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Manhattan Beach City Council Approves Temporary Outdoor Dining Plan

Jun 09, 2020 10:42PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Indoor dining and takeout will be the only options for most of the month of July in Manhattan Beach and Los Angeles County.

The Manhattan Beach City Council on Tuesday night approved a plan to allow outdoor dining and retail operations in public right-of-way and parking spaces through the end of September.

The action came about as restaurants and retail shops begin to re-open following COVID-19 related closures. To adapt businesses to current social distancing requirements, many local businesses had sought the opportunity to provide outside seating and shopping opportunities over the summer. 

There will be a number of requirements for the use of parking spaces by businesses and restaurants. Businesses will need to 1) compensate the city for the value of the parking meter revenue; 2) provide safety measures on dining decks such as protective barriers, access for the disabled, and daily cleaning and sanitation; 3) cease outdoor operations no later than 10:00 p.m.

Businesses would need to submit applications by June 22, and the temporary outdoor use would last through September 28. 

Residents Show Overwhelming Support

The city had posted a survey between June 5 and June 8 asking for public feedback on the proposal. 

When asked if they were in support of such a proposal, more than 93 percent of respondents said they were "very supportive" or "supportive."

Manhattan Beach restaurateurs Michael Zislis and Mike Simms both appeared at the council meeting to express support and thanks for the opportunity. 

"It’s a imperfect system, but I think the city has done a great job," said Zislis. "We’ve had a lot of Zoom meetings to figure it out...We’re all combining our efforts to get this done."

Simms added that his group was working to beautify the large white "water barriers" that are needed for protecting the safety of diners on the street. He said that they would be wrapped in burlap and decorated with flowers from Rolling Hills Flower Mart; and that he had ordered a shipment of trees to give the dining experience a park-like feel.

On the survey, where respondents were asked for additional comments or concerns, approximately 20 percent said they had concerns about social distancing or other operational issues. Another 10 percent said they had concerns about reduced parking availability.

Council members also dove into details about 24-minute parking spots versus 2-hour parking spots, and the need to have enough short-term spaces available for people who just wanted to drop into a shop or pick up a takeout order. 

"This is all fluid, folks; we're doing the best we can," Montgomery reminded listeners during the meeting. "If something happens, we’ll address it."

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