By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com Manhattan Beach Blogger
Those outdoor dining areas are not going away just yet in Manhattan Beach, CA.
Originally scheduled to end in January, the City Council unanimously voted to extend them through the end of March in its final December meeting.
The reason was not please from several – but certainly not all – restaurants and restaurant/bars, but the persistent coronavirus. The latest Omicron strain is putting a strain on cities and towns all over the world and Manhattan Beach feels it is unwise to right now to go back to indoor-only dining and drinking.
“The uptick is real,” said Mayor Hildey Stern. “Transmission spiked this time last year and people were uncomfortable indoors. It doesn’t feel appropriate at this time (to end outdoor dining) given the crystal ball that we have” now.
Of course, it’s the choice of the restaurants whether or not to have outdoor spaces which are placed in the streets which used to have parking meters. This has caused some business owners, most notably Shellback’s Bob Beverly, to want the structures removed. Shellback’s outdoor dining tables are in the alley between the bar and a small parking lot by the pier and where there are no parking meters.
Other bar/restaurant owners have started a petition, so far signed by more than 3,000 people, to make the outdoor areas permanent. Without them, there are small patios at some places as part of their establishments – most have less than a half-dozen tables – but nothing on the scale of the temporary, in-street structures.
The council raised the fee for outdoor spaces to $3 per square foot, up from $2.