Long Beach expected to vote on plan to open streets for outdoor dining

Some restaurant owners in Long Beach want access to roads, sidewalks and parking lots to create safe outdoor spaces, according to the city's mayor.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Long Beach is expected to vote Tuesday on an open streets initiative intended to give people more room in public spaces and expand outdoor dining to help restaurants struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the legislation proposed by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, a plan would be put in place to look at ways to "open more public space throughout Long Beach to allow for increased outdoor activities, safer access to public transit, and stronger economic recovery" while maintaining physical distancing.

"We need to reimagine our public streets and spaces for active and pedestrian use and to allow restaurants to create safe outdoor dining experiences," Garcia tweeted last Friday.

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Long Beach is easing more of its coronavirus restrictions with the reopening of some recreation areas, but beaches remain closed.

Garcia said restaurant owners in the city he spoke to want access to roads, sidewalks and parking lots to create safe outdoor spaces. Garcia also said the initiative has support from city council members with economic recovery being a driving force.

The proposed legislation says the plan should include options that "enable additional and creative opportunities" for outdoor dining for restaurants and bars as allowed by local health orders.

It is unclear if the initiative would have a financial impact on the city.

The open streets initiative comes a week after Long Beach reopened pedestrian and beach bike paths, tennis centers and courts, with certain restrictions in place.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday said the state could allow more businesses to reopen in the coming weeks.

The criteria announced by Newsom applies to counties that want to reopen faster than the state. Newsom estimated 53 of 58 counties could meet the new criteria.

Los Angeles County health officials say they're reviewing the governor's guidance to see how they can apply it locally.
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