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Gov. Newsom signs legislation to keep parklets, to-go cocktails

Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-09 23:48:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation allowing businesses and restaurants to continue to use parklets and serve to-go cocktails with food orders.

The services were created as an emergency response during the pandemic to help businesses stay afloat amid COVID-19 restrictions.

"These innovative strategies have been a lifeline for hard-hit restaurants during the pandemic and today, we’re keeping the entrepreneurial spirit going so that businesses can continue to create exciting new opportunities and support vibrant neighborhoods across the state,” Governor Newsom said while signing the legislation at an Oakland restaurant Friday.

Kevin Gardner, the manager at Baja Betty's, is used to juggling customers at the popular restaurant in Hillcrest.

"We live in San Diego, and the weather is beautiful so these patios have been great additions to every restaurant you see around here."

RELATED: California extends cocktails-to-go through 2026

More than 400 businesses hold city-issued temporary outdoor permits to be able to build these parklets.

While they were supposed to be temporary many like Gardner see a long-term benefit of them.

"I mean, people want to be outside. People want to be where people are. When they walk by and see a packed patio it's great for business," Gardner said.

The legislation is now making permanent possible.

Assembly Bill 61 and Senate Bill 314 give businesses that temporarily expanded a one-year grace period to apply for permanent expansion, as well as continue to provide outdoor dining with alcohol, respectively.

"I think most businesses... it has really helped during this time," Cesar Vallin, Managing Partner at Cloak and Petal, said. "We really hope that we can keep ours."

The city of San Diego is also inching towards the approval of permanent outdoor dining and retail spaces.

The San Diego City Council's Land Use & Housing Committee approved Mayor Todd Gloria's "Spaces as Places" in September.

The measure will head to the full City Council this month.

Restaurants hope the new legislation helps seal the deal as businesses continue to recover from the pandemic.

"It's something we're going to have to live with for a really long time, if not forever and having outdoor seating is really going to help make certain guests feel comfortable," Vallin said.