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Downtown SLO creates restaurant take-out parking, virtual farmers' market during coronavirus restrictions

Posted at 9:48 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-22 18:49:59-04

The City of San Luis Obispo took additional action Wednesday, to try and reduce the spread of the coronavirus by placing temporary restrictions on restaurants and bars.

Bars and restaurants are either closed or open for just takeout and delivery, while retail stores have been told to shut down temporarily after San Luis Obispo County issued a shelter at home order. Add that on top off Cal Poly students moving to online classes for the rest of school year, and the future of the downtown is a bit up in the air.

"We're concerned about the absence of Cal Poly students and Cal Poly parents coming to visit their students. We know there's a huge tourism base in our downtown," said Bettina Swigger, Downtown SLOCEO.

The Downtown SLO Association says they're working around the clock, trying to come up with innovative ways to help businesses stay afloat.

One of those ideas is converting 20 parking meters to new curbside delivery spots, where drivers can park their car and have a restaurant employee drop off their food.

Kyle Courtney is an Uber driver but has recently made the switch from dropping off drivers, to food.

More people at home and restaurants left with only takeout and delivery services, hasn't equaled more orders for Kyle.

"It's lowered in business. I'm just assuming that no one wants a middle man delivering their food, especially with everything that's going on," he said.

While some businesses and events are on hold and potentially in jeopardy, "I suspect that not all of the businesses will reopen," said Swigger, she's confident that the atmosphere of downtown San Luis Obispo will return.

"I don't know what it's going to look like, but I know that downtown SLO is a vital part of this community and it will come back. We will have the farmer's market again, we will have concerts in the plaza. Just not quite sure when at this point," said Swigger.

The Downtown SLO Association has also added a virtual farmer's market where people can continue to buy fresh produce directly, and are also trying to connect businesses that are closed with disaster loans and employees to unemployment opportunities.