. However, businesses must provide documentation of liability insurance as required by the permit.

All restaurants and their customers must continue to follow the guidelines set by the State of California, the San Mateo County Health Officer, and County Environmental Health Services. Restaurants will also need to obtain an Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) permit  to serve alcoholic beverages to outdoor diners and all other regulatory permits that may apply.

San Mateo County Seeking Variance from State for Indoor Dining

The City is also aware San Mateo County is asking the state for a variance, which would potentially allow indoor dining with restrictions. Staff still believe that even with the opening of indoor dining, due to the occupancy restrictions, restaurants will need outdoor dining areas to survive financially. Additionally, some patrons may feel more comfortable dining outdoors than indoors at this time. As more information becomes available from the County, we will update the community.

For more information about the Executive Order Proclamation and Outdoor Dining Permit application, go here: www.redwoodcity.org/outdoordining

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