Outdoor Seating Is Doing Restaurants Good in San Leandro
Trying to keep up with all of the recent changes to the roll-out of businesses re-opening has been a dizzying ordeal for most people, not least the businesses themselves.
Many business owners are unclear on what uses are currently permitted. In addition to essential businesses, retail can operate indoors and out, and various businesses can operate outdoors, including restaurants, bars (with food), fitness, museums, and religious services. We recommend the Alameda County Department of Public Health’s Reopening Plan as a good overview. City staff has been working to keep up with the regulations and share the latest on social media and the City’s COVID-19 Business Resource Page. A more detailed summary is also included below.
So how do businesses arrange to operate outdoors? City staff has set up an easy registration form and will walk businesses through the process. There is no need to buy new furniture or equipment, hire a designer, or pay a fee.
Through the COVID-19 Relief Temporary Outdoor Facilities Registration Program, restaurants, bars, retail businesses, and fitness classes can set up activities outdoors. Through this process, businesses can complete the free registration form, ensuring that they meet health and safety guidelines, and then begin operations. No plan review or permits are required, and insurance is only required if they are on public property. Activities can be on walkways, sidewalks, and in parking lots. Businesses can add umbrellas, planters, and other items to the area, but they are not required.
In San Leandro, restaurants have been slowly but steadily taking advantage of the program and expanding outdoors to offer seating to sit-down diners.
Restaurants who have implemented outdoor seating have seen an increase in business, and have been able to rehire staff who were furloughed when the shut-down happened months ago. After Alameda County received the required variance, bars can now also serve alcohol outdoors, as long as alcoholic beverages are accompanied by a meal.
Restaurants like El Torito and Elio’s Family Restaurants have been very successful in taking advantage of this program. Bars have started to participate too, with Ryan’s Pub and others tabling customers outside. “Being able to set up for outoor dining has been a blessing,” says Michael Ryan of Ryan’s Pub of the Washington Manor. “Of course it is not the same, and takes getting used to, but overall it has been a positive experience. The City of San Leandro has definitely shown they want to help and made the application process as friendly as possible.”
Fitness is also a permitted use, and Pallen’s Martial Arts and Bay-O-Vista Family Fitness have both registered with this program. For a complete list of businesses who have registered for outdoor activity, scroll to the bottom of this post.
“My advice for other restaurant owners would be to do their due diligence and have a positive attitude,” says Ryan. “It’s true it will be different, but something is better than nothing, and waiting for things to get back to ‘normal’ may be a very long time.”
Registered Businesses – Check them out!
Angry Ramen (Bayfair Mall)
Bay-O-Vista Family Fitness (1881 Astor Drive)
Cunha’s Cocktails (155 Pelton Center Way)
Denny’s Diner (1803 Marina Boulevard)
Drake’s Brewing Company (1933 Davis Street)
El Torito (Shoreline – 5 Monarch Bay Drive)
Elio’s Family Restaurant (260 Floresta Boulevard)
Emil Villa’s Hickory Pit (1800 E. 14th Street)
Frank’s Sports Bar & Grill (2014 Marina Boulevard)
Horatio’s (60 San Leandro Marina)
La Casa de Maria (458 E. 14th Street)
Los Pericos #5 (1389 E. 14th Street)
Moussaka Mediterranean Kitchen (599 Dutton Avenue)
Original Mel’s Diner (15011 Hesperian Boulevard)
Pallen’s Martial Arts (1660 Washington Avenue)
Ryan’s Pub (15009 Farnsworth Street)
Tequila Grill (1350 E. 14th Street)
Tipsy Lounge (1680 Washington Avenue)
Zocalo Cafe (645 Bancroft Avenue)
Latest Alameda County Shelter-in-Place Regulations:
On June 19, the Alameda County Public Health Officer further relaxed shelter-in-place restrictions by permitting the reopening of outdoor restaurant dining, indoor/outdoor retail, outdoor fitness classes, outdoor museums, and religious services, subject to health and safety requirements. More recently, the County applied and was approved for a variance, allowing the outdoor service of alcoholic beverage, provided they are accompanied by a meal. Recent statements by Governor Newsom announced that barbershops and hair salons are permitted to perform business on the sidewalks. However, with Alameda County still on the state’s monitoring list, the County is not yet allowing this use at this time. You can find the latest Shelter-in-Place regulations here.