Outdoor dining may become permanent option in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Al fresco dining may soon become a permanent option in Los Angeles.

The City Council's Transportation Committee voted in favor of a report on the outdoor dining program, sending it to the full council for consideration.

The L.A. Al Fresco program was launched in late May as a way of allowing restaurants to operate outdoors on sidewalks and in parking lots during the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials say about 2,000 restaurants are participating.

City Councilman David Ryu introduced the motion to make the program permanent

"With around two thousand restaurants currently participating in Al Fresco, its popularity is undeniable," Ryu said. "Los Angeles has an opportunity to reimagine the ways that we use our city streets and support our local businesses. Now is the time to think about how we want our city to emerge from this pandemic, and this is one way we can emerge better than before."

So far officials say the Al Fresco program has received positive feedback from restaurants, diners, and neighborhoods.

Making it permanent would involve a streamlined permitting process and ensuring that outdoor seating doesn't obstruct public sidewalks and access for the disabled.

Other Southern California cities have also turned to outdoor dining to help restaurants stay open during the pandemic, in some cases even shutting down public streets to accommodate seating.

RELATED: SoCal cities shut down streets for outdoor dining
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Several cities across Southern California are shutting down otherwise heavily-trafficked streets in order to accommodate al fresco dining amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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