Manhattan Beach closes downtown street to help restaurants with outdoor dining

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Two weeks after Los Angeles County lifted outdoor dining restrictions, Manhattan Beach is helping restaurants expand their outdoor seating.

This weekend, the city closed a block of its popular downtown district to vehicle traffic to allow outdoor dining on the street.

It was a trial run for the holiday weekend to help boost business for restaurants along the block. Traffic was replaced by tables and chairs along a stretch of Manhattan Avenue.

At Tacolicious, for example, that meant an additional nine tables.

"With the new expansion it's a huge plus for us," said the restaurant's assistant general manager Anival Maldonado. "Not only because we can provide extra seating for guests but we can also bring more staff. Staff members have been laid off during this lockdown."

Los Angeles County still does not allow indoor dining at restaurants in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Under both state and local regulations, outdoor dining had also been prohibited during January's post-holiday surge in cases, until officials determined that county hospitals were projected to have more capacity available at hospital intensive-care units.

Even with the impact on traffic, some diners and restaurants in Manhattan Beach hope the help for outdoor dining can continue through the duration of the pandemic.

"I think it's good for local businesses," said El Segundo resident A.J. Shoemaker. "Get them back on their feet. Everyone's distanced. It seems safe. I think it'll be good for the community."
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