Encinitas Businesses Adapt To Changing Public Health Order

It's been about 10 days since California shut down indoor dining at restaurants and bars across the state. Since then, local leaders have tried to make things a little bit easier for businesses who are struggling to stay afloat while abiding by the public health order

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San Diego County actually banned indoor dining and bars about a week before Governor Newsom made it mandatory statewide, but after that several local leaders passed orders to make things easier for restaurants to expand their dining service onto streets and parking lots.

In Encinitas, dining outside includes not just sidewalks and outdoor patios, it has also moved into barricaded parking spaces on the 101. The city has been shifting their approach to accommodate traffic, parking and businesses. At first, the city closed down one of the four lanes of two way traffic on the 101 to expand outdoor dining.

"This was a work in progress and at times I felt like it hurt our business a little bit, it might have congested up traffic or made things confusing to come down here," said Eric Soto, manager at the Encinitas Cafe.

After receiving lots of public complaints from people about bottleneck traffic congestion, the city changed course and pushed dining back onto the sidewalks and some parking spots downtown.

"We did receive a lot of complaints about that narrowing it down to one lane in a short amount of space so it wasn’t as if there was a long transition where that was happening," said Mayor Catherine Blakespear.

The city also waived fees and made the permit process shorter to help streamline the process for restaurants to serve outdoors.

"I love what I see especially on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. All these vacation people coming out, they sit outside on the street, the environment is very nice, it seems like you’re in Europe you know," said Maurizio Carbone, owner of Maurizio Trattoria Italiana.

Carbone and Soto say their restaurants have been down 25 to 50% of their normal July business. Some of the retail neighbors of the restaurants say having limited parking is hurting their businesses too.

"Now we’re down to about five parking spaces on this block which makes it tough for retail because we have a lot of customers who run in and out and they don’t realize there's parking in back," said Malia Bolen, owner of Bliss 101.

It is unclear how long the ban on indoor dining will last.

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